To Swedish workers, the Fristad brand was always a stamp of approval, a symbol for a great tradition of manufacturing durable workwear. In Denmark the Kansas brand was to Danes what the Fristad was to the Swedes. In 1995, the two Scandinavian brands merged together with one clear mission: to dress people for work.
In 1999, the merger of Kansas Workwear and Norwegian Wenaas is completed – and the new group is called Kansas Wenaas Group. Wenaas brings a leading position in the Norwegian work wear market, especially within the offshore industry.
Finally in 2003, having accumulated a wide range of market leading brands, the group became the umbrella name it is today.
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One thing is obvious, this is not about buying up and closing down competition purely for the sake of market domination. As Steen Kock, vice-president of global marketing and innovation once said, “We have teams of experts in every category, striving for innovative improvements in all our products and services – something we can do better than anybody else on the market thanks to the expertise from our many different brands.”
Indeed, innovation is at the best at Fristads Kansas. “We optimized our internal processes, adopted our organization – all to prepare for even closer cooperation with our customers,” said Kock. “And we’re now ready to conquer new parts of the market.”
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Fristads Kansas’ position within workwear is already unrivalled, but thanks to prominent brands like Hejco and Bragard, the company is strong also within the service wear sector – an opportunity that certainly will not go to waste. This section is particularly strong in the service wear sector – clothing for professionals in health care, retail and hotels, restaurants and other service professions, bringing over 75 years of experience and offering everything from ready-to-wear ranges to bespoke solutions.
If quality, expertise and innovation can be said to represent cornerstones in the business, the fourth keyword is sustainability. And in the language of Fristads Kansas, sustainability relates not only to nature and the environment in an ecological sense, but also the working conditions and social concerns.
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There is no such thing as a quick fix; dialogue, accountability, transparency and continuous improvement are non-negotiable prerequisites for all of Fristad Kansas’ partners and stakeholders. These policies cover all parts of the organization, so it is a promise from manufacturer to the workers that these clothes are durable – physically as well as ethically.
The benefits for the customer are unquestionable: the joined-up clothing line is not only bigger, but it offers the best of both worlds; the fusions mean that what used to be several catalogues have now become one, giving a better overview and making comparisons easier.
It takes no genius to detect the unique selling point here: Fristad Kansas Group is simply greater than the sum of its brands.
Fristads Kansas Group is Europe’s largest professional wear group with many leading brands including Fristads Kansas, B&C, Wenaas, and Bragard etc. The group is active in design, production and marketing of professional wear for a variety of end-use segments and has strong market positions, especially in Northern Europe. The annual turnover of the group is around Euro 450 million and the head quarter is based in Borås, Sweden.
Durable Workwear from Strong Scandinavian Brand, written by Tor Kjolberg