Dakotas: Resuscitated by new owner, and plans for new sourcing and new products
Published: 9th Feb 2022
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA - The Dakotas footwear brand - which was bought from the liquidators of Footwear Direct in July - "is back up and running", and is the subject of a raft of plans, says Clive Pozniak, MD of Supreme Hat & Cap (Pty) Ltd, the new owners of Dakotas
Supreme, a headwear manufacturer, and its sister company, Headmasters, which imports headwear, are long-established, family-owned businesses which have much the same men's outfitting customer base as Dakotas has.
"The brand lined up with our values," said Pozniak. "Because we didn't buy the company, we don’t have its trading history, but we probably already dealt with 90% of Dakotas customers - everyone except purely footwear customers."
Supreme bought the brand and the stock only from the liquidators.
"Between August and December, we worked through the stock, and re-ordered what we needed. It was a long process, and the supply chain was interrupted, but most of the customers were friends, and we were able to keep the business except for those who had ordered elsewhere because they didn't think they would get their stock.
"The most important thing was that because of our infrastructure and finance, we. managed to re-cost the product without changing it at all - for example by bringing distribution in-house and doing away with factoring. It made us a bit more competitive. We can't stint on the quality, but price is a very big factor."
Supreme kept the same suppliers and most of the agents, although a few had "moved on", he said.
Supreme took the decision to "stay focused on the Dakotas' brand, and not do anything Dakotas doesn't stand for". So out went the small women's range, and out went the synthetic upper range (and with it, the DK by Dakotas brand).
The rebuilding includes several possibilities, including leveraging the brand into other products, and local manufacturing.
Headwear is the first obvious line extension for Dakotas, but not the only one.
As far as local manufacturing is concerned, "we're seriously considering manufacturing," he said. "We're not very far down the road, but we're definitely looking at it."
The Supreme and Headmasters website is being redesigned to incorporate Dakotas.
Dakotas is known especially for its high-shine moccasins and its boat shoes.