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Sandnes has a tradition of being an industrial town. SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK, which was established in 1888, has been a corner stone business since its conception. The business has meant a great deal for the towns development, especially as it had local private ownership. In 1995 SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK was acquired by SAGATEX and in 2000 was bought back by local owners once more.
Early in 1888, a group of leaders from Sandnes came together and began planning a yarn factory. The plant would be located near the coastal center of Sandnes.
SANDNES GARN AS was established under the name of SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK in 1888, and is one of the oldest factories in Norway that still produce yarn.
1889; The first buildings.
Plans to build a factory near the waterfront were put to life. 1889 was the first year of production and sales.
1888-1915; The first employees.
At the height of employment 500 people worked in the factory. The first dye house manager Johan Ludvigsen, worked in the factory from 1888 to 1915. His recipes were kept so secret that not even employees in the dye house were able to see them.
1905-1915; Growth and profiling.
This was a period of growth, promotion and optimistic leadership. In 1910 it was decided to expand the factory.
1932; New machines.
To the pride of the company the first combing machines were purchased and placed into production.
1945-1962; Optimism and development.
In 1946 a fire broke out in the factory but with resilience of the workers the company’s profit for this year was still positive.
In 1952 “Marius-sweater” is launched. The design is still very popular, and it is SANDNES GARNS best-selling design ever. Marius-sweater received the name as it was knitted for the alpine skier and world champion Stein Eriksen’s brother Marius. Marius Eriksen was even depicted on the original recipe. Marius-sweater has since been the symbol of Norwegian ski and outdoor living. SANDNES GARN maintains ownership rights for the “Marius” knitting recipe still to this day.
In 1954 the knitting club “StrikkEss” started. This was a huge success with more than 50,000 members receiving knitting magazines, recipes and news in each quarter year.
1964-1974; Golden years.
Up to the 1970s SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK had very good results, but as the wool prices started to rise significantly in the 70s the factory hit difficult times. SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK then merged with Sandnes worsted spinning mill retaining both brand names.
1975-1986; Fire and new building.
The merger of SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK and Sandnes worsted spinning mill was a success. The firm was one of the market leaders in Norway of hand knitting yarns, also exporting to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Japan.
Monday, 21 August 1978 the factory in central Sandnes burnt down and because the old building was not adapted into a modern spinning mill, a new factory was built at Foss-Eikeland, located just outside Sandnes. In 1980 all employees moved into the new premises with new and modern equipment. The factory has continued at Foss Eikeland thereafter.
2000; New owners.
In 2000 the company had new local owners, the principle owner being Harald Mjølne. After this a large-scale upgrade of all production was initiated from the washing of wool through to winding the balls of finished yarn. Since 2000 the company has invested approximately 105 million NOK in machinery and equipment and is now seen as one of the most modern factories of its kind.
The company changed its name to SANDNES GARN AS.
SANDNES GARN AS changed its business structure by halting production of industrial knitting yarns, opting to focus on full production of hand knitting yarn instead.
SANDNES GARN AS; Today and the future.
SANDNES GARN AS produces both ‘woolen’ and ‘worsted’ yarns.
Norwegian Wool is used mostly in the woolen spun process. The greasy wool is purchased straight from the sheep and is then washed before being carded and spun into threads which in turn are twisted, dyed and wound into knitting balls. Today our largest quality produced in woolen spun is LEISURE YARN.
The raw material for the worsted spun yarn is purchased clean or finished washed and combed. This can be Norwegian wool, as in our PEER quality but most come from Uruguay in South America. The raw material first goes through our drawing equipment (draft) before being spun into thread, then onto hanks before being dyed and then wound into balls. The biggest worsted-qualities are SMART, SISU, PEER and BABYULL, LANETT.
SANDNES GARN AS also supplies alpaca and cotton yarns. These qualities are purchased unprocessed on spools and are then wound to hanks and dyed before being wound to knitting balls at the factory.
Holding Company ‘SANDNES ULDVAREFABRIK AS’ owns 100% of ‘SANDNES GARN AS’ which also owns ‘Skibladner DA’ (building and land) and ‘Nye Strikkedilla AS’ (store in Oslo).
The holding company is owned 10% by ‘Aal AS’, with the remaining 90% owned by Harald Mjølne who is also managing director of ‘SANDNES GARN AS’.
We shall be the leader in the design of hand knitting, we will cover the most important target groups and also tend more towards fashion design. We make knitting patterns sold with our yarns.
Our main profile is through around 25 magazines we publish annually. The magazines must clearly demonstrate our design and inspire.
We will continue production at our premises at Foss-Eikeland, and will give priority to having the most modern equipment available. Plans are to now upgrade the dye house and winding department.
Our sales channels are mainly directly to yarn stores in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. For other countries we sell through wholesalers. We also sell directly to customer via the own online store, but it is not a priority, as we want to support the yarn stores in their position as specialist stores and offer professional knitting help to those who need it.
Our yarn must be based on natural fibers. Earlier Norwegian wool was dominant, but now as a demand for more wool with finer fiber that is also softer and itches’ less.
Our goal is to be able to come close to supplying 100% of our key qualities such as SMART, BABYULL, LANETT, SISU, LEISURE YARN, MANDARIN PETIT and ALPACA. Our strength will be design, quality, and deliverability.
– Established in 1888 in the center of Sandnes.
– Moved in 1980 to Foss-Eikeland in the Sandnes municipality where we still are.
– New owners in 2000.
– Ending of industrial yarn in 2009.
– Was the business of the year in Rogaland in 2014.
– Owners bought land and buildings in 2014.
– Revenues in 2015, 235 million NOK.
– Sold 700 tons of yarn in 2015.
– Export Percentage yarn 20%, the largest export countries being Denmark, Sweden and Iceland.
– Number of employees, 96.
– Adm. Director Harald Mjølne is also the principal owner.
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