Exklusiv bei Outdoormind gibt es das Interview mit Houdini Sportswear. Die schwedische Bergsportlerin Lotta Giornofelice hat das Label 1993 gegründet. Das Outdoormind Team hatte die Chance ein Interview mit Eva Karlsson, CEO von Houdini Sportswear, zu führen.

Houdini Sportswear Interview bei Outdoormind

Die Fragen und Antworten haben wir in Englisch verfasst. Wie es sich anfühlt, „Woman of the Year“ in Schweden zu sein, ob es ein Geheimrezept gibt, sich im Outdoormarkt durchzusetzen und was die kommende Saison ansteht, verrät uns Eva Karlsson im nachfolgenden Interview.

Dear Eva, the sports industry selected you for “Woman of the Year” in Sweden. Houdini got the Swedish “Gazelle-Award” because of the rapid growth. The Swedbank and the Skandinavian Outdoor Group awarded Houdini with Sustainability Awards and the CNBC business magazine ranked Houdini as one of the 25 most creative Companies in Europe. How do you deal with that?

We are so happy with all the attention the last years. We believe it’s part of the hard work, long term efforts and endurance, both in terms of our products, our environmental focus and the way we run the company. We know we are on the right path and the attention gives us a little extra strength to continue this path!

By this time the market of the outdoor industry is mature and brands, which come originally from special fields, nowadays bet on apparel and mass. It is hard for new brands but you are an exception. What is your secret recipe?

Hard work, long term efforts and endurance, both in terms of our products, our environmental focus and the way we run the company. Long term relations both within the company but also with our suppliers, our producers and our Houdini Friends who are working close together with us.
Instead of a focus on only the next 3 months we have longer goals, 5 years and 50 years. We want to still be around doing good business in a responsible way (on a living planet, there’s no business on a ruined planet…).

CEO Eva Karlsson
CEO Eva Karlsson (c) Houdini Sportswear

Houdini is not well known in Germany so far but is regarded as insiders tip. Back in Sweden you accomplished the breakthrough, although Houdini once started as a One-Woman-Show. How was the development of this rapid growth and how did you come across Lotta?

Hard work, long term efforts and endurance, again… But also the strength of „word of mouth“, the knowledge of Houdini has always been known from user to user, not through large advertising investments.
Lotta and I were friends/colleagues in the same business, me at Patagonia, Lotta at Houdini. We almost never met during work, but the more often in the mountains….

Is it possible to grow organically and healthy when you have such a huge success? Or have you just skipped some steps?

Yes it’s absolutely possible. I refer again to the long term view on both products, business and people/relations. But one more important thing, the company and the people within the company share the same passion for the great outdoors and together we have so much fun. It is really an important part of the success.

The focus is on functionality, color, sustainability and comfort. Not only this, but also to develop new cuts and materials is a challenge. How do you organize these processes?

We are at the forefront in many ways and the company are organized to be there. We have invested a large part of our resources on the production department and the design department and we work close together with the R&D teams at our suppliers. Together with them we can be strong even if we still are not one of the giants in the business.

Who is the target group of Houdini? Who do you want to address and which ambassadors (such as Ane Enderud) do you like to work with?

Our target group is people with high awareness with an active and healthy life style. We have different ambassadors for different activities, some of them are more involved in the product development, but they are all important to us.

What is your philosophy and how would you describe Houdini, if you want to bring somebody who never heard of Houdini before closer to the brand?

Houdini wants to provide addictive products and inspire people to live a healthier and happier life style on a living planet, for us and future generations. We never compromise, we work hard on performance, sustainability and design. We want to provide true Core Comfort (comfort for all senses, body and soul).

Fieldtest-by-Patricia-Photo Thomas-Odhult
Fieldtest by Patricia (c) Thomas-Odhult
Actionbild Houdini Sportswear
Actionbild Houdini Sportswear (c) Houdini Sportswear

What is on the menu for the next season? How do you want to advance?

We will keep up the good work : )
We have never launched many new styles, instead we work on making improvements on already existing products, new styles are added but not just for the sake of doing it. The new product are launched when we, or our Friends/ambassadors feel a product is missing or that we can see that Houdini can make a much better version of the existing products at the market (in terms of performance/sustainability/comfort/versatility). We talk a lot about the Layering System, it’s the way we build you up so you feel comfortable and confident going out into the world no matter what kind of sport you intend to do there. Ultimate comfort, the way we see it is clothing you barely feel that you’re wearing. Clothing you can rely on, that won’t get in your way or require your constant attention, that allows you to focus on your sport rather than on your gear.
Our heritage is underwear and base layers, but nowadays we also have mid layers and shell layers. Next winter will have more shell layers and the next summer will have more training products (on- or off trail).

Do you have a favorite product of Houdini, without leaving the house is impossible?

Houdini has been part of my life for so long that the products are very much part of my every day life, especial when it comes to the days I spend time outdoor : ) but if I have to chose I would say the Cloud Nine Houdi for it’s unique combination of warmth and permeability. But one product I use almost every day (during cold months) are the Houdini High Loft Magic Mitts, versatility at it’s best!!

Houdini Friend Hanna Restorp, foto: Fredrik Schenholm
Houdini Friend Hanna Restorp (c) Fredrik Schenholm
Houdini Friend Hanna Restorp
Houdini Friend Hanna Restorp (c) Fredrik Schenholm
Houdini Friend Hanna Restorp
Houdini Friend Hanna Restorp (c) Fredrik Schenholm

Über Houdini Sportswear:

Bekanntheit erlangte Houdini vor allem durch ihr Base- und First-Layer Programm. Als erste Marke überhaupt stellten die Schweden Produkte mit Stretch Fleece her und begründete damit den großen Erfolg auf dem Heimatmarkt. Das nachhaltige Konzept von Houdini spiegelt sich in jedem einzelnen Produkt und zieht sich durch die gesamte Produktionskette. Erklärtes Ziel: 100 Prozent nachhaltig produzierte Outerwear so bald als möglich. Im Moment werden 98% der Produkte nachhaltig hergestellt. Das bedeutet, sie sind entweder aus recycelten Fasern hergestellt, nach Gebrauch recycelbar, biologisch abbaubar oder bluesign® zertifiziert – oder eine Kombination aus verschiedenen Verfahren. Auf Daune und Bio-Baumwolle wird aufgrund der schlechten Kontrollmechanismen komplett verzichtet. Produziert wird nur in Europa. Mittlerweile ist Houdini in 14 ausgewählten Märkten in Europa, Nord Amerika und Asien erhältlich.

Mehr Informationen gibt es auch unter  www.houdinisportswear.com