Svein-Erik Helle and Jan Steffen Helle renew 87-year-old heritage knife brand.
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Svein-Erik and Jan Steffen. Photo: Stine Bøthun.
Helle has built its legacy of handcrafted, Nordic style knives on stubborn determination and a refusal to compromise. These principles continue to shape the evolution of the brand as third generation owners, Svein-Erik and Jan Steffen Helle, take the lead at the 87-year-old knife maker.
Since 1932 Helle has created knives for international markets from the small village of Holmedal, on the west coast of Norway. For generations this has been achieved through hard work and by harnessing the distinct qualities, lifestyle and identity of Holmedal. Like his grandfather and Helle co-founder, Sigmund Helle, Jan Steffen assumes the role of Production Manager. Jan has worked with metals his entire life. He spent the past five years getting to know every step of the intricate process that goes into making each Helle knife.
Jan Steffen takes charge of the production.
“The most exciting thing about working at Helle is being involved in so many processes to create a finished knife,” explains Jan Steffen Helle. “The machinery has lived a long, distinguished life, and over the years has passed through the hands of many skilled craftsmen. This is the heart and soul of Helle knife making. We’ll continue to nurture that tradition, rather than replace it with something else.”
As with his father and grandfather before him, Svein-Erik assumes the role of Managing Director. Svein-Erik grew up with the Helle factory as an important part of his family, but never felt destined to work there. “I did not recognize just how special the company was until I left home and came back ten years later,” he says.
Svein-Erik at work with marketing director Anders.
“I enjoy working with people on a global scale, but at first that didn’t come to mind when thinking about a knife factory in rural Norway,” he explains. “Today Helle is a world-renowned brand precisely because of its location and people. It enables us to handcraft knives with a clear identity and sense of quality. I treasure the opportunity to nurture and strengthen that legacy.”
As part of its legacy, the Helle brand and products remain steadfast even in times of change. Former owner and Managing Director, Torodd Helle will continue to support the brand and new ownership in an advisory role. In keeping with tradition, the skill and experience behind the brand is passed on to the next generation.
The Helle management team: Solbjørg (logistics), Anders, Jan-Steffen, Svein-Erik and Torodd. Photo: Stine Bøthun.
With the next generation of ownership, Helle of Norway enters exciting times with expanding markets, exciting new product launches and innovation. These changes will be introduced gradually, based on Helle’s strong foundation in the past, place, people and production. The evolution at Helle will continue in the same tradition that has shaped the brand of quality, identity and individuality.
Stay tuned for new products and company announcements.