Norwegian woollen fabrics are sought after on the world market

Gudbrandsdalens UldvarefabrikLillehammer

Gudbrandsdalens Uldvarefabrik is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of furniture fabrics. They are now about to strengthen their international position and are receiving help from Innovation Norway.

Unlike many other Norwegian textile producers, Gudbrandsdalen'sUldvarefabrik has chosen to keep their production domestic. The entire production process from freshly shorn wool to finished textile products is gathered under one roof in Lillehammer. This provides employees with a lot of knowledge and good control over the process, and the possibility of customisation.

A unique family business

GudbrandsdalensUldvarefabrik was established in 1887 and is owned by the fourth generation of the founding family. For many years, the textile manufacturer has built expertise and contributed to promoting Norwegian design both at home and abroad.

The company has won the ‘DOGA Award for Design and Architecture’ an amazing 20 times and been named ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ by Bo Bedre. The ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ award is given to a Norwegian company that uses design as a strategic tool for building its profile and business activities.

“We believe that stable production, consistent quality and high expertise are success factors. In addition, we have a unique production line and one mustn’t forget that wool is a unique raw material”, says Karen Lauvålien, Sales and Marketing Manager at GudbrandsdalensUldvarefabrik.

A desire to export more

“Having good market insight and working actively on innovation and development is important to us. At the same time, we have always been true to our core activities and have never deviated from our strict quality standards. This has been crucial for us in order to succeed both nationally and internationally”, says Lauvålien.

GudbrandsdalenUldvarefabrik has an export share of more than 65 percent, but the customer base is vulnerable. They are now initiating a strategic and operational boost to strengthen the company’s international position. The company has been included in Innovation Norway’s export development programme called Global Gateways. Among other things, the company will receive assistance from our internationalisation advisors in Norway and from our market advisors in offices around the world. An initiative of this type will strengthen the company’s local value creation and help safeguard the company’s 65 jobs in the local community, and hopefully contribute to growth.

“Our goal is to increase the export share by ten percent over the next three years”, says Lauvålien.

Our advice to all companies is to update their own activities regarding sustainability, both strategically and operationally, well before it becomes a requirement from customers.
Beate Follestad, Innovation Norway Innlandet

Sustainability in everything they do

Textile production follows strict environmental requirements, and the company has environmental and quality management certification in accordance with ISO; the International Organization for Standardization. For production, they use water from the river that flows past the factory, and the water that is discharged back into Mjøsa lake becomes drinking water. Innovation Norway has provided input and been a sparring partner for the company in strategic development processes, such as the company’s environmental focus, and has mitigated some of the risk through strategic funding.

“GudbrandsdalensUldvarefabrik has impressed us with its ability to retain expertise and at the same time develop its products. As a result, they appeal to both the trendy design market in Europe and the more traditional furniture fabric market. It has been really great to see how they have put sustainability on the agenda. Our advice to all companies is to update their own activities regarding sustainability, both strategically and operationally, well before it becomes a requirement from customers”, says Beate Follestad, funding advisor at Innovation Norway Innlandet.

Lauvålien says that they have worked on sustainability for many years, but struggled to communicate it to a sufficient degree.

“Our challenge has been to gather all the insights and data and ‘translate’ it into a language that everyone understands, both employees and customers. Innovation Norway has assisted us in the process of gathering the threads and creating a foundation that now makes it easier for us to communicate how we work, and the needs that we have when working on a communication strategy around this.

  • Regional district funds
  • Advice on innovation and development
  • Advisory in international markets
  • Export technical advisory
  • The mentoring service
  • Business network
  • Workshop in international market development
  • Global Gateways