For the last year we have been working with the Norwegian Start-up company Northern Playground, founded by sportsman Jo Egil Tobiassen, to develop a brand platform and strategy.
On a snowy day in Oslo, we took a quick talk with the entrepreneur himself and asked him to share his view on things. These days you can find Northern Playground at a pop-up shop in Tollbugata 8 here in Oslo. They will keep residence there until New Year.
“It is in our business foundation is to challenge the way the textile business work. To do it our way, the way we believe is real, caring and sustainable.
The company initially started with a product idea, the Zipbody™ and Ziplongs® but has become so much more, he says. On the path of growing the company, researching production and materials, it was clear that doing this sustainable and ethically is at the core of our company.
There is a lot of unwritten truths in the textile business that we think the conventions should be challenged. It is a dirty business, and fast fashion is not sustainable for our planet, factory workers work under unbearable condition around the world. But we believe it does not have to be that way. Most people will say it is an impossible task to have production in Oslo, but we thought we could, so we did.
We now have a small production here in Oslo producing garments like the beanie, necks and headbands from leftover materials and using Norwegian wool. We currently employ 4 people in this little factory and hope to scale this up in the future.
One of our primary goals is to open a Northern Playground Brand store in the near future. To have this pop- up shop is a great way to test our concept, and meet our customers face to face. We also have an in-house sewing room, so we urge our customers to bring in old super underwear that maybe have seen its better days. Bring it in, and we will re-design it to a neck. Giving the garment a prolonged life as a new item. ”
2019 is soon over, and 2020 is just around the corner. So how is the future looking for you?
“It is for sure bright. It has been a challenging journey being an entrepreneur, but also fun. 2019 has been a great year, and our company is rigged for what’s to come. Most important, we have a great team of people, which is key. And good strategic plan for what to do next to reach our goals,” Jo concludes.
So if you are looking for sustainable Christmas gifts or/and re-design some of your older garment, drop by Tollubgate 8 this December!
Read more about our start-up programs here.