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Thursday, 16 April 2009

finaw.jpgAs a yeti I walk into the beautiful university building of Oslo's business school. It's 8.30 and I'm meeting Eivind Ødegard of Fin that just received the prestigious Nåløyet award. 'Doesn't matter you look like you just survived a snow storm including red nose, messy hair and boots that leave a muddy trace, you're meeting with a girl, she'll understand', I tell myself. 'You must be Kim', I turn around and see a tall and attractive guy with brown curly hair smiling at me. Eivind?

Over coffee he tells me about how FIN started. That they are a group of five covering everything from design to resourcing fabrics to marketing and selling. ' I know we're in a luxurious position since most eco brands consist of maybe two people doing all this work. We have an investor who believes in our concept and allows us to work fulltime for Fin. 'We need to be on our own feet in 2011, but that will happen', he adds firmly.

'What are your biggest challenges creating Fin?' one of the students asks later on. To get everything right as we envisage it to be. We're very ambitious but in the fashion supply chain, there are so many different stakeholders that all have their own world to take care of. When you want to raise the wage of some of your workers, it might cause riots amongst other workers working in the same factory. You need to be careful and listen very well to the people you work with. It's a bumpy road to create sustainable fashion, but incredibly rewarding'.

'Why don't you market your brand as being an eco brand?' 'Fin is about fashion: the people that buy our clothes appreciate the design and consider the eco aspect as added value. Soon we will open a concept store in Oslo that turns into an oyster bar at night. This way we will attract people to FIN that will first discover the lifestyle and then the fact that we're sustainable'.

'But are you a sustainable entrepreneur?' 'We started a fashion brand in a way that I believe everyone should consider business nowadays. But I wish that within ten years we won't need the word 'sustainable' in front of entrepreneurship anymore. Let's hope that by then, it's a normal way of doing business'.

There is only one way to thank Eivind: Swiss chocolate and a big hug!

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