Philosophy

From the start in 1932, Helle knives have been made and sold based on the same set of principles of honesty, hard work and quality. From these principles the Helle philosophy has evolved from the past, place, people and production that is Helle knives.

Past

At Helle we treasure our past, and the many events that have shaped who we are today. From Steinar Helle traveling to America to work in the 1920s but returning to Norway to produce knives as a result of the Great Depression, to historical shifts in sales and production due to increasing prosperity in Norway, Helle has always adapted to these momentous historical changes. Instead of working against history, Helle has prospered and thrived from embracing it.

Steinar and Sigmund Helle

Brothers Steinar and Sigmund at work

This is represented in our knives. Many are based on traditional designs, and we treasure the handmade finishes that have been the hallmark of Helle knives throughout history. At the same time Helle's adaption approach has always been to continuously push ourselves and adapt our traditional designs and methods to new realities. The past is always with us as we embrace the future. 

Classic Helle knives

Classic Helle knife selection

Place

Helle has strong roots. When Steinar and Sigmund returned to Norway, they moved back to the old family farm in Holmedal on the West coast of Norway. They came with a strong desire to create something that could be made therel, yet appeal to international markets. They saw assets in things others saw as menaces. When it rained, which it often does on the West coast of Norway, it was a blessing because the rain generated power to grind knives. Close access to the fjords meant opportunities to bring goods out into world. And when they had to cross the steep Western Norwegian mountains, Steinar used his bicycle to navigate them.

Holmedal bad weather

Holmedal on a typical day.

The connection between the place and products we produce has endured from the start. The fjords, mountains and rugged climate are not an obstacle, but rather an inspiration. The remote location and small community of Holmedal is not a source of limitation, but a source of strength and identity. Each time we send a Helle knife out into the world, we bring a small piece of our heritage along with it.

Holmedal good weather

... but when the blue and green shine through! 

People

As a third generation family business in a small, rural community on the West Coast of Norway, it is not surprising that the people at Helle know each other well. Family tradition is not just at the management level, we have second- and third generation factory workers as well. We treasure our tight-knit community, and that feeling of trust and familiarity transmits to the products we produce. 

Helle workers 1950s

Workers and administration at Helle in 1950s

At the same we are an inclusionary and open family. We have always welcomed people to Holmedal and gone into the world ourselves. By the 1950s and 1960s, we already worked with companies from all over the Western world. Today, our family has truly gone global, as we work with partners worldwide to deliver products from Holmedal to end customers across all continents. We value communicating with our customers directly, and when they share their experiences with our knives we become part of the same community. As our brand ambassadors highlight, the Helle community and people are global.

 The Helle family goes to Canada

Helle people. 

Production

Our past, place and people embody how we produce our knives. From our small, timeless factory in Holmedal we handle each step of the supply chain in our knives and sheaths, from raw materials to marketing and shipping. Just like with our people, the factory is populated with several generations of machinery we treat with the care that their age respects. We tinker, change and adapt our machinery, but rarely replace it. 

Firm, but gentle. 

And, as when we started producing knives in Holmedal nearly 100 years ago, hands still play a major role in production. No two Helle knives are exactly the same because each receive individual treatment by human hands. For us individuality does not come at the expense of quality, but rather enhances it. By finishing each blade individually, we are able to bring out the best of the place, past, people and production facilities at Helle. The way we produce our knives therefore represents the heart and soul of Helle. It is our heritage. 

Machinery with identity.

 

This is just a short introduction to the philosophy of Helle. To read more about its concrete manifestations, please visit the Discover section.