Ok so, it’s Monday, it’s been HOT and the ol’ iPhone weather forecast say 25 degrees all week here in England! Now that’s a top start, as it is, HOWEVER right now we are just about to make it better…
This evening’s ‘The Brand…’ feature focuses on a team of thread enthusiasts, based over in Norway, led by Owner & Founder Jens Olav Dankertsen.
Livid are fast gaining momentum in the denim world. This has been the case for a few years now as, the IG denim community gets closer and the denim world becomes smaller, we are seeing Livid products pop up more and more each week and not without good reason.
Jens is an artist, designer, tailor and puts all his efforts into creating collections that draws inspiration from the classic but also carries that inspiration over into the contemporary.
Jens is a also a keen retailer and purposely focuses on creating outlets with a difference. Now I could keep going but that would only spoil Jens’s well thought out answers, and we wouldn’t want to do that, so it’s time to hand the mic to the man himself.
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Livid start out? (For people that don’t already know)
Livid first started out as a dream I shared with three other colleagues of mine back in 2010. We’d been working in a retail store selling denim for quite some time, and had a dream of creating a denim-focused brand, built on own principles, – whatever those were. We didn’t know much about making jeans, constructing patterns or even running a company so a lot happened to the company structure within the first couple of months. Not long after we established, my friends turned their heads to other professions and a while after, I was making jeans.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
As a small company, there is always too much to do and too little capacity. So it demands that every position holds more than one main work task. So, one day to another is very very different. Which sometimes is great, and other times not that great. Daily routine sounds like something nice to have, especially when you don’t have it. I start my day as early as I can, all depending on how long I’ve been at work the day before. Usually at 8am. The day starts with a warm cup of coffee, and going through all of my emails, catching up with our team and learning how everyone’s day is going to be. After that I head over to my to-do list, which I’m working through from top to bottom, trying not to jump over any of the to-do’s that’s less fun than others. In general on a daily basis my responsibility, besides daily management, is design, sales, brand-development and marketing. My workdays are pretty long and usually I work way past the afternoons.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? And why do you think this is?
It depends to which market, but in total quantities it is the Jone Japan Worn Indigo, Edvard Dry Comfort Selvage and Edvard Japan Black Comfort. I think these three are outstanding simply because they’re made in a comfort stretch and have a slim silhouette which is dominating the Scandinavian market at the moment. But, for all of our business outside of Norway and even in our own brick and mortar it is the Jone Japan Dry Selvage and the Japan Black Selvage. These are performing very well. I think that is because denim-orientated shops that are specialized in raw denim carry them. It is much easier to move a product like this if you’re into it yourself, and maybe more importantly, you know how it’ll evolve through time and are able to communicate this in a good way to your customer. With that being said, to the majority of the market, a rigid mid-weight dry denim is still a difficult product for many shops, epecially to move in bigger quantities.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
Right now it is the Tue Straight Japan Dry Heavy Selvage. This particular garment is made in our factory in Norway from a deep dark indigo dyed 18 Oz rigid selvage fabric from the renowned Japanese fabric mill, Nihon Menpu. Other than that I love a cuffed Tue Tapered for spring. We just introduced this model to our line in three fabric choices from Kuroki, Japan.
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
Well, first of all I think it is extremely interesting how they’re connecting with their followers. Every brand always tries to communicate on a personal level like this, but it’s extremely hard to keep up the engagement. Even though how great the content is, people are still recognizing that it is a company telling stories and not a “real” person, so the first assumption is firstly on a B to C level. The difference and how they are managing such a good continuity in their speech is that they don’t have any other agenda than to communicate their own genuine interest and passion, and you as a follower are never obligated to buy anything.
In addition to that, I am really happy about it. A lot of these guys don’t make any money doing this, and they are not obligated and – I believe – will not communicate any false information or reviews of products even if they get products sponsored or not. They always remain true to their followers, and because of that a product will be reviewed honestly. Good or bad.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
After selvedge denim had it’s peak a couple of years ago it has been kind of quiet on the denim front, but it seems that just in the last six months that there is a growing scene of influencers all around the world. And they are all speaking with each other. It is not just a scene, but it’s a community almost. Everyone is talking to each other, and we as a brand are also welcomed to participate in some sense. And what I really like about it, is that they’re not necessarily asking around for sponsored products because they’re able to influence sales. They buy the products themselves because they genuinely like them, also probably because to them, it isn’t a self-boosting platform with lots of followers, travels, drinks and free accessories. It is real people talking to real people about mutual interests.
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
Hmm that is a good question. I follow a lot of people and brands within very different segments. Especially, I am very into interior design and, maybe especially, unique retail stores that have been able to remove themselves from an ordinary retail environment. Just to mention a few, I really like the feed of @ornhansen because of their beautiful aesthetics, @hansjellema because I love the tone in his photographs and because he captures Livid in such a good sense, @railcarfinegoods, @companiondenim and @ben_viapiana because they’re such an inspiration and some of the best in the industry.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
Before I started Livid I spent all of my time either outside skateboarding or inside making music. When I started this venture, I actually sold everything to be able to buy my first sewing machines and a couple of selvage rolls on ebay. Since then, sadly, I haven’t been able to get back on the board or playing music. But, that’s kind of the milestone here. When I can afford a new guitar and have time enough to go skateboarding again, I’ve made it. It sounds a bit sad, but honestly it’s not. I’ve just traded away one passion with another. And all three of them gives me just as much as the other. Besides Livid, I love reading books about business culture, archetypes, marketing, and other aspects that keeps me on top of my game.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
I’ve always been obsessed with making things. And Livid is kind of the ultimate creation to me. We believe we’re not only making products, on a daily basis we create workculture, jobs, relationships, value, community and so much more. On top of that, our path isn’t immovable in any sense, so basically we can do whatever we want. It is totally up to us to determine how our future is going to be like. I always say to my team that there isn’t ever any limits to what we can do or any guidelines as to how we should do things. So don’t ever let anything hold you back.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
What would they be? And Why?
Firstly I would bring a handsewn natural veg tan leather tote from Essential Articles. A beautiful tote completely handsewn in Oslo made from a vegetable tanned leather that would look fantastic after spending some time in the sun. Secondly, I would bring a pair of Tue Straight Japan Sky Selvage, which is a new item that we’re adding to our FW17 collection in August. This is a pre-washed 13 Oz selvage fabric from Kurabo in a straight legged loose fit that’s great for summer. Third, I would bring a basic white t-shirt preferably from Livid. And to complete the outfit I would bring the Yuketen Arizonian strap sandal made from vegetable tanned leather. The drink would have to be a cold Hoppy Lager from Trondheim based craft beer maker, Austmann. Just because it’s the best!
Jens, thank you very much for your time sir. It’s been a pleasure.
It’s no surprise Livid are fast moving in the right direction as they continue to establish themselves in the denim world as a top brand that defines itself by the timeless pieces it creates.
Livid have an outlet that folks can visit in Trondheim. DENIM, RED WINGS and VINTAGE…sounds like the perfect store to me Jens. I hope we can meet for a beer one day over in your neck of the woods.
I’m going to personally make sure we hear a lot more from Livid here @clobbercalm as it’s such a great story.
However, moving on we have a lot happening over the next few months including a 10@10 with denim expert Wouter from @longjohn_denimblog that’s packed with denim multivitamins!
It’s also Threads & Fades time again on Saturday amongst other things coming up. It’s going to be a busy, busy time @clobbercalm HQ!
Have a top week folks! Stay close.