After nearly three years in the making, the European Glove Association (EGA) is now a reality. The Association received its Certificate of Incorporation in May 2003, which means that for the first time in its history, the European glove industry is now able to speak with a common voice.

The main aim of the EGA, as defined by its Constitution, is to increase the consumption of European-manufactured gloves. In line with this objective, the association has already appointed an international marketing communications agency to handle its external relations, and the first fruits of a new publicity campaign are expected to be seen in the pages of the international fashion press this autumn. A secondary objective is to represent the industry’s interests in the European Parliament.

‘Though it is a large industry, the European glove sector has always been predominantly made up of small companies’, commented EGA president David Pearce. ‘As a result, it has always struggled to make its presence felt on a global scale. The EGA changes all that, affording the industry a powerful representative body that will promote European-made gloves effectively and pro-actively, across all their target markets.’

At the time of the launch, EGA membership comprises 30 commercial and industrial organisations ranging from glove manufacturers to leather and component suppliers. These include major names such as Guantes Torrego of Spain, L’Excelsior Guanti of Italy, the Italian leathermakers’ organisation Unione Nazionale Industria Conciaria (UNIC) and Pittards UK. A further 30, including several retailers, distributors and wholesalers, have registered strong interest and are expected to join in the coming months.

The cornerstone of EGA public relations campaign is the association website which went ‘live’ in early July 2003. As with the wider campaign, this has been designed to have equal appeal to consumers, fashion journalists, designers and retailers. Accordingly, it contains a media centre with image bank, a searchable database of the association’s members, plus a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section. Plans for a seasonal fashion forecast, commencing with the colours and styles of autumn/winter 2003, are also well advanced.

Aside from promoting the aims and objectives of the association to the outside world, the website is seen as affording the EGA membership a valuable commercial tool. Using the database, for instance, enquirers will be able to locate the details of EGA members not just by company name, but also product type, country or key phrase. In addition – and in recognition of the fact that many of its smaller members are unable to afford a web presence – the EGA will allow those members to post their company and product details directly onto the site, while the facility exists for visitors to email members or be routed to members with websites.

The database and wider website are thus expected to play a key role in helping EGA members find new customers while bringing them closer to their existing supply chain partners. Reflecting the international status of the EGA membership, the website pages can be selected in French, German, Italian, Spanish and English.

With the creation of the EGA as a legal entity, the Working Party to create the association, set up in late 2001, has now been dissolved. It is replaced by an Executive Committee consisting of the following highly experienced individuals: president Dave Pearce, ex-managing director, Chester Jeffries, UK; treasurer Arne Vejrum, Randers Handskefabrik, Denmark; acting secretary, Richard Anderson, business development manager, Pittards UK.

Under the EGA Constitution, each country has the right to a representative on the executive committee but it does not have to fulfil it. However, the association is now working towards filling those country posts that are currently vacant. Membership of the European Glove Association is open to any European company working in the glove trade and companies from virtually all European countries have already joined.

Comments David Pearce: ‘Given the long history of European glovemaking, it is perhaps surprising that it has taken this long for the industry to form its own association. But we think our members will find it has been worth the wait. We see the website as being a particular advantage, providing not just an attractive showcase for our members products but also a mechanism by which they can forge stronger links with all their partners in the supply chain. It’s a fantastic opportunity and one which I believe will prove effective in helping the industry to continually expand the market for European gloves, on a worldwide basis.

The European Glove Association, launched to promote European gloves on the world stage, can be found at []