Apparel & Footwear

Drayton understood that for Birkenstock the right candidate needed to have European rather than American experience

“Drayton put exactly the right person in front of us. We connected with that individual straight away, you delivered the perfect candidate.” Chief Product Officer

The Challenge

Find Birkenstock an exceptional Head of Design who instantly understands the DNA of the brand to help develop outstanding new product for next-generation consumers.

Individuals who combine creative flair and common-sense business acumen are very difficult to find.

As well as an instinctive grasp of the creative provenance of the Birkenstock brand, this vital role needed someone who also had a very practical skill set – the ability to lead a design team, hit business objectives, and create product that would succeed in the hyper-competitive footwear marketplace.

Search Strategy

Leveraging our deep knowledge networks, we mapped out companies all across Europe. The right candidate needed to have European rather than American experience as the two footwear markets are very different.

Another important variable was Birkenstock’s Germanic culture. We needed to find someone who could easily fit into that kind of detail-led, process-driven organisation.

But the key insight we based the search on was the realisation that we needed to find someone who could instantly grasp the DNA of the Birkenstock brand. Then use that understanding to create new product which would satisfy the demanding next-generation consumers they were now beginning to target.


The successful candidate was working and living in Denmark. They demonstrated a really strong understanding of Birkenstock’s brand values, were very excited about the opportunity, and, most importantly, even at the first interview stage built up an immediate rapport with Birkenstock’s Chief Product Officer.