In 2020, Northern Playground made a profit for the first time. For the first time, we can pay out paychecks without external financing. This is very redemptive and we have definitely celebrated!
It may be obvious, but companies must make a profit to survive in the long run. Preferably a solid profit. As a commercial company that is financed by private capital, we must deliver solid economic results to be in a position to change the world.
About 10 years ago, I got "hooked" on the entrepreneur life through the company Evacuaid. I ran the company with Kolonial/Oda leader Karl Munthe Kaas and Nyby entrepreneur Fredrik Gulowsen. While Karl is selling for millions, and Fredrik is being interviewed on national television, there is one thing I have managed before them: profit. Suck on that, boys :)
The numbers of 2020: Turnover – 11.4 MNOK. Profit – 400.000 NOK. Growth – 42%.
2. New business model
The pandemic may have been a bit of a blessing to us and everyone else selling outdoor gear. But we believe that the most important thing for our positive 2020 was our radical change of direction. During the last year we changed our entire business model. We have finally become that pebble in the shoe of the clothing industry that we have always wanted to be. The company that tells it like it is: That less consumption is the only thing that can create true sustainability. Not only do we say it, but we have also built up a business model around creating less consumption. It is scary, it is fun and it is something we are very proud of.
With growth comes the need for more hands on deck. I have spent the last fall and winter finding the right people. Now there are six of us working full time. New employees are:
- Create lead: Kristoffer
- Store and customer service manager: Frida
- Lead designer: Jorunn
These days we are hiring number 7, and this fall I will probably go out and find another 2-3 people. Tiring? Yes, but creating good job opportunities is also very satisfying. Out of our existing employees, Anine is following her dream and starting her own company, Camilla has bought her first apartment and Marita is having her first child this fall. It is an amazing feeling knowing that Northern Playground is helping create the opportunitites and lives. But the coolest part is that there are so many of us pulling in the same direction. We are a group of crazy ambitious people wanting to create a positive change.
4. New life
Life as a Northern Playground entrepreneur has taken a 180. I remember the years where everything that wasn't work was hard to concentrate on. I couldn't think about the weekend until 5 o'clock on Friday. And many weekends were spent at the office cleaning up messes. I still think it's strange and extremely nice to have a stable paycheck, have energy to think about my next ski trip and know that I can go on a spontainious trip to the mountains without it affecting the company.
5. A dance on roses?
Too good to be true? Probably – we still have enough to do. I don't even want to talk about Corona, but I can't ignore the fact that a closed shop for months isn't great for business. When it comes to production, things are even worse. Our main manufacturer was hit hard with illness this winter, and materials are delayed from all over the world. This will affect us with delays for the rest of the year. And my arms are still sore from that nice little tendinitis...
The board has had a big question this winter: Should we continue growing slowly but surely, or should we go for it and raise more capital? I won't go into all the details of this discussion, but the conclusion might be interesting. We are sure that we can't reach our vision by staying small. To change the industry and to change people's habits, we need to be seen and heard by many people.
This gives us tons of energy, and makes it worth it to get some fresh capital. We will be raising a considerable sum this fall from one or more people or companies that believe in the vision and are in it for the long haul.
Those of you that cheer us on and are fans are very imporant to us. I really appreciate you tuning in.
Have a great summer, and remember – you only need two shirts for the entire holiday 😉