Meet the Norwegian entrepreneur

Founder of Bag’in, Kåre Normann Sekkesæter’s best tip is to talk about ideas with others.

«You will never succeed if you do not dare to get help from others to develop your ideas.»

It all started Easter 2016, when he was to set up his cabin at Hvaler after the winter. Together with his mother-in-law, Kåre looked at the outdoor furniture he had wrapped in a tarpaulin six months earlier. The tarpaulin had blown away, and only a few pieces of rope hung around the furniture.

“We thought we had packed this well in the autumn, but it did not last. I thought that there must be a better solution than this, but without finding anything in the market, I came up with the idea of ​​making something myself that could protect outdoor furniture throughout an entire winter without it blowing to pieces ” says Kåre. 

Sammen med svigermor la han en plan. Kåre kjøpte inn materialer og svigermor sydde så den første prototypen på oppbevaringsbag for utemøbler. Etter hvert testet de prototypen på egne og naboers utemøbler, og reaksjonen fra naboene var veldig positiv.

Together with his mother-in-law, he made a plan. Kåre bought materials and his mother-in-law sewed the first prototype. After testing the prototype on their neighbors outdoor furniture, the reaction was instantly positive. Kåre then knocked on more than 100 doors around the neighborhood to ask if he could pack their outdoor furniture. In this way, he gained insight into both the types of outdoor furniture people have, and not least whether this was a product that people needed themselves and wanted to pay money for. 

“When people say ‘I need one too’, then you know your idea has good potential!” 

«Av de 120 personene jeg snakket med, så var over 70 % av dem villige til å kjøpe en bag så fort jeg fikk den i produksjon, uten at de engang visste prisen eller hvordan den ville se ut til slutt. Jeg skjønte da at jeg hadde et produkt med et veldig stort potensial.»

“Of the 120 people I spoke to, over 70% of them were willing to buy a bag as soon as I got it in production, without them even knowing the price or what it would look like in the end. I then realized that I had a product with a very large potential.” 

Kåre established a company, and started a two year journey, testing various materials, design and development. 

A good team

Kåre knew from experience that the best companies consisted of teams that complemented each other in experience and competence. In 2017 Krister A. Pedersen came on board. Krister then worked as CFO in XXL, and had the background the company would need in strategy, commercialization and internationalization. 

Kåre also had an acquaintance who was good at design, marketing and digital solutions, Øivind Solgård-Jensen. 

“What he doesn´t know about digital marketing, advertising, and websites you do not need to know,” smiles the entrepreneur. 

Both Krister and Øivind bought into the company, and began to work actively with the product together with Kåre. 

“I have always said that I would rather own part of a company that becomes big, than 100% of something that does not become anything. This is also the mistake many entrepreneurs make – they are terrified of giving up stocks. Stocks are great for getting the right people. “ 

– Kåre Normann Sekkesæter, founder 

The team now has what they need to grow, to expand the product range, and to go international. When Bag’in came into the market – it solved a problem that most people have.

“It has been a tough journey both financially and personally, but it has been fun too.” 

Early in the development process, Kåre contacted the Norwegian Industrial Property Office for tips on what he should do to secure his products. “I was helped with both design, trademark and patent protection, and I was given good advice about product protection abroad. We would not be where we are today if we had not received help from the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.” 

In the beginning, Kåre also received help from Norges Vel, with a scheme to receive a basic living salary for one year to work on his idea.

“During the time we have been working on Bag´in, we have been in contact with many different companies with a view to finding the best resources to produce our product. We were very unsure whether we should take production to China” says Kåre. 

Via several tips, Kåre got in touch with the founders of PramPack and Douchbag, and received help with the production side of the business.  

“When someone is successful, copies come. It is important that we have a brand that people remember.” – Kåre Normann Sekkesæter, founder 

Bag’in has now built a platform with over 20 products. 

“We started storing outdoor furniture because the market is huge. We have now created our own trampoline bag, a bag you can pack all trampoline parts in. Simple and ingenious, because it solves a big problem for those who do not know where the trampoline parts are to be stored or where they are actually located.” 

The Bag’in team works constantly to build the brand, so that people know that they have the original. Kåre beleives his products should have a value for the customer – does this solve a problem for the customer, and is the customer willing to pay for it? 

“Everything we do at Bag’in is based on this philosophy: If it has value for the customer, it has value for us.” 

The article is reproduced with permission from the Norwegian Industrial Property Office.