Årets leverandør 2018

Tekstilforum's award for supplier of the year this year goes to 4Knits AS. The prize was awarded in advance of the fashion show in the Norwegian Fashion Center at Fornebu on Tuesday.

In a few years, Siv Katralen has gone from being a textile agent to leading a small piece of Norwegian fashion adventure. Close to my heart started with scarves, and now presents a full collection in strong growth. In addition, she has established the sister brand The8th. In 2017, turnover exceeded 21 million.

Siv Katralen, Karolina Anna Kamola, Lena Elgaaen Madsen and Diana Obst receive the proof that they are this year's supplier 2018 by editor of Tekstilforum, Ove Hansrud. (Photo: Helene Remøy)

It is a company and brands with a strong social profile that the committed southerner leads. Reed loves climbing and has traveled around the world to climb high mountain peaks. When she came to Nepal, she was completely captivated by the country and its people.

She made more and more friends and contacts, and constantly expanded her production. Siv saw that many, especially the women, lived in terrible conditions. Both because of poverty, but also because of strong religious traditions. Therefore, she has been strongly involved in several humanitarian, women-related projects: Among other things, "Pads for school", where she has started and helped finance the production of cloth bandages for girls who have just menstruated. And she has been central in a number of other aid projects after the great earthquake disaster that hit the country hard in 2015.

Siv Katralen has a burning commitment to children and women in Nepal and receives a glorious reception when she arrives. (Photo: Julian Bound)

In addition, she has helped in various ways in the reconstruction after the earthquake disaster a few years ago: Clean water, better schooling and language training, collection of clothes and equipment, help for women struggling with infections and injuries after childbirth.

Several production countries

As the brand has grown and expanded with its sister brand The 8th, she has established production in several other countries, including China, Turkey and Macedonia, but still around 40 percent of the collection is produced in Nepal.

Small but efficient

Katralen is very pleased with its small but efficient organization and thanks them most sincerely for their contribution to being named supplier of the year:

- We are a small organization, but we work a lot. And it is necessary. In just a few years, there have been major changes in the industry. The pace is constantly increasing. That is why we develop small express deliveries in season to get closer to the market. This is one of the reasons why we want to test production on land in Europe, in order to cut down on transport time. Lena Madsen Elgaaen has been involved in building up Close to my heart for six years, and together with Diana Obst is responsible for sales and follow-up of customers. Lena came straight from Markedshøyskolen to 4knits, and is today an invaluable partner. Karolina Anna Kamola is my right hand in design, together we create Close to my heart. Karolina has meant a lot. She came straight from her studies at Esmod at the age of 22, has had a steep learning curve and also has design responsibility for The8th.

In 2017, Lena and Diana created many new customer relationships that naturally created increased sales. In addition, new product groups such as leather and woven garments have made the collection more complete, and we have gained more space at our retailers, says Siv.

New children's collection

And she can reveal that a completely new collection is underway: a baby collection produced in Nepal, in cashmere and fine, soft wool qualities. - We are developing it now, and launching it this summer!

Supplier of the year

Every year, Tekstilforum named the supplier of the year to focus on the suppliers' role in the value chain: on product quality, delivery quality, service quality and their role as good partners and advisers in the stores. The selection is based on proposals from the stores. This year, 30 proposals were received for candidates.

Previous winners:

2BIZ, Ball Group, Fransa, Cream, Floyd, Freequent, Riccovero.

Article written by Tekstilforum: