Building experiences for extreme customers
Helly Hansen knows how to weather a storm. Established in 1877, the brand was born when a Norwegian sea captain, Helly Juell Hansen, needed a better way to protect himself from the freezing wind and waves of Scandinavia. Captain Hansen and his wife Margrethe launched a business producing waterproof oilskin jackets, trousers, and tarpaulins made from coarse linen soaked in linseed oil. In 1878, they won their first product award at the World Expo in Paris. Over 140 years later, Helly Hansen gear is trusted by sailors on each of the five oceans, worn by explorers climbing the tallest mountains, and workers on job sites around the world. Over time, the brand has grown into a fashion icon, but Helly Hansen is best-known as a pioneer.
“We have a long history of first-to-markets,” says Chris Hammond, Chief Digital Officer of Helly Hansen. Hammond is responsible for transforming the brand into a data-driven, consumer-obsessed business that enables its disciples to feel alive — and stay alive — in the great outdoors. “We were the first-to-market with a technical base layer, the first to market with Propile™ knit, the list goes on,” he says. (Propile™ is a superior type of fleece). In 2016, British-born Hammond, who can usually be found exploring Norway’s mountains and fjords, joined Helly Hansen at the start of yet another pioneering project—a new e-commerce platform. “We started our digital strategy back in 2016 by re-platforming onto Adobe Commerce,” he recalls. “We were the first ever customer to do it. I joined the company the week we went live and we locked ourselves in a room for three months, going to bed at 3 a.m., and getting back into work at 6 a.m.”