Name: Christian. Just Christian.
Job Title: Full-time retail employee at CC Vest in Oslo, Norway / Head of Product in Retail.
From: Originally, the Northern parts of Norway. For now, I’m in Oslo.
Favorite outdoor activity: Hiking. I like wandering the woods.
So Christian, how did you find Norrøna sport?
When I came to Norrøna, I had no retail experience. I had applied to several retail jobs. And this position was actually the 52nd place I had applied for. So, pure chance.
“I’m actually a former carpenter. But I wanted something completely new. And retail is not as black and white and many believe it to be. Especially when it comes to high-end, technical clothing. Which is right up my alley because I am a huge nerd.”
You spend your days in-store working the floor, but you have a special role don’t you? Can you give us some details?
Sure, officially the role is called Head of Product in Retail. When a new employee comes to me, usually the decision has been made and they are already hired. I don’t conduct the interviews. I’m in charge of all of the technical product training for new retail employees. I teach them everything they need to know about what materials are present in each product, key features of the design, and which activity each product has been designed for.
In your eyes, what is going to make a new retail employee succeed?
Any pre-knowledge of the brand is actually the last thing I look for or care about. It really comes down to personality. One thing that I appreciate about our stores is that we have a lot of different people. “
“I’m a huge nerd, am overweight and like the finer things in life. We have a lot of super athletes. And people with different interests and backgrounds. As long as new hires are interested in learning about the brand, that is what is most important”.
One of the reasons I have stayed so long is that I really like the ethical way we do things. It’s been this way since long before I came. And if employees are interested in learning about this, then they will do well.
How often do you encounter a “Norrøna newbie”?
There are a few people who walk in with no clue as to what Norrøna is about. In Norway, we have something around 95% brand recognition which is really cool. And many of our customers, perhaps 90%, that come in have been coming in for years and have an extremely high knowledge of what the brand is about.
What’s the most common question you get from customers?
Hm, there are many of them. A lot of customers ask where the clothes are made. People are really conscious about that. There is also a lot of curiosity about what the products are made with.
What would you say differentiates Norrøna stores from other brick and mortar outerwear brands?
Oh definitely the knowledge of the employees. I wouldn’t call it strict, but we have a really good training plan in place for all retail employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re part-time, or work every other week. You should still know as much as full-time employees do.
After 6 years, do you still get excited about new products?
Yeah I do! I’m really looking forward to getting senja, the new trail running collection, into store. I’m really interested in what materials will be used. More specifically, what material combinations will be used.
“I’m really into materials and actually research them on my off time. For example, I know how the flex1 fabric works, and why it dries so quickly. But when you start combining that material with other panels, yeah, it gets me going.”
All Norrøna stores accept products to be sent in for repair if it is needed. Do you have any cool repair stories from customers you would like to share?
First off, I have to say I have a huge respect for the repair service center because there is so much knowledge there on how to fix things.
I remember there was this one woman who came with one of the earlier versions of the falketind jacket. It was a really nice peachy color that hadn’t been sold for years. She was distraught because she had left some doggy treats in the chest pocket of the jacket, and her puppy had completely chewed through the material to get to them. There were so many holes! But I sent it to the repair center and talked to Unn who works in our repair center. She found the exact same peachy colored material leftover from years ago and was able to repair the jacket so well that it looked new. When I returned it back to the owner, she didn’t believe that it was her jacket and was sure we had swapped it out for a new one.