Outdoor Retailer is an opportunity to learn about brands I’ve never heard and brands about which I know little. So when I was invited into the Norrøna booth, I said yes.
Norrøna is a 90 year-old Norwegian company that is still owned and managed by the original family. The intended application, materials and construction quality, and prices of its products remind me most of Arc’Tyrx, or premium lines from Patagonia or TNF. The product line is expansive, covering all four seasons and multiple outdoor sports, including hiking, alpine climbing, mountain biking, running, skiing and snowboarding, and even surfing and hunting.
In Norway, where Norrøna is apparently as ubiquitous as LL Bean, there are lower-priced products, too, but for now the US will only see its premium goods. And the products will be focused on hike, run, and the snow sports.
Current US distribution includes:
- Direct, at www.norrona.com;
- REI.com and some REI flagship stores; and,
- Some premium outdoor specialty stores.
Norrøna is also exploring possible retail locations in the U.S., and it’s likely to open a branded retail location in 2019.
Can Norrøna break into the US? Personally, I find the price points difficult to swallow (e.g. $420 for a 3+ season parka, or $250 for a 20d Pertex windshirt), but I know there’s a market for them — other brands successfully play in this space. The product quality is excellent. It has a novelty/up-and-coming element. And it seems genuinely committed to corporate social responsibility.
At OR earlier this month their product line was skewed towards winter activities. But I’ll swing by again in future shows to see what products might be more applicable to backpacking and trail running.
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