About Richard Gourlay

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.

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.

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 redefine 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. 

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) had been taken over by new owners who wanted to create a new concept of retail for customers.  

Richard as operations and marketing director helped developed the unique concept of a one-stop-shop under one-roof for the outdoors, called Go Outdoors. The model developed was for a single retail shop concept providing all the world’s leading brands covering all outdoor sports and activities under one roof. 

The Unique Buying Proposition, which Go Outdoors developed, was its unique loyalty card, which 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.   

In 2001 Richard Gourlay went on the work with Equip a technical label, which designed technical outdoor equipment and accessories. 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. 

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, form business owners and directors with the skills, time and resources to develop winning strategies for their business. 

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 ad 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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