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A family are walking in the forest with their dog

Tretorn’s outdoor apparel is trekking to markets beyond Scandinavia

There are few Skåne-based brands as old as Tretorn. Even fewer are as iconic throughout Scandinavia, where countless consumers rely on the company's line of waterproof boots, rain gear, and more to keep them warm and dry. Yet Tretorn’s outdoor apparel hasn’t had the same level of success in other markets. The company is starting to change that, though, with some help from Invest in Skåne. 

“We’re a really strong brand in the Scandinavian market,” says Amanda Bergqvist, Strategic Account Manager for Tretorn. “I think most people, when they’re from here, know the brand. But I think we’ve still got lots to do on the export side, and we’ve only just scratched the surface.”

A company that goes way back 

Tretorn began more than 130 years ago in Skåne’s coastal city of Helsingborg. The original company manufactured rubber galoshes designed to protect shoes from being damaged in the feet of farmers from the notoriously cold and wet winters. It soon expanded its production to rubber-soled sneakers, tennis balls, and rubber boots. 

Tretorn grew throughout the 20th century, making a name for itself in the worlds of fashion and tennis, as well as with outdoor and boating enthusiasts. Along the way, it changed owners (more than once) and expanded its product lines to include outerwear and accessories.  

Today, Tretorn is part of a big international business group and is organised into two halves: sport and outdoor. The outdoor product lines have traditionally performed best in the Scandinavian markets and continue to do so. Sales in Nordic countries have seen particularly strong growth over the last two years. The company aims to continue that trend in other countries in Europe, especially the UK and Germany.

"They know a lot of people."

According to Bergqvist, whose role focuses mainly on the export of outdoor products, potential distributors outside Scandinavia are usually eager for partnerships after learning about Tretorn. 

“The difficulty is not getting them up and running,” she explains. “Most people love the brand, and they love the story and the products and everything. The issue is finding the right person who I should talk to.”  

As a subsidiary of a global brand management company, Tretorn has access to fantastic resources and connections that can help it enter new markets. Despite that, Bergqvist still reached out to Invest in Skåne as soon as she started working at Tretorn in 2021.

Amanda Bergqvist_Tretorn

“I contacted Invest in Skåne right away when I got here, and I was like, ‘Do you have any connections?” Bergqvist recalls. “Because they know a lot of people.”

How Invest in Skåne helped

Bergqvist had worked with Invest in Skåne in a previous job. She knew that the agency could supplement the assets Tretorn already had for one of the most difficult challenges in the export business: finding the right contacts to establish international sales channels.

“In terms of growth," Bergqvist says, "if you reach out to a hundred contacts, you might get one or two."

So Invest in Skåne’s partner search services was an ideal addition to the pool of resources that Tretorn could draw from for its own outreach. 

"They're really good at finding contacts," says Bergqvist, who explains that one early lead she was given by the agency developed a serious connection. Through its international network, Invest in Skåne was able to connect Bergqvist with a distributor in Germany that is now a valuable new account.

However, Tretorn received support services for growing its international sales in large part because it had already established an infrastructure for selling products in other countries. 

According to Andrea Kviecinska, Business Development Manager at Invest in Skåne, the ideal companies should have (among other things) a proven product or service that sells, a well-functioning supply chain, and active strategies attempting to reach international markets. 

"It’s necessary for the companies to not only have their own outreach efforts but also an organisational foundation or framework to support sales,” explains Kviecinska. “They need to be ready to move into the markets before we can help them.”