Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Factory Visit - Leiftur / Sp/f. Sjóklæðir

A couple of days ago, I stopped by Sp/f. Sjóklæðir to make a surprise visit, hoping to get a look of the production, sewing machines and have a chat about the company. I was greeted by a sincerely friendly lady, Bjørg Nólsoy, who was happy to show me around.

This morning there was very little activity in the white painted, rather anonymous looking house, which serves both as Sjóklæðir's storage and workshop. This was due to the fact because the shipment with new supplies from Belgium unfortunately had taken a detour to Latvia and therefore was expected to arrive later that day.

The company is situated up a hill in the biggest fishing community of the Faroe Islands, Klaksvík. The past 50 years It has been providing Faroese fishermen, farmers and the fish industry ashore with work wear the.

Initially the garments were branded 'Mammut', but it was renamed 'Leiftur' meaning baby whale, because a factory in Denmark, more or less similar to Sjóklæðir, also called itself Mammut.

In its early days the factory also manufactured a range of everyday apparel including jeans and jackets. Today the company is run by Bjørg, who is the daughter of the founders. Nowadays the company employs six people. In the golden days as many as 40 people worked at Sjóklæðir.

Very little has changed in the production. The customers are the same people wanting exactly the same things when the previous are worn out.
Sometimes small adjustments are being made, when a number of fishermen have proclaimed that a hood or sleeve is too wide or narrow for instance.
This is also why Bjørg has no website and why she doesn't advertise. ”People know we're here and what we're about”.

All words and photos by Fríðgerð á Hálvmørk

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