About Richard Gourlay

Richard Gourlay

Richard Gourlay, Leadership development expert, works with leaders to create vision, direction and focus for business leaders to succeed.

Richard Gourlay was born in the Stewarty of Kirkcudbright, Galloway and brought up on the shores of the Solway Firth, Scotland on a dairy farm. 

He was educated at Stonyhurst in Lancashire and Wye College (now part of Imperial, London University), where he achieved Honours Degree in Rural Environmental Studies. He has a second degree in Marketing (Chartered Institute of Marketing at Moor Hall DipM, Fellow, FCIM) and is qualified to assess Return On Investment ROI (Phillips method).   

Berghaus Ltd

Berghaus Britain's leading outdoor brand where Richard Gourlay worked with the leaders within this family owned iconic British Brand

In 1989 Richard moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne where he joined the then privately owned Berghaus. The world-class mountaineering and outdoor equipment brand. Richard was closely involved in developing the brands growth and development and in sustaining the brands reputation as an iconic outdoor brand. 

As part of the family owned company Richard worked within the unique Berghaus creative culture of this innovative  world-class brand. Richard worked in developing the Berghaus brand's premium position within the mountaineering sector working with the leading market retailers.

His success in growing the brand throughout the UK's leading retailers developed his strategic sales and category management skills with premium retailers and his marketing skills in brand positioning.


Richard Gourlay founder of Craghoppers brand in 1985
In 1995 Richard was headhunted to relaunch the once respected Craghoppers brand. Richard was given a free hand to recreate and re-define the brand in a new direction. Richard researched and defined the optimum opportunity for the brand to achieve success within the market. 

By focusing on where the growth was emerging within the global outdoor market, and developing successful product categories to fit these newly emerging categories coupled with developing internal core competencies, the brand became the fastest growing brand within the outdoor industry. 

In doing so Craghoppers redefined how the industry delivered value to customers and retailers. Richard drove the remodelling of the sector so it could successful operate and compete within the emergence of internet retailing.     

Richard also undertook a second degree this time in marketing at Moor Hall and became a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, to further his knowledge of marketing principles, enabling him to further is ability in engaging and adding value to customers and businesses. Something which he now lectures on to degree students. 

Go Outdoors

Go Outdoors was founded by Richard Gourlay founding director of the brand, Richard Gourlay was strategy, marketing, and operations director for the brand developing the stand alone CCC into Go Outdoors global brand

After five years of dynamic growth at Craghoppers, Richard was approached to develop an idea he had of a new business concept within the outdoor retail market. The first "one-stop-shop" for the outdoors. This step change change within the retail outdoor sector enabled him to develop a Britain’s most prestigious outdoor retailer Go Outdoors. 

The business's owner (formerly Sheffield's Camping Caravan Centre universally called CCC) approached Richard to ask how to exit his business so he could retire.  Richard was instrumental in the transfer of the business to new owners and investors into Go Outdoors. 

Richard as strategy director, operations director and marketing director helped developed the unique concept of a one-stop-shop under one-roof for the outdoors, called Go Outdoors. 

From developing the business model to investor development, brand, re-design of store, loyalty card development  and people development all fell under his remit.  The vision to create a new concept of retail for customers the one-stop-shop for the outdoor sector. This unique concept model providing all the world’s leading brands covering all outdoor sports and activities under one roof became the template which we made it investor ready and enabled venture capital to successfully invest in making this the fastest growing chain of retail stores throughout the UK. With Richard leading the first round of funding for the initial 15 store acquisition.

The Unique Buying Proposition (USP), which Go Outdoors developed was delivered through its unique loyalty card.  This was as the key advantage the brand had in its market providing the business with deep insights into its customers. By linking the brands buying power to a revamped loyalty offering the brand was not only able to rapidly grow, through targeted loyalty marketing, but also survive the disaster of foot and mouth epizootic which was nearly fatal to the outdoor sector (-70% of sales overnight) as customers were unable to visit the countryside. 

The model developed during this challenging time was able to persuade corporate investors to back this venture and enable Go Outdoors, which enabled it to rapidly expand its UK presence, buying up optimum sites Go Outdoors was able to grow and become the largest outdoor brand in the UK with in excess of forty sites across the country.   

Equip Outdoor / Rab

Richard Gourlay took Rab outdoor clothing from a small local brand into a global brand through a change of ownership and a restructure of teh parent company, led by Richard Gourlay
In 2001 Richard Gourlay went on the work with Equip Outdoor Technologies a technical outdoor trade label. Equip Outdoor Technologies (EOT) designed technical outdoor equipment and accessories for major brands and leading retailers in the outdoor market. Richard was brought in with the role of a consultant to develop the brand's capabilities. 

His first step, identifying an opening within the market was to recommend going from being a accessory design label, to a premium clothing brand, through acquisition of the Rab brand whose owners were looking to retire.     

Coupled with this was the need to develop capability.  The company operate from a series of second world-war derelict sheds with all the limitations associated with that. Richard found  the ideal operational based with modern infrastructure, space for a bonded warehouse, manufacturing space and modern logistics and design function. 

This relocation enabled the brand to grow and develop as a premium brand exploiting weaknesses elsewhere and demand for something new from within the industry and by discerning younger active customer segments.  Creating new systems and operations, finding and developing people and processes to ensure operations were effective allowed the company to grow and develop from a micro-business into a brand.


Cowden supports business owners grow and develop their business supporting them succeed led by Richard Gourlay

In 2003 Richard Gourlay set up Cowden to exploit his extensive knowledge and expertise developed from fifteen years within the outdoor industry. 

Providing strategic planning services Richard provides leaders and directors of businesses direction, focus and a plan their success. Richard works with companies from PLC's through to new start-ups, developing their capability to succeed in their chosen markets. Working with both global PLC's including  Caterpillar, TUI, Office Depot and Honeywell. Richard works with many aspiring high growth brands to become established continues to enhance Richard's reputation for delivering outstanding results. 

Richard provides senior people, from business owners and directors with the skills, time and resources to develop winning strategies for their business. Richard works with leaders particularly in high-growth companies and rapidly changing sectors to develop leaders able to drive their organisation forward.  

Alongside this work Richard is also a public speaker providing inspiration and motivation for leaders as well as valuable insights for entrepreneurs in how to lead and drive your business towards success.

Richard Gourlay, career successes and ability to support leaders grow their business

Richard has three higher qualifications, BSc Honours in Rural Environmental Studies, Wye College London University; Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (DipM) and a degree in Return on Investment (ROI).     

Richard Gourlay is a Fellow of the Chartered institute of Marketing (CIM), The Accredited Association of Strategic Planners (AASP) and evaluation Return On Investment (ROI). He is a regular contributor to the world of leadership and strategy online through a series of blogs and articles as well as speeches and talks.

Richard Gourlay Management consultant and NED

Richard is an experienced management consultant providing business's with advice and support enabling them to grow and develop. 

From strategic and business planning, through to market research, mentoring and leadership development programmes, Richard supports business across sectors develop the next stage of their development.

From strategic planning workshops through to Non Executive Director support Richard supports business leaders looking to develop their business. 

Richard can also be contacted through his website Richard Gourlay www.richardgourlay.com where he also writes and posts comments and articles on leadership and strategy in this blog https://cowdenconsulting.blogspot.com.

Richard is married to the Alison Gourlay a successful accountant and they have three children, two dogs and cat. They live in rural Galloway, Scotland in an old farm courtyard.

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