How it all began…
“I kept choosing that same bodysuit, again and again. No matter what we were doing, that blue-stripe bodysuit made my baby stand out from all the others. What’s more, I loved the way it fitted properly, however I held him. I had to keep adjusting all his other clothes from other brands.”
Fifteen years later, Jo Nilsson and her Swedish husband Mats run 17 Polarn O. Pyret stores as a Master Franchise in the UK and Ireland. All because of a top that Mats' mother gave their newborn son.
“One day, I was sitting at the playground thinking about why I liked them so much. I looked at my kids as they played and saw how their clothes fitted them better and gave them such great freedom of movement. It had something to do with the cut, especially the shoulders and sleeves. The colours were brighter and the prints more appealing. And no matter how often I washed them, they kept their shape and didn’t fade. I spoke with Mats, who had grown up wearing the clothes. We were confident that British parents would love the quality too.”
Swedish stripes – fun to see and brilliant quality
Mats liked the idea and it didn’t take long before he left his management consultant career to ‘bring this Swedish national treasure to the UK', and he’s never regretted switching a suit for jeans as Managing Director of PO.P in the UK.
Important all-weather values
"Although we’re delighted it’s such a success, I’m most grateful for the opportunity to work with a brand that I can support 100%", says Jo. “Our children have had a very Swedish upbringing in the sense they have been very outdoorsy and adventurous. I love the fact that ‘let children be children’ is such an integral part of the Polarn O. Pyret philosophy".
Polarn O. Pyret in the UK - A brief history
- 26th March 2006 – Our first garment was sold in the UK in our first concession in House of Fraser, Chapelfield centre, Norwich. That store celebrates it's 10th birthday this year
- By the end of 2006 we opened 2 more concessions (Manchester & Dublin) and our first solus store in Windsor
- Fast forward 3 years to 2009 and another 8 stores and concessions were opened including our store in Westfield Shopping Centre, London
- Sales increased year on year, as parents loved the quality and functionality of PO.P childrenswear
- In 2011 we launched our own website, bringing the whole of the UK & Ireland but a few clicks away from our super stripy brand
- We also opened a new store in Westfield Stratford City, the brand new shopping centre built in time for London’s 2012 Olympic games
- In 2013 we opened another concession in Fenwick Brent Cross department store, and we launched a range with John Lewis online
- In 2014 we opened two more concessions in Fenwick Newcastle & Fenwick Kingston
- 2014 ended on a high with HRH Prince George wearing PO.P in his first official Christmas pictures
- 2015 was a successful year for us! We invested in a shiny new website (yippee!), we became the largest E-commerce market by volume of sales amongst the Polarn O. Pyret franchises, and the 3rd largest childrenswear supplier for the John Lewis Partnership online