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Fran Marchena, CEO and founder of Spain’s Hoff: ‘Franchises have become a great ally in our expansion’

By Sandra Bódalo Munuera


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Business |Interview

Fall/Winter 2023 campaign image. Credits: Hoff.

Valencia - What started as a fledgling online business in the Spanish province of Alicante - the cradle of the country’s footwear par excellence with the city of Elche as its main representative - has ended up becoming a meteoric company that has closed a turnover of 53 million euros and a 90 million retail price. In less than eight years, Mediterranean sneaker brand Hoff has managed to conquer the national and international map, thanks to strategic partners such as The White Company and artist John Booth in the UK or Printemps and Lafayette in France.

It all started with a difficult product: trainers, an overcrowded sector with big names that are already part of a collective imagination (and fandom). However, Hoff’s best seller, the City silhouette, has managed to break through with its 90s and cosmopolitan inspiration. It is this model that, according to Fran Marchena, CEO and founder of the company, "everyone recognises on the street. Both in terms of colour and shape, it could be our case of 'brand lexicalisation'". He attributes the company's success to a good expansion strategy with retail as the spearhead, a universal offer and a diversification that is gaining more and more prominence. FashionUnited spoke to him to find out more about this celebrated growth.

Interior of Hoff store in Lisbon. Credits: Hoff.

You have said goodbye to 2023 in the best possible way: with a +45 percent increase in turnover. How have you experienced these figures in the brand? What would you say has been the key?

The key is the work we have been doing for several years in diversifying markets, products and channels. We have grown organically in many countries, the new product categories - sandals, bags and clothing - now account for 20 percent of our sales and, from 2023, we have a new and powerful sales channel through franchises, with eight to date: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Santa Fe, Monterrey, Guatemala, Honduras, Bogota and Panama.

All of this we have celebrated with great excitement. The excitement of working on a gradual brand that has more and more challenges, awakening creativity in the public, a new purpose as a label and what makes us globally recognisable.

We continue with the figures... A turnover of 53 million euros and a total of 28 shops open in almost eight years, have you always set such ambitious goals? Did you imagine this seven years ago?

The truth is that I didn't think Hoff would come so far in such a short time. The passing of the years is what has led us to be really ambitious, creating a strategy that has tripled results. I think the most important thing is that we have been able to seize the moment.

“I didn't think Hoff would come so far in such a short time.”

Fran Marchena, CEO and founder of Hoff.

In 2022, you closed the year with 37 million euros, compared to 53 million now. What was the reason behind this growth?

Basically, this was due to the great reception of the brand in European countries such as Germany, the UK and France. Moreover, in the latter two, we have gained brand recognition thanks to partners such as The White Company, Printemps and Lafayette. And, with the opening of the franchises I mentioned earlier, the last few months have brought us to a 2023 of harvesting and consolidation.

You will soon open new points of sale in Cordoba, Murcia, Granada and A Coruña. What can you tell us about your national expansion?

Our aim is to reach the widest possible audience and landing in the main cities of Spain, which help us achieve this. Retail is a very important channel for the brand and in 2024 we want to consolidate it with these cities. While with wholesale we are able to reach smaller cities.

Image from their Winter Gardens campaign. Credits: Hoff

Your roadmap includes new markets such as Dubai, Lebanon, Kuwait and Miami. We know that each market can have its own idiosyncrasies, have you had to make any changes to your strategy or is Hoff universal?

After LATAM, our opening programme continues with the Middle East because the product works. In addition, these franchises come with complete agreements that involve opening not only a physical shop, but also the online channel. With this expansion we reach more people and reinforce our brand message without having to modify our products per market. This is a plus, because they like them as well as our creative content proposal.

Product diversification with bags, clothing and sandals has been one of the keys to its success. Credits: Hoff

“Today's world is saturated with everything, especially sneakers, and Hoff stands out for its authenticity, originality and because we do things differently.”

Fran Marchena, CEO and founder of Hoff.

The sneakers sector is very competitive and your aim is to be ‘an international brand of relevance’. How have you made the difference?

Today's world is saturated with everything, especially sneakers, and Hoff stands out for its authenticity, originality and because we do things differently. In addition to having a universal product with a very broad public, our formula is to work hard on the product and brand communication under the slogan: "for the vast majority".

And finally, what are your wishes for the coming year?

Our real and most ambitious goal is to reach a turnover of 100 million euros by 2025, while always conveying the brand message: empowering the creativity of individuals.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.ES. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.