This article originally appeared in the October edition of Ragtrader. Subscribe to the magazine here. 

Fjällräven – the Arctic Fox – has found a home a Sydney. Imogen Bailey reports. 

Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven opened its first Sydney retail store in York St in August.

The 100sqm store houses the brand’s range of technical outdoor gear, accessories and its famed Kånken backpack and is the second standalone retail store for the brand in Australia.

Taking learnings from its first store in Melbourne as well as its experience from the B2B side as a wholesaler, Fjällräven ANZ brand manager Susan Park says that the Sydney store will serve as more than just a place for people to purchase products.

“We deal with a lot of retailers from the other side as a supplier and we see the challenges that retailers deal with all across Australia.

“So when we open a shop we don’t want it just to be a place where people come in and buy stuff.

“We really want our team to be on board to be brand ambassadors, we want it to be a place where people can discover the brand or people who already know the brand from overseas can come in here and they have that same experience as they would in Sweden or Amsterdam or the US or Korea.

“Because the brand is also new in Australia we want it to be an educational piece so we have a couple of cool little activations.

“We have a little corner where people can relax and sit down, we have free Wifi, we offer something called Fika everyday which is a Swedish coffee break tradition to get people to slow down a little bit. We’ll have snacks, tea and coffee before 12 every day,” she says.

Park says that one of the main learnings the brand has taken from its wholesale experience is not to bow to the discount cycle present in the Australian retail market.

“In the Australian market there’s a lot of pressure on price and discounts and it’s this rotating calendar of sales for whatever reason.

“I think that can be quite harmful, it trains consumers into thinking in that way and I just don’t think that’s very sustainable – it turns into a race to the bottom.

“And it’s not about that. It’s not about having lines out the door, moving crazy volumes and thousands of units a day.

“We know that there’s demand in Sydney and Australia, we see that from the data from our wholesale accounts as well as our own websites, so we’re quite confident about that,” she says.

Fjallraven Sydney.

To build on the demand the brand has witnessed, it is investing further into digital marketing Park explains.

“Our customers are everywhere. Our audience is that divide between outdoor enthusiasts who want quality and technical features and in that area we offer something really different to the brands that exist in Australia.

“But the people who are shopping at those brands that exist in Australia might not know about us just yet, so we want to talk to those people.

“Then on the fashion side obviously our Kånken backpacks are super popular and we want to introduce the rest of our brand to those customers and connect the dots there and say, ‘you know us for these but we also do amazing accessories and clothing and have a really good brand goal towards sustainability.’”

Alongside strengthening its communications to its customers, Fjällräven is considering further retail locations, as well as looking into launching a trekking event, Park says.

“Possibly more physical retail. It’s always quite a considered decision for us.

“We look after New Zealand as well and we know demand is really strong there and so one thing we’re looking into is how we meet that and what we can do to replicate this omnichannel strategy we’ve got going so well in Australia.

“We are looking at possibly hosting a trekking event sometime next year as well. Brand experiences for Fjällräven means hosting a number of hiking events throughout the world. It’s called the Fjällräven Classic – we’re an outdoor company, we want people to experience nature – so we want to do something on a smaller scale in Australia.

“Digital marketing is really working out for us, so of course we’ll continue that but the focus is sustainable growth,” she says.

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