Some times tough decisions have to be made. When we decided to close our shop Hraun art and design in the beginning of the year it was a truly tough decision. We loved the shop and it gave me a fine workspace but even though we where situated fairly well in the down town area the traffic was not enough for us to survive once the tourist season was over. The Norwegians failed on us.
Since closing we have been conducting further tests on our products and the sales methods along with me touring half of Norway to get response to the products. Sure enough we have received good feedback but not enough sale. It seems that we can sell any thing to the Norwegians as long as it is under 200 nkr, that is except fish leather. Any thing with fish leather does not sell to the Norwegians and we find that strange.
Our main customers come from USA ,Germany and Australia along with european countries like Netherlands, Swiss, Austria and France.
All of these countries have three things in common. There is a tradition of leather work, there is a tradition and respect for handcraft and there is interest in arts.
When reading this spring that only 4% of the Norwegian art market is in Bergen and Hordaland area I realized that we where in the totally wrong place and after touring Norway to see how people are doing in other towns I became certain that we needed to move.
We want the company to grow and have full believe in its possibilities. The response after me being in the street selling has proofed that. There is a unanimous verdict. These things we are selling are to good to be sold in a street stand but could be sold at art fairs or shops that deal with handcrafted artistic elements. With the centralization of things here in Norway and the enormous power of the few shopping chains that eat the market its next to impossible for us to get into the shops when the decision is taken in Oslo for what is being sold in Bergen.
When we started out there where few shops that we where in contact with that wanted to sell our stuff. Unfortunately the Mall-ism as I call it has killed those shops and most of the artistic speciality shops are disappearing from Bergen. Support for our kind of company is not to be had or at least we have not succeeded in getting official support for startups and marketing.
There is a synonym in our customers. They are in the biggest degree artists or artistic interested individuals that want to stand out from the crowd. People that dare to be different. People that not necessary follow the crowd and buy what the next door neighbor bought. People with free mind and unfortunately they are not in Bergen and most likely not even in Norway on big enough scale.
Last spring when I visited my homeland Iceland I talked to some shop owners and showed our products. The response was far beyond what I had expected and the majority wanted to sell our products or thought that the would fit in with their things. This was further confirmed when Guðny brought here and my things to other shops I did not talk to. The response was far better back home than here in Norway.
The possibilities for the company to grow are there for much better back home than here in Bergen and the fact that I own a garage where I can build up the workshop just the way I like plays a big role in the decision that has been taken even though it means splitting the family and adding extra costs that we where not expecting at the moment.
Good Old Company is moving to Iceland
In the up coming weeks until we load up the motorhome and move we will be promoting some specialities in hope to be able to finance the move of the company, me and the dogs to Iceland. So check in now and then and follow us on facebook and other social media to see what we have to offer and support the growth of the company.
Stay fresh, stay happy and dare to be different.