About Richard Gourlay

Richard Gourlay

Richard Gourlay, Leadership development expert, works with leaders to create vision, direction and focus for leaders to succeed.
Richard Gourlay was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Solway Firth in Galloway, Scotland on a dairy farm. He was educated at Stonyhurst, Lancashire and Wye College London University, where he achieved Honours Degree in Rural Environmental Studies.


Berghaus Richard Gourlay leaders within this family owned iconic British Brand

In 1989 Richard moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne where he joined Berghaus the world-class mountaineering and outdoor equipment brand, closely involved in sustaining the brands reputation working in the sales and marketing division. 

Here he worked with leading retailers developing the Berghaus brand's premium position within the UK working with the leading 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 he moved to recreate and launch the once respected Craghoppers brand which had run out of steam. Given a free hand to recreate and re-define the brand. 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 how retailers 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 diploma students. 

Go Outdoors

Go Outdoors Richard Gourlay founding director of the brand

After five years of dynamic growth at Craghoppers, Richard was approached to develop a new business concept within the outdoor retail market. This change of tack within the sector to retail enabled him to develop a Britain’s most prestigious outdoor retailer Go Outdoors. 

The business formerly Sheffield's Camping Caravan Centre (universally called CCC) its owner 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 fo rat outdoors. 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. 

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 tis 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 but also survive the disaster of foot and mouth epizootic which was nearly fatal to the outdoor trade 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

In 2001 Richard Gourlay went on the work with Equip Outdoor Technologies a technical label, which 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 Rab 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 a 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 fro 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 Consulting  

In 2003 Richard Gourlay set up Cowden Consulting 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 iconic brands from Caterpillar, TUI and Honeywell as well as working 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. 

Richard also gained his third degree in Return On Investment (ROI Phillips method) enabling him to evaluate customer's learning and development.  Highly relevant to leadership development, being able to evaluate the impact new skills makes on a business is at the heart of ensuring investment is paying off for a customer. 

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.

Coupled to this Richard Gourlay has also launched his own online learning platform enabling experienced and new business owners to develop their own strategic plan. Called 'How to take the Guesswork out of your Business Success' this online platform is a step-by-step toolkit which successfully guides directors and owners through the minefield on how to develop a successful strategic plan tailored to the precise needs of their business.   

Richard has three higher qualifications, BSc Honours in Rural Environmental Studies, 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, the Association of Strategic Planners 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.

Richard is married to the Alison Gourlay a successful accountant and they have three children. They live in rural Derbyshire in an old Victorian house.

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