Company name: Norwegian Wool
CEO and founder Michael Berkowitz shared the story behind Norwegian Wool, a company that sells stylish waterproof wool topcoats for men.
The picture above demonstrates one of our most important features: Our coats are truly waterproof. You can see how moisture beads up and shakes off instead of soaking the material, so you never have to put on a damp coat in the afternoon after it got drenched earlier in some freezing rain or snow. The material allows you to stay warm and dry, even on the coldest, windiest, slushiest days without compromising on a professional, stylish and tailored look.
Before I started Norwegian Wool, I worked in finance and I always had to dress in a respectable, sophisticated and neat fashion. I was constantly meeting with investors, attending business lunches and even internal dinner meetings with the bosses, and wanted to be taken seriously. This was fine until winter rolled around and I was faced with either wearing a classy wool or cashmere coat that looked sharp but was worthless against the cold, wind and snow, or wearing a big bulky puffer jacket that was actually warm but looked silly. I hated being cold, but looking unprofessional in a puffer coat was not an option for me.
After realizing that countless other professionals, regardless of their sector or position, also hated having to choose between style and function, I designed a hybrid coat which was wool on the outside but had a full down lining like a puffer coat, making it extra warm.
Creating a start-up is never easy. I did not have any background in design and had no connections in the garment industry, so I had to align myself with some really knowledgeable and helpful people. We now partner with designers in Norway who appreciate both style and cold weather — I was once out in Oslo for a business meeting and appreciated how the locals were dressed to the nines even though it was absolutely frigid outside.
Going forward, the two main challenges for us are to continue to innovate new products that are truly in demand by business professionals and to spread the word about our brand so that customers who are seeking these solutions, know where to find them. We also plan to expand into accessories, general apparel and eventually women's wear, all while staying true to our mission, which is to merge fashion and function.