Author:
Eva Doll

Origins of Brand Names, Part 2: Arc'teryx, Berghaus, Houdini, Kari Traa, Maloja, Vaude

How Houdini, Arc'teryx & Co. Got Their Brand Names

What do a primeval animal, a magician or a small Swiss region have to do with companies in the sports industry? A lot more than you think. In part 2 of the series, ISPO.com explores the origins of the brand names Arc'teryx, Berghaus, Houdini, Kari Traa, Maloja and Vaude. Find Part 1 here with the heritage of brand names like Salewa, Fjällräven and Leki.

Founder Lotta Giornofelice and one of the first Houdini trade fair booths.
Founder Lotta Giornofelice and one of the first Houdini trade fair booths.

Houdini: Dangerous Climbing and Magic

The Swedish clothing brand Houdini with its headquarters in Stockholm, owes its name to a mountaineering experience of the founder Lotta Giornofelice at the end of the 80s: Lotta was at that time a climbing and freeriding instructor worldwide. During a climb in Chamonix, Lotta's crew came into a dangerous situation. Someone shouted, "Houdini, protect me," to invoke the power of the well-known magician. The phrase became a classic in Lotta's crew and gave Lotta's clothing brand its name.

Origin of the brand foundation in 1993: Lotta missed clothing for activities such as climbing or ski touring. Today Houdini is a grown brand under the management of Eva Karlsson.

You can find Houdini at the ISPO Munich 2020 in Hall A3, Booth 308.

Arc'teryx: A Primeval Bird as Symbol for Progress

Arc'teryx is named after the first prehistoric reptile that developed feathers for flying: the Archaeopteryx Lithographica. The Canadian company based in North Vancouver originally started in 1989 as a climbing harness manufacturer under the name "Rock Solid". In 1998 the founders Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard renamed the brand in Arc'teryx. For them, the name better reflects the approach of their drive: to produce innovation.

The Vapor Harness was the first groundbreaking Arc'teryx product - then the first three-dimensional climbing harness. Today Arc'teryx is well known for innovative ideas and technologies implemented in their clean outdoor products, functional clothing and accessories. Arc'teryx is part of Amer Sports, a daughter of Anta Sports.

You can find Arc'teryx at the ISPO Munich 2020 in Hall A3, Booth 306.

The prehistoric archaeopteryx can be found in the Arc'teryx logo.
The prehistoric archaeopteryx can be found in the Arc'teryx logo.

Kari Traa: From Gold Medal to an Own Women's Brand

Kari Traa bears the name of the founder Kari Traa - world-class freestyle skier and Olympic champion. The Norwegian founded the sportswear brand in 2002 because she could not find any products in the sports world that were specifically made for the needs of women. She took the matter into her own hands - literally: for she knitted caps, adapted her equipment and gave them colour and uniqueness.

Her designs quickly became famous and so came the decision to turn the hobby to a profession by founding her own company: Kari Traa. Shortly afterwards, inspired by the traditional wall patterns of her homeland, she designed her first baselayer pattern. Today Kari Traa is one of the fastest growing women's labels in Europe.

You can find Kari Traa at the ISPO Munich 2020 in Hall B4, Booth 302.

Today Kari Traa is a successful entrepreneur.
Today Kari Traa is a successful entrepreneur.

Vaude: A Nickname Becomes a Company Name

Vaude - spoken "fow day" - is the result of the German pronounciation of the initials of company founder Albrecht von Dewitz. Vaude is also von Dewitz' youth nickname, under which he founded his brand in 1974. He started selling mountaineering equipment and producing his own backpacks.

Step by step, the portfolio was expanded to include tents, sleeping bags, clothing, panniers and shoes. Since 2009, the 100 percent family-owned outdoor company based in Tettnang has been managed by his daughter Antje von Dewitz. Vaude's corporate strategy pursues sustainability with high ecological and social standards.

You can find Vaude at the ISPO Munich 2020 in Hall A1, Booth 406.

Maloja: When a Place Becomes a Catch Phrase

Maloja - is named after the tranquil mountain region of Maloja in the Engadine. There Peter Räuber had incredible powder days with his friends.  The memory of these moments remained unique for them. Maloja became their dictum and describes this attitude to life: regardless of space, season or age. All that was special was "maloja". 

You can find Maloja at the ISPO Munich 2020 in Hall A2, Booth 402.

When Peter Räuber and Klaus Haas founded a sports brand together in 2004, it was clear which name they would choose and what feeling should be reflected. Already with the 2nd collection Maloja won the ISPO Brandnew Award and continued to develop. Today, the Chiemgau sports and streetwear brand is firmly anchored in the industry.

You will find Maloja at the ISPO Munich 2020 in hall A2, booth 402.

Klaus Haas and Peter Räuber, the founders of Maloja.
Klaus Haas and Peter Räuber, the founders of Maloja.

Berghaus: An English Brand With a German Name

Berghaus is the approximate German translation of the outdoor store "LD Mountain Center", which opened in 1966 in the northeast of England. The shop owners Peter Lockey and Gordon Davison also sold outdoor products from other parts of Europe. This part of their business was still looking for a name. Since many of the best outdoor products came from Germany and Austria at that time, they translated their shop name for their sales branch pragmatically and very loosely into German:  Berghaus - this should give additional credibility.

From 1972 the two outdoor enthusiasts produced their own equipment under that label The first Berghaus product: a lightweight tent. In 1974 Berghaus further strengthened its reputation on the market with the introduction of the large-volume, innovative Cyclops backpack. Since 1993, the outdoor outfitter has belonged to the Pentland.

The LD Mountain Center in Newcastle's Dean Street, birthplace of Berghaus.
The LD Mountain Center in Newcastle's Dean Street, birthplace of Berghaus.
Author:
Eva Doll
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