New man in pole position at Brav

Espen Engelstad_Brav- fotograf Sveinung Bråthen web

With the pandemic and times that are nothing like anything we have previously experienced, much has changed since Espen Falck Engelstad took over as the CEO of Brav at the start of last month. Ferd Magazine visited him after he had only been in the role for a few days. The thoughts he shared with the magazine are nonetheless still relevant - once things return to something approaching normality.


Photo: Sveinung Bråthen

Working from the company’s head office in Oslo, Brav’s new CEO is responsible for Swix, Ulvang and a range of other well-known brands – and also for managing what he describes as an important part of Norway’s cultural heritage.

Proud and humble
“Over the course of the days that I have worked here, I have seen that my new colleagues are proud of the company. And I think they have good reason to be. Brav has a portfolio of great products, and as a house of brands it has extensive experience and strong expertise in product development. I have taken on the role of leading this organisation with respect and humility,” comments Espen Engelstad in an interview with Ferd Magazine. He also emphasises that he thinks there is great potential for Brav going forward, even if coronavirus and the associated problems faced by Norwegian sports shops will mean difficult times over the short term.

“But the world is changing rapidly and we need to adapt and to innovate. This applies not only to our products but also to how we market and sell them”, he explains. He adds that one of the various implications of this is adapting to the radical changes taking place in people’s values, with sustainability becoming an increasingly strong concern.

Connection to nature
“What unites Brav’s products is that they all have a connection to nature. Nature plays a key role in our lives. Our customers use nature, and they are committed to taking care of it. This creates both obligations and opportunities”, explains Espen Engelstad. He thinks that Brav needs to be a driver for the sustainable development of the sports industry and to set requirements not only for itself but also for its suppliers, material manufacturers, factories and delivery chains. And its products need to be made more readily repairable.

Espen Engelstad is also committed to adapting Brav to new patterns of trade. Sports shops will continue to be an important sales channel, but online shopping is a mega trend, and Brav’s own online shops need to make a big leap forward. It is too early to say whether it will be appropriate for Blåswixbutikken, Brav’s own branded store in Lillehammer, to be joined by other similar stores in other locations – a thoroughly considered strategy first needs to be drawn up.

“At the same time, we need to keep in mind that Brav is an international group with a strong position in numerous countries. I would therefore not be surprised if our next store equivalent to Blåswixbutikken is located somewhere other than in Norway”, comments Espen Engelstad.

Read the whole article in Ferd magazine (only in Norwegian).

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