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In Conversation with Niklas Oppermann of Carl Friedrik

Founded in London in 2012 by Swedish brothers, Niklas & Mattis Oppermann, Carl Friedrik launched their leather goods business after seeing a gap in the market for competitively priced but high-quality accessories. Today the brand merges its Bauhaus and Scandinavian design inspirations, with smart functionality using traditional techniques and craftsmanship. The core of the brand’s business has been built on always putting their community first; through a personalised approach, product lifetime guarantees and designing what their customers want for their changing lifestyles. Carl Friedrik’s recently launched Creator’s Club (an exclusive innovative beta-style programme to test and try new products) is their newest extension of this ethos. Originally starting as a brand focusing on wholesale, the brothers quickly pivoted to a DTC business model and have seen huge success. In 10 years, the brand has had an entirely organic growth from a £4,000 initial investment and is on track to double its revenue from last year by the end of 2022. The launch of Carl Friedrik’s luggage collection in 2019 has accelerated and expanded the brand’s business further, with revenue growth for their luggage at 261% in just 2 years.

In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interviewed Niklas Oppermann, Co-Founder of Carl Friedrik about the founding story of his leather and travel goods brand which he launched 10 years ago after successfully making a leather laptop sleeve as a present for his brother's birthday. Our host Peter Brooker and Niklas talked about life in London, how they first funded the brand with a small budget, wholesale vs direct-to-consumer sales channels, the inspiration behind the new The Rover Collection, how to join the Creators Club, and what it's like working alongside siblings.

“Carl Friedrik is a leather and travel goods brand. We make basically everything from small leather goods, wallets, and tech accessories to briefcases and luggage. Our aim is to build a big, global luxury brand. We're trying to reimagine what a luxury brand can and should be. And the main thing with that is that we have quite an opinionated and strong focus on intelligent design. We want to offer high quality and be close to our customers. We obsess over serving our customers in the best way. Our design is simple, but we focus on making the right products for the right customers. We think a lot about the way someone will use a certain type of bag and how can we improve on that. And then we ask customers over and over again, what can we do better until we hopefully make things as good as they can be.”

This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 184 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Niklas Oppermann, Co-Founder of luxury leather travel goods brand carlfriedrik.com. You can listen to the full version on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast player.

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