Norrøna for youth

The Norwegian sportswear company is bringing its line of quality clothing to those who spend the most time outdoors—kids

Photo courtesy of Norrøna Norrøna’s new children’s line scales down the size without scaling down the quality.

Photo courtesy of Norrøna
Norrøna’s new children’s line scales down the size without scaling down the quality.

Rasmus Falck
Oslo, Norway

Norrøna is now launching its products for young adventurers. The collection is designed to offer juniors the best outdoor experience possible, and that, according to the company, starts with the right gear. They want to offer the same quality of clothing as their adult line to the people who probably spend more time out in the nature than anybody else. The CEO says that “when it comes to children’s clothes there are always compromises made to lower the price. We are taking it in a whole other direction. We promise that a junior product will hold the same quality as the products we offer adults.”

It all started in 1929 when Jørgen Jørgensen, a Norwegian outdoor enthusiast, began his search for durable outdoor equipment to perform in Norway’s harsh and rugged land. It started with simple innovations such as leather straps, canvas backpacks, and cotton clothing. Today, four generations later, the company remains family owned, compelled to stretch the edges of innovation, and based near Oslo. They created the original mountain tunnel tent, devised the standard monitoring system for backpacks, and were the first to use Gore-Tex in Europe. Whether you climb, tour, ski, or snowboard, the company’s wide range of apparel, backpacks, and accessories inspires with innovation and technical function.

In 1939 Norrøna manufactured products for the war in Finland. The company had about 15 employees, and salaries were paid every Friday. Since then, the company’s equipment has been used by explorers at various expeditions. Let me just mention the Norwegian Mount Everest expedition and the McKinley expedition that crossed Greenland on its own (1985). In 1990 the company’s products were used on the Norwegian North Pole expedition.

In 2005, the fourth generation took over management of the company. Norrøna took the first step to becoming a European brand by presenting two brands at ISPO Winter the same year. They won the SOG Design Award for their new backpack. A few years later, in 2012, the owner and CEO Jørgen Jørgensen won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the retail category in Norway. When Jørgen took over, the company was laying down. Today it is a money machine, according to Finansavisen. The Norwegian equity funds have stopped to make inquiries. Some foreign funds still ask if the company is for sale. Last year’s revenue was 360 million NOK and this year’s estimate is close to 500 million. The company is not for sale.

In 1978 five-year-old Jørgen received his own Norrøna jacket and a pair of Norrøna pants, specially made by his father. These products have been passed down and are still used within the family. But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Jørgen decided to pursue the idea of going commercial with outdoor equipment for the younger generation. The collection is available in sizes from 8-12 years!

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 26, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.