North Outdoor Specialized in Merino Wool Clothing Makes a Huge Investment in Finland and Establishes a State-of-the-Art Knitting Factory in Oulu That 3D-Prints Wool Sweaters. Now the Focus Is on International Markets.
The New Merino Knitting Factory is a Groundbreaking Endeavor
The Finnish clothing company specializing in merino wool garments, North Outdoor, has made a major expansion, turning their knitting factory in Oulu's Rusko into Finland's largest wool sweater factory. Thanks to the investment, the company can now produce up to 100,000 merino wool sweaters domestically each year.
The entire investment and expansion, worth around three million euros, was carried out in two phases, the latter of which has just been completed. According to Teemu Kattilakoski, the company's Sales Director and owner, the modern equipment allows for 3D-printing garments directly into their final form.
- This also reduces waste, typical in the textile industry. Instead of producing knitted fabric, the machines directly print seamless pieces shaped like sweaters.
Laura Luokkanen, responsible for the design of the company's wool sweaters, highlights the elegance of the new technology: no assembly lines or sewing together of pieces are required.
- The knit product is about 95% complete after it comes out of the knitting machine. After this, the knit is post-processed, which includes tidying up the finishing threads, washing, drying, steaming, sewing brand labels and washing instructions, and packaging and storing the product.
There is strong confidence in the company's own production. Luokkanen knows that the new knitting factory is also an investment in Finland.
- Bringing the textile industry back to Finland is a very important and groundbreaking effort. This creates more jobs in the field and ensures that expertise does not disappear from Finland.
In-Depth Expertise is Key
Seamless cooperation between design and production is crucial when you want to make the products as good as possible, both visually and commercially. Luokkanen says that having their own knitting factory allows them to reduce the cost structure of the products.
- For example, different knit structures, sleeve solutions, and neckline shapes affect the production time and therefore also the cost structure of the product. Continuous dialogue between production and design makes the design and production process more flexible and efficient.
Towards International Markets
The North Outdoor team is not afraid of challenges. The next step is towards international markets. In Finland, the brand and merino wool have already gained recognition. Elsewhere in Europe, the situation is not the same.
- There's no rush. We're not conquering Europe quickly. We're moving forward one step and one market at a time.
North Outdoor employs 40 motivated and goal-oriented professionals in the field of clothing. The competitive spirit and speed are also not lacking from the North Outdoor management. In addition to Kattilakoski, the company employs another owner, Lauri Pyykönen, a familiar name as a former Finnish national team skier. Although the skis have been replaced with merino wool sweaters, the motto remains the same: development stops at complacency.
North Outdoor is owned by former national team skiers Lauri Pyykönen and Teemu Kattilakoski.
Read more on the subject: