Jöttnar and MyOutdoors have been in touch, one way or another, since their launch and we’ve always tried to keep everyone informed of how they are progressing and what there plans are. With one thing and another we missed a catch up last year. So we caught up with co-founder, Tommy Kelly, again this year to see how everything is going.
What have been the major developments since we heard from Jöttnar last year?
After many years of Jöttnar being a two-man operation – me and fellow founder Steve Howarth – it’s satisfying to now be of a number that makes for a good night out, and sufficient in strength to carry me home at the end. Steve and I have a karaoke habit which often results in exhaustion and evacuation.
The Pro Team have been hitting the mountain hard over the last 12 months. Has this influenced this year’s range or will we reap the benefits in future ranges?
Anywhere between two and four years is typically the period of time it takes to progress a new product from sketch through to production. This means that all of the new items joining the range this year, as with every year, will have seen abuse at the hands of the team, at various stages of prototyping and development.
How has the range developed this year? What has been the focus?
We’re in the process of adding 11 brand new pieces to the range this year, as well as introducing new colours across the existing range. The new items are all built with the expectation that when they leave us, they’re heading off for a life of abuse and harsh conditions – whether that be winter climbing, polar exploration, backcountry skiing, alpinism or skimo.
The new pieces to have launched so far have mostly been mountaineering and climbing focused. Those due to launch later in the season are all ski-specific, and by Christmas we’ll have a fully formed ski category. This has been in the development pipeline for several years, so it’s an exciting time.
Additionally, we’ve built new manufacturing partnerships in the past couple of years. A lot of focus and energy has therefore gone into ensuring that not only do we maintain existing build quality, but that we improve on it.
How do you feel your new SKJOLDR fabric has been received?
Fantastically well. We knew we were onto something special when we began trials, and then over time as the Pro Team members individually failed to get wet or sweaty in it – or destroy it – despite their devoted efforts. It’s been a long and involved process bringing a new waterproof breathable fabric to market, but we’re blown away by it and so are our customers.
How did that come about and what are the benefits of the fabric?
We’d previously used Polartec NeoShell on all of our shell items. We remain big fans of it, but for something as crucial as waterproof breathable fabric, we wanted to bring it closer in-house. What we’ve now ended up with is a fabric which has twice the waterproofness of before, almost twice the robustness, an incredible breathability and an ability to produce it at a volume and timescale of our choosing.
Something we see from other brands is an environmental statement, your site states your manufacturing and sourcing is “responsible” can you elaborate on this?
All of our down is supplied by US-based DownTek, who comply with the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This ensures that all down used in our products is not from live-plucked birds, and that they have also not been force-fed. In addition, all third parties either producing or handling the down are audited by an independent team to ensure that they meet the standards set by the RDS. All RDS-compliant down is marked as such through the production process, guaranteeing that any down product carrying the RDS mark contains only certified down.
DownTek’s ZeroPFC treatment, which we use throughout, is a perfluorocarbon-free, natural lipid water repellent treatment to make it hydrophobic. Furthermore, it’s applied using a vapour process, instead of via a bath, which further reduces the possibility of harming water systems. We’re currently examining the viability of entirely PFC-free DWR treatments for all of our fabrics and we’re always looking for recycling opportunities where possible.
Over the years we have seen Jöttnar grow, has there been any significant business developments you can tell us about?
We still sell direct-only from our website. No third party resellers, no Amazon, no discount warehouses. This does mean that you can’t drop into your local store and try for size, but I’d personally rather order something online and then try it on in the comfort of my own home. I don’t see our direct-to-customer approach changing any time soon, and we particularly value the direct interaction with our customers that this gives us.
We’ve also built the corporate side of the business steadily over the years, which encompasses mountain rescue teams, corporate groups, specialist military units and guiding outfits – and it’s good to see that growing.
Finally what are the teams plans for this winter season?
As with every year, the excitement starts to build around this time as it gets colder and darker. Beyond the usual Scottish winter climbing action, there’s some big un-skied alpine faces to be dealt with, deep US powder to be sniffed out, some steep Norwegian ice and some polar action all in the mix. Good times ahead!
Jöttnar was founded in 2013 by former Royal Marine Commandos, Tommy Kelly and Steve Howarth. The concept for the brand was conceived in a cold tent in Norway’s Arctic Circle and has risen to the brand we see now. Check out the new additions for 2019 on their site.