A man for his knife
The 2020 limited edition knife captures the essence of Helle today: new and playful designs firmly rooted in functional Scandinavian knife tradition. In this sense Torodd the knife captures much of what has been Torodd Helle’s vision for the family company.
"I don't really feel like there is a need to honor me with a knife." Torodd looks awkwardly down at his skis. "There are people before who have done more." The start of any conversation with Torodd about the 2020 limited edition knife in his honor always starts like this. And it is true of course. This is also why the 2020 limited edition knife is modeled on the Sigmund, but takes it a step further. It has the same size and traditional print, but the details and colors are different. ”When I took over at Helle I knew our strengths were the products we had. We just had to make them better known and more relevant," says Torodd.
Torodd Helle is the last of the second generation of Helle’s active in the business. The son of founder Sigmund, Torodd started in the company after finishing business school in 1980, and therefore celebrates 40 years with the company this year. For the first 25 years he was the Financial Director, while the past 15 he spent as Managing Director. During these years he travelled the world with Helle knives in his bag, and as ”Mr. Helle” became an important part of the image of the company outside of Norway.
The second (Torodd) and second third (Svein-Erik and Jan Steffen) generation at Helle.
While he formally retired and passed down responsibilities to the third generation in 2019, Torodd remains deeply committed to Helle and actively pushes it forward. ”My history with Helle has been the same as others before me – full of highs and lows” says Torodd. ”But it has mostly been fun. We have prospered through a stubborn determination to make proper knives. This stubbornness and quality focus is something that I think will be passed down to the next generation.”
Torodd holding Torodd
The Torodd limited edition knife honors this stubbornness and forward momentum, which Torodd the person put to good use even before starting his career at Helle. It is of course no coincidence that the knife is modeled on his father’s namesake, or that it carries his well-known signature. But the green leather spacers and stitching is not just a homage to the Helle Green, but also to Torodd's football (soccer) career. His talent was clear at an early age – he played in the green jerseys of Holmedal in the most talented boys team ever produced in the village. And he would later play the Norwegian cup final with Norwegian minnows Sogndal. ”Football was an important part of my youth,” says Torodd and cracks a smile. ”I have always been very competitive. This has come in handy in business as well.”
Torodd (third from right in back row) and the Sogndal cup final team
What Torodd appreciates most about Holmedal today though, is the closeness to nature. “It is great to be able to walk out your front door, walk straight up a few hills and be surrounded by the forest.” Torodd, who resides on the family farm in Myra where Helle started, also likes skiing in the local mountains and traveling. “One of the best things about my work for Helle has been traveling to see new places and people. Preferably both,” Torodd says. “People connect emotionally with our products. That is a quality not all products have, and something that is quite special to see. That is what I will miss the most.” Torodd looks at the knife and seems quietly pleased with the result. “I hope people feel a connection to this knife too.”
Torodd where he feels at home - skiing in the mountains surrounding Holmedal.
The 2020 Helle limited edition knives thus honors both the efforts and achievements of the 2nd generation at Helle. And it does so in a way that is both functional and beautiful – precisely the way that it has been since 1932, and Torodd wants it to remain.