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The love of the outdoors as an inspiration

Christer, Jarle, and Didrik started Der/Ute from a small apartment on the second floor of Christer's grandmother's house in 2016.

After spending many years in a suit in the corporate world, we felt the need to do something else. Something that was more inspirational. That led us down the path of starting our own business.

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Starting a business

Their driving force was to start a company where they could focus on things that brought them inspiration, joy, and – perhaps most importantly – the ability to spend more time outdoors.

This was the three’s shared passion: skiing, surfing, skating, snowboarding, and just about anything else you could think of doing outside, and they noticed a glaring lack of product knowledge, customer service, and diversity among existing outdoor gear retailers.

We were constantly annoyed by the lack of service or knowledge we received when we had to buy our own equipment, and it was mostly the same brands that you could buy everywhere.

This led them to the idea of starting up their own business — to compete in this space with the goal of becoming the ultimate outdoor activity shop.

When we started Der/Ute, we didn’t know much about online shopping, had no idea what it would cost to build an online store, and, worst of all, how much time it takes (it's quite expensive, and it takes a LOT of time). We worked extremely hard and invested every penny we had.

The three remained scrappy for quite some time, making do with what they had and learning as they went in order to get off the ground.

In the beginning, our warehouse was basically my grandmother’s old bedroom. Boxes were stacked on top of her bed, and we had to walk up and down worn-out stairs in the hallways just to get to our products. Not to mention packing and sending them!

  • Skiing outdoors
  • Christer Friis
Skiing outdoors
Christer Friis

Despite successes and growth

Even after their early successes and growth, they still weren’t able to reach the goal that they had set out to achieve from the start.

We had a constant feeling that things were out of our control and, despite our initial successes, we weren’t able to be outdoors as much as we wanted.”

We needed to get out of the chaos and find a way to continue growing, but doing it in a more professional and controlled manner. A way that allowed us able to handle our customers, ourselves, and our employees better.

They found Pio was the answer to their years-long journey to enable them to not only be passionate in their work, but also to get outside for real again.

With Pio we were finally able to realize our initial motivation — we can finally spend more time outdoors.”

  • Picking and packing with Pio
  • Surfing
Picking and packing with Pio