Didriksons book english

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Didriksons 1913 ”A Century of water protection” Join us on a journey, as we discover the brand that was first created on the west coast of Sweden in the Bohuslän Archipelago, borne out of the needs of the local fishermen, and developed further by strong leaders. Most of all, it’s about a brand that survived two World Wars, the industrial boom, the Swedish textile industry crisis of the 1970s, and developed into one of the leading technical functional brands, with exports to all of Northern Europe.

One hundred years of history doesn’t only provide perspective on all the challenges of the day, it also shows how similar they are to today’s. For instance, how product development has continuously improved, based on the user’s requirements. Back then, a professional fisherman could return to port, and show where water was getting into his jacket. Today a hiker can return from the mountains with ideas on how to improve his rainwear. It’s vital to stay close to your customer! When there wasn’t enough labour in Grundsund, they did contract sewing in Rävlanda and Uddevalla. Today we’re doing the same thing in Asia.

Julius and Hanna Didrikson were creative spirits from day one. And their creativity has permeated the company’s history, through the generations, to today. Over the years, Didriksons has remained a market leader, both in tests and other awards.

For the next 100 years we’ll continue to develop technical clothing the same way as we learnt in Grundsund at the beginning of the last century. More waterproof than the oilskin coat, a bit lighter and more comfortable than a rubber coat, more worker-friendly production, but as always, top of the line.

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1892 The year is 1892. It’s October, and Carl Didrik Larsson, a fisherman from Grundsund, is out fishing with his brother August and his 17-year-old son Arvid. They’re hit by a storm. Although young Arvid has lots of experience at sea, he falls overboard. After a huge effort, his father and uncle manage to fish him out of the water. However the trip home takes several hours. Arvid is soaking wet and catches pneumonia, which almost finishes him off. Arvid’s little brother, 11-year-old Julius, decides not to become a fisherman like his father and brothers. That’s how it all started.

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1913 – 2013

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G R UN DSUND 1913

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G R U ND S U ND 2 0 1 3

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LOST & FOUND LOST 1923 AND FORGOTTEN. FOUND IN GRUNDSUND 2011.

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Julius The history of the Didriksons company actually started a long time before 1913. Maybe it was 1881 – the year Julius was born, or 1898, when he moved to Gothenburg to be a servant with the von Wendels family. It should at least be 1911, the year he brought home his new bride, Johanna Malvina from Grötö, an island in the Gothenburg Archipelago. Julius Laurentius Didrikson is number five in a brood of eight children. A fishing family, they were a poor but there was always food in mother Amalia’s kitchen. This large family lives in a small house above the harbour, a house with the rather unusual designation Bovik 5 1/2. It was completely normal that sons of fishermen became fishermen themselves. But Julius is having none of this. His strength is between his ears, not in his muscles. His primary school teacher, the bell-ringer Halldin, maintains that Julius has talent and should continue to secondary school. However the expense is too great. His classmates, Gerhard and Lennart Hagberg, sons of Axel Hagberg from the big house up in the park, are sent to Gothenburg where they can board with relatives and attend secondary school. Julius, on the other hand, has to start work at 14 years of age, as an errand boy in a village shop. In 1898 – at 17 – Julius travels to Gothenburg. The Hagberg brothers help him get work as a servant with the family of Baron Max de Wendel. The baron’s relatives run Mölnlycke Wäfverier, a textile company, and young Julius comes in contact with cotton – an important material in his future.

Through his contact with the baron he learns much about the finer things – how gentlemen behave and dress – a vastly different world than the fishing village of Grundsund. He remains with the baron for three years, before military service in the Navy in 1902. From 1903 to 1908 Julius works as a shop assistant in the west coast town of Ellös. In 1909 he opens his own general store in Grundsund. Here he meets all the Grundsund locals. Most are fishermen, farmers, or workers from the local canneries. He sells everything from kerosene and flour sacks to needles and thread. He’s his own man now, and he calls himself managing director. He’s no longer a shop assistant. However he still lives at home with his parents and sisters at Bovik. Julius does a lot of reading and writing. He writes in verse, both poetry and opinion pieces in the local press, often using the pen-name Dixzon. He also designs devices for harnessing wave and wind power, as well as the premises for a bakery. On New Years Eve 1910, shortly after the death of his father, his mother Amalia puts her foot down: it’s time he got a wife and had a family – like all normal people! He is simply thrown out of his childhood home at Bovik. In early January he travels to Gothenburg. Enjoying a few – actually quite a few – glasses of good cognac, they convince him to advertise for a life partner in the local newspaper. Before any of them had sobered up, the advertisement is penned and posted.

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Hanna Out on Grötö, an islet in the Gothenburg Archipelago, Nelly Andreasson lives with her fisherman “Alfred on the Mountain” and three children: Hulda, who works as a maid and is engaged; August, who has joined his father’s fishing crew and 18-year-old Hanna, who helps her mother with household duties. One cold January morning, Alfred’s brother John comes running past the house, down to the fishing shed where Alfred is mending nets. John is holding a newspaper. He opens it in front of his brother. Not the first page with the important news, not the opinion section with its conservative angle. No, he shows Alfred the classified ads. One is circled with thick pencil lines. “Isn’t it time for Hanna to leave the nest? Wouldn’t this suit her? She does have some education, your Hanna.” Alfred agrees, Nelly has her doubts, but together they have a talk to their youngest daughter. And the decision is that Hanna is to reply to the ad.

They are married in October, and three days later they travel north. Their baggage includes her father’s generous dowry, the foundation of their future. It also includes their daughter-to-be, Sonja, who is born the following May. Julius has his childhood memory of his brother’s near death, caused by wet clothes. He has his knowledge of – and contact with – the cotton industry from his time with Baron de Wendel. He has seen how his customers sew and oil their workwear at home in their cottages. He has seen how the fishermen returning from England have purchased sturdy oilskin clothing. And he has a sizeable dowry from his wife. Also, he can buy Hagberg’s old cannery at the harbour in Grundsund. Once the idea of starting a factory to manufacture workwear takes hold, he can’t get it out of his head. He contacts his good friend Carl Grundén, who is very keen on the idea. At New Year 1913 they form Didrikson, Grundén & Company, Oljeklädesfabrik AB

When the stately but rather thin 30-year-old Julius and 18-year-old Hanna first meet, there is actually an immediate attraction. Hanna is impressed by his sophisticated ways, and Julius sees a talented and hard-working woman behind the girlish facade.

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AL FRE D ANDRE AS S ON

NE L LY ANDRE AS S ON

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SON J A , J UL I US & HANNA

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J ULIUS & HANNA

J U L I U S , H A NNA & A G NE TA

H A NNA , E L I S A B E T H , S O NJ A , J U L I U S , A G NE TA

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The first years During the first cold spring of 1913, Julius and Hanna work hard to get the message out, that oiled protective clothing for fishermen is now being made in Grundsund on the island of Skaftö. Julius has leased – with an option to purchase – Axel Hagberg’s cannery in the harbour. Because Julius has been successful with his ad for a wife in the Gothenburg newspaper, he realizes that word of mouth is not sufficient. He makes use of newspaper advertisement at an early stage. The first expense for advertising is already in January 1913. The accounts show that advertising is used extensively during that first year. For 1913, turnover totals 5,987.45 crowns. Julius Didrikson draws an annual salary of 1,200 crowns. In 1916 turnover exceeds the 10,000 crown mark, and in 1917 it reaches 16,012 crowns, and Julius doubles his salary, to 2,400 crowns. In 1920 they turn over 21,042 crowns, and Julius can draw a salary of 5,000 crowns. Initially, Carl Grundén is also on the payroll. One record says he worked as a cutter, another says as an accountant. In the late 1920s the two men go their separate ways, and Carl Grundén starts his own business on the other side of Grundsund harbour. Although Julius Didrikson is the owner, calling himself “Factory Owner”, in reality it’s Hanna, the fisherman’s daughter from Grötö, who manages everything. In the mid 1920s, when their daughter Sonja has started school, it’s Hanna who’s in charge of the sewing department.

In 1920s Sweden, having a job – even if it was at her husband’s factory – was very unusual for married women. But for Hanna it was completely natural. “I think that every home benefits from the mother having an interest outside the home. Also, children appreciate a mother who has other interests”, she explains in a 1942 interview in a homemakers’ magazine. Hanna has her own method for recruiting female factory workers. Firstly, she wants to give jobs to the women in the community who really need the income, and secondly she tests them as maids at home in her own kitchen. She believes that factory work is more demanding than household work, and occasionally her well-trained eye can see that a seamstress is better suited to household work. Before they start the sales of their oilskin products, Julius and Hanna experiment at home in their kitchen, to find the best oil for the first-class cotton they’ve purchased from Mölnlyckes Wäfverier, the textile company where Julius could get a good price thanks to his previous employment with the Wendel family. Initially they employ seamstresses who work from their homes, but already in May of the first year they set up a sewing room with modern sewing machines and the girls sit in rows by the window, working the pedals. The sewing machines are purchased for about 100 crowns each.

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C OTTON GARME N TS BE FORE TRE ATE D WITH L IN S E E D OIL

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An innovator to the end Julius Didrikson is probably the first in Grundsund to get a radio. When a football match is being broadcast, he places the radio by the open window, so whoever wants to can stand outside and listen. It’s said that some time in the mid 1920s the radio broke, and Hanna wondered if they could afford a new one. “I think we can”, Julius replied, “but maybe we should wait until radios have pictures too.” Julius also buys a film projector which he donates to the local community centre, so the townspeople can enjoy the movies. Didriksons has always been at the forefront in terms of new materials. Prior to World War II, around 1933, vulcanized rubber is launched. It makes the clothing much more flexible than the oiled cotton items. Also, it is waterproof in a completely new way. The business continues without interruption through the two world wars, although production drops somewhat. The rationing of clothes during WW2 is a problem, as a single oilcloth outfit is 20 points, of the annual clothing ration of 100 points. A fisherman needs several sets of rain gear per year. In 1938 Didriksons publishes a brochure that clearly shows how rainwear has become a fashion item. Women’s coats with belts, trench coat-style models for men and special clothing for children.

In 1939 their daughter Sonja and her family – two daughters – move to Grundsund. Their son-in-law Bernt Löfström becomes part owner in the company, and takes part in R&D. One exciting project brings Didriksons national renown. At the Grundsund factory, Hanna and her son-in-law Bernt develop a life-saving outfit that is approved by the Royal Board of Trade. Kommerskollegium. The “Star Suit” is all rubber, with a life jacket stuffed with kapok fibre on the inside. It allows the shipwrecked person to swim and float, and can serve as a float for others. The suit is launched in 1940. Ships that use it get reduced insurance premiums. In August 1944, tragedy hits the family. Hanna’s brother August dies in an accident, where his fishing boat “Västkusten” and another boat from Öckerö are attacked by a German warship. Both boats come under fire and sink. The same winter, Julius falls ill, with jaundice. He stays in the hospital, first at Uddevalla and then in Gothenburg. He gets to experience the end of the war, but both he and his family realize he won’t be coming back to work. In October 1945, Julius Laurentius Didrikson passes away.

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C ATA LO G UE 1939

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ARTICLE IN “HUSMODE RN” 1942

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LARS BÄCKER 52


New people – new times Julius’ majority share in the company Didriksons Regnklädersfabrik is inherited by Hanna Didrikson, while son-in-law Bernt Löfström retains his portion. Bernt Löfström is an engineer specializing in chemistry, and was not really qualified or capable of managing the company. Instead he proposed that a business man should be brought in to become part owner, Lars Bäcker. Lars was married to his little sister, Kerstin, and employed as sales manager at Max Sievert in Gothenburg. Although Hanna has managed the company for most of the time and has good knowledge of the company finances and production, she doesn’t want to run it herself. For her relatives and most of the Grundsund population, this is a big surprise. So in the New Year of 1945-46 Hannah sold her shares to her son-in-law, Lars Bäcker. Bernt Löfström remains as part owner (50%), but it’s Lars Bäcker, 36 years of age, who leads Didriksons into the strong expansion of the post-war period. But things don’t start out well. Lars Bäcker gets a tip about a shipment of surplus rainwear in Scotland, which he buys and stores on a barge in Lysekil. There’s not a single drop of rain between March and October 1947, and the clothes melt, stick together and are unusable. This is probably the only year in the company’s history that it makes a loss.

The same year, the inventor Jon And develops his textile welding machine. Through Flodins in Lysekil, Didrikson gets hold of one of the first machines. It revolutionizes production, as they can now weld completely tight seams on the PVC clothing. With Lars at the helm, they transform the clothing from protection against the wet, to clothes for wearing even when it’s not raining. If Julius introduced the term “clothes for rain protection”, Lars turns it into “fashion”. Lars is a keen sailor. His dilemma is that he wants good summer weather for the holidaymakers. At the same time, he’s happy to see lots of rain – for the company’s bottom line. One solution to this is that he starts production of sailing wear. The “Slaghöken” sailing wear is a huge success, and Slaghöken is also the name of Swedish Olympic Folke Bohlin’s Dragon class boat, when he grabs silver at the 1948 London Olympics. Eight years later he wins gold with the successor, “Slaghöken II” – an especially good launch for Didriksons’ bestselling sailing wear. At the 1952 Games in Helsinki, Pelle Gedda takes silver in Didriksons sailing wear.

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SHETLAND 1956

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From Bohuslän to Dalsland By 1952 Didriksons has outgrown the factory building at Grundsund. Also, it’s difficult to recruit staff in such a small town. The sister facilities in Uddevalla and Rävlanda are a temporary solution. Five years later, the entire company moves to Åmål in Dalsland. Here Didriksons is offered good premises, sufficient labour as well as regional business developments grants. With about 50 employees, the company enters the 1960s, launching op and pop fashion in the rainwear sector. With PVC on tricot instead of cotton, it’s now much easier to work and shape the garments. A particular success is the women’s jacket “Flip” in bright red and navy blue, with white trim. It’s lined with striped terry fabric and with a wide zip at the front.

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Anders Bäcker takes over Didriksons goes global At the age of 60 – in 1970 – Lars Bäcker hands over the helm to his son Anders, then just 28 years old. At this time, a seamstress earns 3.50 crowns per hour. Anders’ first years prove difficult. In three years during the early 1970s, labour costs increase by 30-50%. The crisis in the textile industry leads to business closures and lay-offs throughout the country. A primary reason is that the textile factories in Portugal and even in Finland, with much lower labour costs, undermine the Swedish textile industry. Also, people are spending much less on clothes, and more on accommodation and cars. In 1913, clothing accounted for 11% of household costs; in 1945 the figure was 15% but by 1970 it has dropped to just 8%. While the textile companies in Sweden founder and many sink, Didriksons sails on with a good side wind. “This was one of Didriksons’ first golden eras in the modern era. We open sewing factories in Portugal, and at most we have about 300 employees.” Anders Bäcker’s motto has always been to go with the flow, or to lead it, rather than oppose it. He has an international focus, and is one of the first Swedish businesspeople to visit China, after Mao drops the trade embargo. “I spent 30 days at the Canton Trade Fair in 1971, and not until the very last day could we get going and do some deals”, he explains. “That was when we bought our first production in China.” Anders purchases thin rainwear from Taiwan for two crowns a piece. At a rally in Anderstorp, the weather forecast is poor, and the organizer buys a truckload for the audience. Anders is also looking into options to manufacture overseas, especially Ireland. However the Irish logistics are too difficult. But Portugal can offer low wages and good logistics.

Just like Julius did more than 60 years earlier, Anders gets in touch with Grundén – this time Olle Grundén, CEO of Grundéns – to collaborate on a project in Portugal. It doesn’t work out very well, and after one year they go their separate ways. Then Didriksons finds Manuplas, a company in Oporto. Mario Resende becomes Didriksons’ associate, and manages the factory. His daughter Isolda, at this time just 16 years old, takes over in the late 1980s after her parents pass away. Now Didriksons can lower their costs considerably, and take on some different types of orders. For instance they sew raincoats for Iraq. They also sell fishing wear to the United States in the late 1970s. Didriksons doesn’t want to give up the fishing industry, even if the rainwear market is now much larger. Didriksons gets an agent in North America for the US and Canada, and does a good deal of business there in the early 1980s. “We tried to get the fishermen – both Swedish and American – to use more flexible materials and brighter, fluorescent colours, so they could be more easily seen if they fell overboard. But they wanted to stick with their old-style gear, and since they couldn’t swim anyway, they didn’t want to be visible in the water”, explains Anders Bäcker. When Didriksons begins production of rainwear in Portugal, the seamstresses in Åmål end up with too little to do. “We started doing contract sewing for Gul & Blå, a jeans manufacturer that was huge in the early 1970s. As well as for Gudrun Sjödén. This is to keep our staff of 180 employed, and to do our best to provide work for the many talented women in Åmål. We continue this way for several years into the 1970s”, explains Anders Bäcker.

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1984 – Polyurethane or membrane The early 1980s sees the arrival of a new, lightweight material, polyurethane (PU). It’s thin and completely watertight. Didriksons was the first company in Sweden to use it. To get quality approval, Anders gathers the members of the industry group REGNIA, which he formed in 1982. He presents the material. “My idea is that the more companies that use it, the faster it will break through, and with this material we can make much better garments.” This ensures that PU gains quick acceptance, and in 1985 Didriksons sells 115,000 units of the “Dick” rainwear – a coat and trousers in ten different colours. “Although in English-speaking countries we had to give it another name”, Anders laughs. Initially Dick is golf wear, and the Swedish national team uses it during the mid 1980s. Sweden in the 1980s experiences a golf boom.

Any town with self respect must have its own golf course. What used to be a posh sport is now accessible for the average man, woman and youth. And they all need rainwear. 1984 – Orwell’s fateful year – is also a key year for Didriksons in Åmål. This is the year sees the launch of a new material: GORE-TEX®. It’s a membrane laminated on different types of textiles, which according to the manufacturer allowed the garment to ”breathe”. Anders thinks it’s a bluff, and together with another manufacturer he tries to expose it. He commissions a test, where a cyclist wears similar garments made of various materials, and the time until the person starts to sweat is measured. The difference between GORE-TEX® and the best existing material is four minutes. But GORE-TEX® is here to stay, and today most manufacturers use breathable materials of one type of another.

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S WE DIS H NATIONAL GOL F T EA M

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Didriksons is purchased In the late 1980s Anders Bäcker starts to think seriously about the future. Should he buy volume or sell the business? He gets an offer from Bonniers to purchase Haglöfs. With Elof Hansson he discusses creating a conglomerate of sportswear manufacturers. Then an offer arrives from Craft AB, whose CEO Sten Sture Johansson wants Didriksons in his mix. Didriksons’ accountant advises Anders to make an offer on Craft instead, but Sten Sture Johansson isn’t interested. After much consideration, Anders decides to sell. “We worked out a price, and Craft accepted it”, says Anders. At that time, Didriksons’ turnover is about 40 million crowns and 400,000 garments.

The plan is that Anders Bäcker will come over to Craft and manage Didriksons’ production, which is to remain in Åmål. But it doesn’t turn out that way. Anders leaves after 22 months and in 1990 the business moves to Borås – a sad moment for many residents of Åmål and the region. For over 30 years Didriksons has been a large, good employer in Åmål. The Didriksons brand languishes under the management of Craft. When Craft goes bankrupt eight years later, all that remains of the Didriksons brand and design is really just some popular rainwear for children. Craft’s bankruptcy estate is purchased by Torsten Jansson’s company, New Wave. The deal also includes Craft’s export manager, Sören Andreasson.

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T HE LO G O THRO UGH THE YE ARS

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LAB ELS THROUGH THE YE ARS

LABELS 2013

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T his jacket has e v en been used by our nati v e S ami reindeer herders up in the v ery north of S weden .

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IT’ S B E TW E E N YO U AN D THE E LE M E N T

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Today’s Didriksons is born Sören Andreasson has a solid background in the sportswear branch. In 1989 he starts work as marketing manager for the Craft brand. This is about the same time as Craft purchases Didriksons from Anders Bäcker in Åmål. But Craft doesn’t prioritize the Didriksons brand, and it languishes in the years to come. When New Wave purchases Craft and its brands seven years later, the Didriksons label consists of only one garment: children’s rainwear. Luveman and Plaskeman. A set with jacket and trousers, made for Åhléns. Two years after New Wave’s takeover, Sören wants to move on. But he takes with him the Didriksons brand. Initially on licence, with an option to take over the entire business within three years. The launch of the new Didriksons is fast and provisional. There’s a contract written on graph paper, and a fax to Iceland with details of what a future collection could include. Plus a talented designer, a clock ticking, and many miles in the car. Didriksons Regnkläder AB is founded in early 1999. The brand is purchased from New Wave. Sören is CEO and the old owner, Anders Bäcker, is chairman of the board. Rumour has it that Sören phones Anders in the autumn of 1998 and says: “I have the Didriksons brand and a damn good designer. Are you in?” Anders replies: “Yes, as long as I don’t have to work.” Both men deny this conversation.

Still, Anders works for 12 years as chairman in the new Didriksons, and has a 10% share in the company. Sören has 65% and the remainder is with his friend Jan Gidebratt and the designer Karin Roos. Injecting life into the old brand is not cheap. The purchase price is one million, and in addition Sören has to secure credit for eight million. Things don’t go well, until he meets Bertil Larsson at Handelsbanken in Borås. Larsson sees the potential of both Andreasson and Didrikson. Today Larsson is the chairman of the board. The business concept and marketing plan are established in spring 1999. And they’re still in place today. The whole foundation of the business is, of course, “rain” – but seen as something positive. The target group is clear – and broad. The whole family. Active people who play, work, do sports, hike, cycle, sail, and in general spend time outdoors. The first year ends with a small minus, just like it did for Lars Bäcker over half a century earlier. In 2000 the first Didriksons catalogue arrives, picture proof that the rainwear market has made huge advances. The following year, a lot happens at the company. They move into new premises in Borås. They buy into Tomas Hacker’s company RDP, while he acquires a considerable stake in Didriksons. Tomas also joins the board, and later becomes design/product manager. The business now has two legs to stand on. More resources. And now things are starting to progress at a good speed. The figures have gone from red to black.

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JULIUS

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90 years old, and approaching 100 Didriksons’ original target group in the early 20th century was professional fishermen. Of course they want to sell rainwear to people who use it at work, even in the 21st century. But the purchasers of professional rainwear, such as the Swedish Transport Administration and other government organizations, place much stricter demands than Didriksons’ ordinary customers. New EU directives and standards are being launched continually. In one case, just as production of trousers is underway in China, new directives for roadworks are issued. In autumn 2003 the first catalogue is printed, with a full range for the professional sector. It will be the last one as well. A few years later, Didriksons gives up the fight for the professionals. 90 years and Julius is back in the company. More vital than ever. In 2003 the company celebrates its 90th anniversary. This makes Didriksons the oldest company in the industry. A 3-in-1 jacket called Julius, which Sören discovered at the Canton Trade Fair the previous year and modified to true Didrikson style, is the jewel in the anniversary crown. A tiny ad on the last page of the daily newspaper Aftonbladet for one week in September gets all the retailers to give it their best shot. The result is that about 10,000 men are wearing the Julius jacket in autumn 2003. That equals most of the turnover for the start-up year of 1999! Fire! One evening in early 2005, a Didriksons staff member hears on the TV news that a warehouse outside Gothenburg has burnt down. Next day it’s discovered that Didriksons’ container of the spring season’s golf clothing was in the warehouse. Naturally, panic sets in.

First they have to secure new clothing, as the season is just around the corner. Then they have to deal with the insurance, as the value was half a million crowns. The supplier is able to secure the clothes and air-freights them to Sweden. The season is saved. The insurance battle takes longer, but after several months of hard work, the American insurer pays up, and Didriksons can breathe a sigh of relief. A million garments. A new property and massive marketing. Julius realized the importance of advertising in the media. After all, he paid four crowns for his first ad, back in January 1913. Sören Andreasson’s gang starts modestly, but in 2007 they have a hundred full-page ads in various publications, and are “Equipment Supplier” for the Swedish Skiing Games in Falun, the final competition of the World Cup in crosscountry skiing. The marketing budget is 7.5 million crowns, for a turnover of 94 million crowns in Sweden. Add to that more than 40 million crowns for export, with a separate marketing budget. In recent years, every part of the company has grown, both in volume and strength. “The Cabin”, i.e. the office on Mariedalsgatan, which is spacious seven years earlier, is now very cramped. In March 2008 a decision is made to build new premises in the Viared industrial park outside Borås. In spring 2009 they move into the light, spacious and purpose-built offices, with lots of room for new staff – should the company continue to grow. During the same year, Didriksons sells one million garments.

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THELMA

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In the service of the active family… A wide range of collections and experienced daily functional wear has made Didriksons one of the largest trademarks in the Swedish Outdoor and Sports industry. The company is now striving to reach the teenage consensus and furthermore broaden both the Men’s and Women’s collections.

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LADY PARKAS

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ADVENTURE

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1913 - 2003

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ISPO – Hall B5 Booth 522 www.didriksons.com

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New countries join the Didriksons family ISPO is Europe’s largest sportswear trade fair, and in 2006 Didriksons is ready to take the leap, and have an exhibit. “Our small exhibit, just 25 square metres, is squeezed between two of the big players. We’re almost invisible”, explains Sören with a crafty smile. Because Sören has done something clever. Didriksons has booked an ad in the best place in “The ISPO Planner”. This is the guide and the indispensable map for the trade fair visitors. It’s where everyone sees you. The result of the first ISPO is a distributor in Germany, which is now added to the other export countries: Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands and little Iceland. Exports pass 30 million crowns, a 50% increase on the previous year. Combined with the Swedish turnover, Didriksons is now a 100-million crown company. Norway has been a difficult market in the early years. So instead of looking for a new distributor, the management decides to start a separate company. Together with the Norwegian stakeholders, the subsidiary now turns over 75 million Swedish crowns.

Didriksons also launches in Australia and New Zealand. Russia is included on the export map, and discussions are underway regarding an office in China. In Iceland, Didriksons sells large volumes, per capita – despite the financial crisis. One in ten Icelanders buys a new garment each year! In the past three years, the company has made outstanding progress. • Ten years into his second Didrikson journey, Anders Bäcker hands over the chairman’s club. Anders remains on the board, but Bertil Larsson takes over as chairman. • The sporting goods market is booming, thanks to two snowy winters. • The Viared building gets an extra floor, for additional storage space. • In Norway and China, the offices are now too small. • Turnover in 2011 exceeds 464 million crowns. The financial crisis continues as this is written, and markets all over Europe are wavering. However Didriksons remains stable, despite the winds blowing all around. But of course the company will be affected, and the growth curves will flatten somewhat. But Didriksons is just like the mackerel in the waters of Bohuslän: Constantly in motion. Never at rest.

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O UR C HINA O F F ICE STAF F

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PR E S S C O V E R A G E & PR O M O T I O N

CHINA OFFICE

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S O ME AWARDS AND RECO G N ITION S

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30.

31.

32.

33.

34.

35.


36.

37.

39.

40.

38.

41.

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Amphibian Didriksons 1913 • Seamless • Tactual particles which react to the weather. • The jacket has a snake-like outer material which regulates body temperatures. • Rain activated waterproof layer keeping moisture out yet still fantastically breathable. • A cold activated membrane releases out a winter fur when temperatures fall beneath minus 10 degrees. • A touch-sensitive area is double clicked right below the neck line to open the jacket. ALICE - BODA SCHOOL

• The fabric opens and then closes on its own. MÄRTA - NORDIC SCHOOL OF DESIGN

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The future and the next 100 years There are no crystal balls. At least, none that have been proven to work. Still, we can’t stop ourselves from letting our imaginations run wild. What will Didriksons be like in 100 years? In 2113. Will we still be around then? Will rain still fall? Will textiles and threads be replaced by sprays that keep us dry and happy? We predict that there will still be clothes and we suspect that we will still be in business. We asked some of tomorrow’s designers to brainstorm on how the clothes of the future might be. All of Class 1A at Bodaskolan helped us visualize the rainwear of the future. We also had some of the young, talented students from Northern Design School present their own ideas for tomorrow’s rainwear. How will it turns out in reality? We’ll find out when the day comes. In any case, we plan to be there. Join us on our journey into the future.

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S A ND R A L A NT Z - NO R D I S K D E S I G NS K O L A

Enkla plagg som är lätta att ta på sig och smidiga att packa ner. Extrem lång hållbarhet. I framtiden behöver inte du anpassa dig efter vädret och dina aktiviteter. Vi gör det åt dig!

Inbyggd gps i luvan, en röst som vägleder dig dit du vill. Exempelvis till det rätta stället i skogen för svampplockning, eller om du är på stan och vill undvika folksamlingar, exempelvis demonstrationer.

Inbygg stereo, den känner av dina tankar och anpassar musiken efter det du vill ha.

Vädersensorer, som vägleder dig till det rätta vädret.

Stöttålig för att undvika eventuella skador på din kropp. Kappan ger även ifrån sig signaler i form av lätta elektriska stötar för att undvika dig för en fara. Den känner av exempelvis farlig trafik, och om du hamnar i en fara agerar kappan som en krockkudde.

En inbyggd handske som skyddar dina händer när du behöver, exempelvis mot väta, smuts. Ett genomskinligt lager sveps över dina händer. Kappan ger dig energi, den tar vara på kroppens endorfiner.

Solens c-vitaminer som kroppen behöver till sitt immunförsvar, absorberas i kappans fickor när du vistas i solen. De förs sedan automatiskt över till din kropp. Kappan fungerar även som ett skydd för dig som inte tål solen den kan även agera som ett “solarium” för dig som vill ha/ behöver sol men inte har tid till att vistas i solan.

Automatiska reflexer. Efter behov kan kappan agera som lampa i form av uv-ljus. Samlar energi i sina solceller.

Som kroppen läker sig själv kommer kappan ha en unik hållbarhet och aldrig vara smutsig eller skadad. Ett material som snabbt reparerar sig till sitt ursprung.

Skyddar dig för myggbett, kemikalier

In the future, you won’t need to adapt after the weather or your activities. We’ll do this for you. The creation of simple and extremely durable garments will be easy to put on and effortless to pack. •

A built-in GPS in the hood equipped with a voice which will lead you where you want to go. Example: Where to find the best mushroom picking location in the woods or where to avoid demonstrations or crowds in the city.

• Weather sensors, leading you to places with perfect weather conditions. •

The coat gives small electrical pulses warning you from eventual dangers in traffic and can withstand collision by deploying an air bag, abstaining injury to your body.

Built-in gloves to protect your hands in the event of dampness or dirt. A see-through layer sweeps over your hands.

• The coat gives you energy drawn from your body’s endorphins. •

C-vitamins are absorbed by the coat when sitting in the sun, helping to build the body’s immune system. The coat can even act as a guard against the sun for sensitive people or a solarium for those who don’t have time to sit in the sun.

Automatic reflectors. When necessary the coat can act as a UV flash light. It collects its energy from solar panels.

• Integrated stereo, which “reads your thoughts” and adjusts the music after what you want. •

Just like the body heeling itself, the coat has a unique capacity for durability and never becoming dirty or damaged. A material which quickly repairs itself returning to its original condition.

• Protects against mosquito bites and chemicals.

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B O DASKO LAN CLASS 1A - IDE AS FOR THE FUTURE

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S A ND R A L A NT Z - NO R D I S K D E S I G NS K O L A

The outrageous becomes the new! Design and functionality meets in a whole new way. We challenge the Scandinavian design and search after a provoking new look. • A unique rain jumpsuit, comfortable material, and easy to take with which makes your adventure more practical and delightful. For example if you happen to be in the woods picking mushrooms. •

It’s intended that you can go directly from the couch and out in the rain. The jump suit conforms according to the climate. No need to think about packing along reflectors, gloves, backpacks etc. The one piece has it all built in.

Waterproof zippers. Gloves which magnetize to the end of the sleeve to keep in the warmth when it’s cold and waterproof when it’s wet.

With the help of solar panels, energy is collected in the jumpsuit which can increase the amount of calories burned during your activities.

In 50 years, your rain clothes will have a gorgeous, exclusive design. Clothes that you can use for every day activity and excursions. They adjust automatically after your needs. Rain, snow or shine has no bearing.

• A built-in backpack which you can take out when you need to carry a little extra.

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Our entire history again, in 8 pages

Julius Laurentius Didrikson is born.

Foundation of Didrikson Grundén & Company Oljeklädesfabrik. The production of “waterproof” clothing starts with cotton garments dipped in linseed oil.

1881

1913

1910

1933

Julius marries Hanna, and receives a dowry of 5,000 crowns.

Launch of vulcanized rubber.

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Watertight fashion clothing, women’s coats, and trench coats begin to be sold.

Lars Bäcker buys 50% of Didriksons.

“Slaghöken” sailed in Helsinki Olympics by Pelle Gedda.

1938

1946

1952

1940

1945

1947

The Star Suit is launched.

Julius dies; Hanna takes over the business.

The textile welding machine is invented.


Op and Pop fashion with PVC.

Anders Bäcker visits the Canton Trade Fair and makes his first purchase from China.

1960

1971

1957

1970

1971

Company moves to Åmål.

Anders Bäcker takes over the business.

Manufacturing begins in Portugal.

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Didriksons is first to introduce polyurethane as a material.

Craft of Scandinavia purchases Didriksons from Anders Bäcker and moves the business to Borås.

Sören Andreasson takes over Didriksons and buys out the brand in 1999.

1980

1990

1998

1984

1996

GORE-TEX® introduces breathable membranes.

Craft goes bankrupt and is acquired by New Wave Group, who only want to promote the Craft brand, while putting Didriksons on the back burner.


Warehouse starts in Ă…mĂĽl, with Lars Linge as manager.

New people join the Didriksons family: Stefan N., Salesman, Region South. Kalle W., Designer. JĂśrgen A. Financial Consultant, Leif J. Commission Salesman, Childrenswear.

1999

2000

1999

2000

2001

Karin Roos comes in as designer and Janne Gidebratt as salesman. Both become part owners of the company.

Tomas Hacker joins the group as part owner, and Didriksons become part owner of his company, RDP. Didriksons has yet another business area.

Internationalization has started: Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark.

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Didriksons’ DNA continues to advance, with waterproof womenswear.

Ludvig Roos comes on board as Designer.

Ulf Bourghardt joins the company.

2002

2005

2006

2003

2006

90th anniversary, celebrated with a special product, the 3-in-1 jacket Julius 1.

ISPO, the first international trade fair after the new start.

ISPO – Hall B5 Booth 522 www.didriksons.com

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Swedish Brand of the Year and “Gear of the Year”.

Business of the year in Borås, Västra Götaland region and unofficial second place in Sweden. Gazelle Company award from Dagens Industri newspaper.

2008

2009

2007

2008

2010

Subsidiary in Norway is established, with 60% ownership by Didriksons Sweden and 40% by key individuals in Norway.

New premises are built at Viared, Borås.

Chinese office is opened.

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“The Store’s Best Friend”, according to Sportfack.

It’s our centenary and we feel better and stronger than ever.

2010

2013

Join us as we journey into the future.

2011 Our turnover approaches half a billion crowns.

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Pictures Below are our explanations/clarifications for many of the pictures in this book. Where possible, we have done our very best to identify and contact the copyright owner to the images appearing in this book. If you own the rights to any of the pictures and we didn’t contact you prior to printing, please get in touch with us at Didriksons.

1. Julius Didrikson.

p. 15

2. Advertisement in Göteborgs Handels & Sjöfartstidning.

p. 15

3. Drawing of a wave machine, invented by Julius Didrikson, 1910.

p. 17

4. Drawing of a wind turbine, invented by Julius Didrikson, 1910.

p. 18

5. One of the first invoices from the general store.

p. 19

6a. The whole Grötö family, with Julius, Hanna & Sonja in the middle.

p. 26

6b. Nelly & Alfred Andreasson with p. 27 grandchild Bertil & great grandchild Marie-Louise. 7. Excerpt from parish register.

p. 29

8. Julius & Hanna’s home at Östra Skogen.

p. 31

9. Excerpt from 1913 accounts.

p. 31

10. Front page of 1913 accounts.

p. 31

11. Excerpt from inside of 1913 accounts.

p. 31

12. Part of front page and spread from 1923 price list.

p. 35

13. Seamstresses take a break outside factory, ca. 1950. 14.

p. 36

Seamstresses as models: Frideborg, p. 37 Greta, Judith, Eva, Lilly & Gunhild. At back are Dagmar, Anna-Olivia, Ruth & Karin ca. 1950.

15. Inventory ledger for 1913.

p. 38

16. Bernt Löfström with family.

p. 42

17. Poster illustrations.

p. 45

18. Postcard of local fishermen who fish near Iceland, ca. 1950.

p. 50

19. Advertisement: Star Suit.

p. 51

20. Photos of Lars Bäcker sailing.

p. 62

21. Photos of Anders Bäcker sailing.

p. 76

22. Jacket worn/tested by a reindeer-herding Sami from Norrland.

p. 105

23. Cooperation agreement.

p. 106

24. Invoice for Didrikson brand.

p. 106

25. Templates for sou’wester.

p. 117

26. Sören at groundbreaking of the new property.

p. 132

27. The new property.

p. 133

28. Norwegian advertisement.

p. 141

29. Test winner, 2010: best children’s overall. p. 142 30. Sören Andreasson – Businessperson of the Year, City of Borås 2008.

p. 146

31. Sören Andreasson – Businessperson p. 146 of the Year, Västra Götaland region 2009. 32. Sören Andreasson: p. 146 Honourable mention, Businessperson of the Year, Sweden 2010. 33. Super Company of the Year 2008.

p. 146

34. Super Company of the Year 2009.

p. 146

35. Super Company of the Year 2010.

p. 146

36. Sportfack – Profitability 2005.

p. 147

37. Sportfack – Profitability 2007.

p. 147

38. Sportfack – Brand of the Year 2008.

p. 147

39. Sportfack – Clothing of the Year 2008.

p. 147

40. Swedish Export Championship 1983.

p. 147

41. Dagens Industri – One of this year’s Gazelle Companies 2009.

p. 147

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Citat från en av våra unga kunder, en tjej på 10 år:

– Mamma, Mamma heter vi inte Granath längre? – Det är klart vi gör! – Men varför står det då Didriksons på alla våra kläder?”

Quote from one of our younger customers; A 10 year old little girl …

“Mommy, mommy! Is our last name not Granath anymore??” “Of course it is,” answers her mother. “But then why does it say ‘Didriksons’ on all of our clothes?”

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TE X T AND RE SE ARCH

AGNETA DI DRI KS ON ( H annas A N D J ulius G R A N D C H I L D )

TH ANK YOU VERY M UCH

F OR FA CT S , A N ECD OT ES , HI S TOR I ES A N D P I CT U R ES : S ö ren A ndreasson , A nders B äcker , B arbro B äcker , B ö rje D av idsson , S ture Djerf, T O M A S H A C K E R , S olv eig J ohansen , I ngegerd J ohansson , B engt J onsson

Design: Firewater DDI. Production: Lefthand p r o d u c t p h o t o S : r o b e r t h a ll b e r g

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Watch our film about the history of D idriksons a century of water protection 1913-2013. http : // www. didriksons . com / heritage /

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