A raft of important shoe brands has entered the portfolio of Euro Brand Management, an agency that has been representing several others for the German-speaking countries and beyond. For this agency, which is based near Munich, the new development is coming as its well-known principal, Luigi Grosso, is joining forces with Marcus Meyer, who left as managing director of Geox' German subsidiary at the end of last year.

Grosso, 59, gained a lot of experience in the footwear sector as managing director of Timberland, as European marketing director of L.A. Gear and as European managing director of Cole Haan, a subsidiary of Nike, in the early 1990s. He also ran for a while the European operations of Thorlo's. After a few other projects, Grosso set up Euro Brand Management in 2004 to represent foreign shoe brands. At the same time, he has been acting as an advisor in supply chain management for various companies, including Geox and Lotto.

Meyer, an energetic 45-year-old manager, built up Geox from a very small position to a major factor in the German-speaking countries over the past eight years, after working on several projects for Benetton Group and Dainese in the same markets. He has now taken a minority stake in Euro Brand Management, with an option to switch to a controlling stake in five years' time, when Grosso will reach the age of 65. Until then, both managers will work closely together to build up the presence of the brands they represent.

Following Meyer's investment in Grosso's company, several other brands have joined Euro Brand Management's roster. One of them is Stonefly, for which they have the master agency for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The same goes for Trezeta, an Italian brand of rugged outdoor shoes, and the footwear lines Miss Sixty, Energie, Killah and Murphy and Nye, four brands that belong to Italy's Sixty Group (see next article). On top of this, Euro Brand Management will be the distributor in the German-speaking countries for Footzyrolls, an American brand of foldable ballerinas launched two years ago.

Before Grosso's tie-up with Meyer, Euro Brand Management made a big splash in the German-speaking countries as an agent of Holster, a new brand of stone-studded sandals from Australia. Sales to key accounts and independent stores were so high, that Holster decided to turn the contract into a distribution agreement and to extend it to the Italian market last year.

Euro Brand Management took on last year a new Swiss brand of comfort shoes, Swiss Line, as a master agency for the same markets. Very recently, it agreed to distribute two other new shoe brands in the German-speaking countries and Italy - Cycleur de Luxe and Khombu.

Cycleur de Luxe is a brand of high-end cycling-inspired sneakers developed by a well-known Belgian shoe distributor, Patrick Vanneste. Khombu is a brand of medium-priced waterproof fashion footwear launched in 1968 and owned by Atsco Footwear of the U.S. Friedrich Luening, a well-known footwear expert, is managing the product design and development of the Khombu collection, which will be launched in Europe at the Expo Riva Schuh show next January.