Adventure - - URBAN ENTERPRISE -

From Arc­tic Nor­way to the moun­tains of Afghanistan, the two founders of British brand Jöt­tnar have cov­ered some chal­leng­ing ter­rain. Launched in 2013 by two for­mer ma­rine com­man­dos and life­long climbers and skiers, the com­pany set out to de­sign and pro­duce tech­ni­cal moun­tain cloth­ing for some of the world’s most de­mand­ing users.

Jöt­tnar was con­ceived in the Arc­tic Cir­cle dur­ing a bru­tal win­ter train­ing ex­er­cise in Nor­way. Its two founders, Tommy Kelly and Steve Howarth, had first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of the de­mands of op­er­at­ing for ex­tended pe­ri­ods in harsh con­di­tions and be­lieved there would be an ap­petite amongst civil­ian users for gear that would pro­tect in some of the world’s most in­hos­pitable con­di­tions.

“Our love of the high moun­tains, as well as a lot of hard-won prac­ti­cal knowl­edge of cloth­ing per­for­mance felt like a solid foun­da­tion,” says Howarth. “As skiers and climbers, go­ing faster, harder, steeper, higher have al­ways been the things that drove us, and this in­evitably chan­nelled us into seek­ing out the high­est per­for­mance and qual­ity so­lu­tion to each de­sign chal­lenge we faced. Clean lines, dis­ci­pline and close at­ten­tion to de­tail have be­come deeply em­bed­ded de­sign driv­ers within the com­pany.”

Built ini­tially from a kitchen ta­ble, the com­pany formed part­ner­ships and ac­quired li­censes with some of the in­dus­try’s ma­jor fab­ric and tech­nol­ogy sup­pli­ers. “We’d no­ticed a di­lu­tion from other tech­ni­cal out­door cloth­ing com­pa­nies, in­creas­ingly di­ver­si­fy­ing their prod­uct line-up to in­clude lum­ber­jack shirts, travel wear, dog walk­ing jack­ets, shawls and branded lap­top bags – that kind of thing. There was also a pro­lif­er­a­tion of soul­less out­door su­per­mar­kets, all com­pet­ing to out- dis­count one an­other in what seems like a race to the bot­tom for those in­volved. This ob­vi­ously af­fects prod­uct qual­ity and per­for­mance and it was here that we saw our gap,” says Kelly.

Jöt­tnar has quickly carved out a niche in its home UK ter­ri­tory amongst the core climb­ing and ski moun­taineer­ing com­mu­nity, and ac­quired a rep­u­ta­tion for the qual­ity and func­tion­al­ity of its gear. As the vol­ume of pri­vate cus­tomers has grown, so too have its pro­fes­sional and cor­po­rate users. Moun­tain res­cue teams, ski pa­trollers, film crews, spe­cial­ist mil­i­tary units and guid­ing out­fits have all be­came cus­tomers, al­low­ing the com­pany to raise fur­ther fund­ing and to con­tinue in­vest­ing in fab­ric tech­nol­ogy and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“We sell on­line-only, di­rectly from our web­site, so we can pro­vide ex­actly the sort of ex­pe­ri­ence that we'd ex­pect our­selves. Sell­ing via third-party re­tail­ers would have been the tra­di­tional route to growth, but I think the world’s moved on a bit,” says Howarth. “Our in­ter­na­tional, non-UK, sales now ac­count for 40% of to­tal and it’s bril­liant to see the way in which our New Zealand and Aus­tralia sales have be­gun to take off this year. “

The com­pany now ships to over 200 coun­tries, de­liv­er­ing in most cases within 2-3 days. “We be­gan pro­vid­ing free ship­ping to our Aus­tralian and Kiwi cus­tomers ear­lier this year, which seems to have been well re­ceived,” says Kelly. “The moun­tain­ous ter­rain and harsh win­ter con­di­tions in New Zealand, and the ski scene in Aus­tralia are a good fit for Jöt­tnar and we’re re­ally ex­cited by the op­por­tu­ni­ties here.”

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion visit Jöt­tnar’s web­site:­ or con­tact them by email on info@jot­

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