Get to know WoolLand Norway
It all started back in 2010, with three young mothers from Oslo, two dreams and one question. Annette Steen Lien worked as an account manager in an advertising agency. Her childhood friend Hedda Rivelsrud was a product manager within cosmetics. The two of them shared a dream of setting up a business together. At the same time, Siri Josefsen Sørflaten was on maternity leave from her position as Director of distribution at Posten/Bring, the key player within distribution and logistics in Norway. In addition to her youngest child, she also had a child in kindergarten. It was while visiting there one winter day to pick up her toddler, that the said question came to mind: During summer, the children played and had a good time in nice, colourful clothes, but come autumn and winter, they all wore the same uniform: Dark blue wool underwear. It was no doubt comfortably warm, but why on earth did they all have to look so uniform and boring?
Annette met Siri in the same kindergarten, and was excited to learn that Siri had started making sketches of wool underwear with colourful and cute designs. What a cool idea! There had to be a wide-open market segment up for grabs? An equally enthusiastic Hedda joined them, and they all handed in their resignations in their former jobs, and went all in to realize their ambition: They would provide the entire country with nice, functional and durable wool clothes for everyday use – at affordable prices.
2011 – in business
WoolLand AS was established in 2011. Our first challenge was to find a wool quality sufficiently firm to make it possible to add decorative details (which was not the case for the thin and flabby traditional underwear garments). Then followed many and long days and nights of hard work to refine the business idea, develop a detailed business plan, formulate a strategy, land a name for their business and build a product range.
When the first collection arrived from China to our tiny office located in a remote corner of a garden center in Oslo, we were very excited, and, we have to admit, quite proud. So proud and full of confidence that we contacted the press and asked if we could come and show them our products. We dressed up our own children and got up early to participate in the morning TV show «Good morning, Norway». There were some other kids there too, and they started shouting and crying and complaining why they couldn´t have equally nice clothes. That should have prepared us for what was coming, but it didn´t. We were completely taken off-guard by the response. Our web page broke down and enthusiastic people from all over the country called, congratulated us and wanted to order products. It gave us a tremendous boost and confirmed that WoolLand met a demand in the market.
We invited friends and people we knew to an opening sale. They came, and they purchased. Word went around, and a growing stream of customers found its way to our office to buy our products. Our web shop customers reported they were surprised how good our products were after receiving them at home. That made us think that a physical shop might be a valuable supplement to our online business. Because selling quality clothes online has its challenges. People like to touch and feel and try on, to make sure it both looks and feels good. So we packed our Nespresso coffee maker and our pink coffee cups and moved everything to our new headquarters in an old villa at Lilleaker. We put our entire office behind a curtain and set up shop and showroom in the space left over. We had expanded our offering to include collections for children, women and men, which once again made us nervous and fear no-one would come. And once again we had no reason to worry. People showed up in great numbers, despite the fact that it was not the high season for wool - August and still full summer.
From our villa at Lilleaker we looked over to a modernized barn that housed a gift and interiors shop. We started dreaming of moving WoolLand over there. It would be a perfect fit for our concept. There was even a super-nice café just across the road. And one day, out of the blue, the owner of the shop came over and asked us if we would like to move in with them. We were not hard to convince, and we moved in, and after a while took over the entire premises. And although we now have moved our office elsewhere, the barn at Lilleaker is still home to WoolLands first concept store.
We have grown from being just the three of us during the first years, to currently employing over 40 colleagues and wool enthusiasts. We are proud to have created a cool and creative place to work, one we look forward to coming to every day. We feel privileged to be able to design and sell clothes that we, our children and so many others enjoy wearing.
In Desember 2019, WoolLand was acquired by Dale of Norway, where Siri and Annette still work hard to further develop the WoolLand brand to the next level, both in Norway and abroad.