Kathmandu has unveiled a new brand direction, targeted at its next generation of customers. 

The retailer's new purpose is: "to improve the wellbeing of the world through the outdoors" and to achieve this it will embark on a whole host of new programs and initiatives. 

Customer-facing programs will include meteor shower camp outs, urban ziplines and new charity partnerships which will drive the brand relaunch campaign.

The wheels of the relaunch have been in motion since before COVID and included the appointment of Kathmandu's first chief customer officer Eva Barrett and new GM of product Robert Fry. 

CEO Reuben Casey said the relaunch of the brand will both embrace its 30-year heritage and transform it for the future. 

"At Kathmandu, we’ve always believed outside is where we live our best lives. 

"From the first EcoFleece we designed 30 years ago, we’ve always been an ethical, sustainable brand that cares about getting people out there in nature.

"For our customers today, it’s less about climbing a mountain and more about getting out there to de-stress, reenergise, to feel more alive and connected to nature.

"There are so many ways to experience the outdoors, and we’re just scratching the surface of what Kathmandu will be doing to get more people out there," he said. 

Customers will notice changes in the Kathmandu product, with the retailer set to offer brighter, more vibrant pieces, Fry added. 

"Our product range is evolving to be more colourful and vibrant, to suit our customers who are experiencing a renewed sense of freedom and joy post lockdown. 

"Just like how being in nature positively affects our brain chemistry and sense of well-being, so does being exposed to colour.

"Colour has the ability to lift our spirits, alter our mood, and energise us in ways that nothing else can.

"One of the reasons nature can so profoundly affect us is because there is such an abundant variety of colour ‘out there’ - it stimulates our brains and delights our senses.

"Expanding our colour offering in our best loved, iconic styles, will have similar effects," he said. 

Meanwhile, the business will also undergo changes internally, to ensure that it is truly living its new purpose. 

Initiatives like flexi-hours and 'Fri-Yays' will be introduced, so support office staff have the flexibility to start work later when the surf is pumping or knock-off early on a Friday to get a head start on a weekend road trip.

"My team and I even set our alarm for 4am this morning to get away from the Christchurch lights to take in the spectacular Eta Aquariids meteor shower, sharing the experience with hundreds of customers and employees across Australasia," Casey added. 


Kathmandu's new direction comes backed by science too. 

A study of 20,000 people published in the scientific journal Nature, showed that those who spent two hours a week in green spaces were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological wellbeing. 

"It’s not about what you do in the outdoors but how the outdoors makes you feel," Barrett added. 

"Kathmandu has always known that being outdoors is transformative.

"Science has shown that it changes our brains for the better.

"When we spend time out there our stress goes down, our empathy goes up and we become more creative and happier.

"That means we act differently. Nature makes us more happy and open and free and fun.

"It’s a beautiful truth that Kathmandu wants to celebrate," she said. 

The first taste of Kathmandu's new direction comes in the retailer's new TVC, which you can watch below. 

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