Interview Isknapar and Atorka Ruitersport
Saturday 10th December we had an interview with Tina and Amelie Paetzold – mother and daughter and both co-founders of Ís Knapar (www.isknapar.com)
Atorka: First of all, thank you for this interview. Let us start with a quite general question: Who is Ís Knapar and what is the story behind?
Tina: Ís Knapar is our “family start-up” which we started creating in 2020 and went public at the end of 2020. There were different motivations behind but one of the strongest is to share a common passion in the family. So, everybody in the family contributes to it and makes Ís Knapar a family project. During the last two years Ís Knapar developed so well, that we are professionalizing every aspect at the moment step-by-step, while trying to keep the spirit.
Amelie: My mother and me are both passionate Icelandic horse riders. So, it is super that Ís Knapar also includes our passion for Icelandic horses. In this sense not only the family has to contribute, but also our 16 year old Noi, who has started a career as pin-up gelding in the course of Ís Knapar marketing now.
Atorka: What does Ís Knapar stand for – what makes the brand special?
Tina: Ís Knapar stands for high quality products with high usability and fair pricing. Ís Knapar also targets all riders in the same way. We don’t want to exclude but include. Therefore, we cover a wide range of sizes and try to also offer non-standard sizes when meaningful, like the long-leg version of our breeches EVE. Besides the product quality we also try to act as sustainable as possible. We do our best to avoid plastic in packaging best possible and use transport options with lower CO2 footprint. We also work with our manufacturers to use organic materials whenever possible, and we select material that last. Durability is also part of sustainability in contrast to fast-fashion approaches, which we would not support.
Amelie: We have recently added a question in our own online shop system asking our customers if they are ok if we take pre-use – surely clean and undamaged – carton boxes for their shipments. And it is a great success as many customers give us their ok. Far more than we have pre-used cartons. We also use other methods to give back: compensation of our transport via CO2 compensation through the Atmosfair platform (https://www.atmosfair.de/en/). We also have started a call for Xmas-donations to different organizations like “Terres des Hommes”. Our idea was that if a donation of 10€ or more is done directly to one those organizations by one of our customers we would values this by sending a Ís Knapar writing set as thank you to the customer. Unfortunately, the feedback was limited – but let’s see how we can improve this for next year.
Atorka: There are already good products on the market – so why looking at Ís Knapar’s products?
Tina: Whenever possible we strive for innovation or to add a product to the market that has a speciality. We love designing products. So, it is often not about just adding a product but making it the perfect fit in our understanding. Therefore, we decided to establish our own brand with our own design language and not becoming a retailer – which is also an important function in the sense of helping the customer to identify the best fitting products within what is available on the market. We wanted to use our skills to make good products available and offer more choice. Personally, I have a long-lasting background in different segments of riding – mainly in Western. This background often makes me crossing borders when thinking of new products and looking into other markets and how problems are solved in other segments.
Amelie: New product ideas are often the consequence of our daily interaction with the horses. Something is missing, something is not working the way we would like to have it. In such cases a process starts which might end in a new product. More and more also friends and customers ask us about certain products. Therefore, the interaction with as many as possible different riders is essential for us.
Atorka: How did Ís Knapar develop since the start and what is coming next?
Amelie: The response to Ís Knapar is far beyond what we could have imagined. The interest in us is growing almost daily, which also allows us to broaden our portfolio rather fast. What is really encouraging to us is that we have a lot of recurring customers. Not only for certain products but all across the portfolio.
Tina: The next steps of Ís Knapar’s product portfolio is targeting Jodphurs – which is a must-have product as an Icelandic Horse brand. Our first model “PASSAR – WINTER” – a winter softshell Jodphur for male riders – it will be revealed still this year. The design process for a ladies’ Jodhpur is under full steam and we plan to reveal this for the spring collection – most likely together with “PASSAR”.
Atorka: Now your full portfolio is available with Atorka?
Tina: Yes, and we are very proud of this! With Yvonne we found the perfect partner as she really knows what she is speaking of and has a clear understanding what the market needs. Cooperating with such a partner it is fun and great honour at the same time. And it goes without saying that Atorka is THE Icelandic Horse shop in the Benelux.
Atorka: How will Icelandic Horse riders in the Benelux learn more about Ís Knapar?
Amelie: We love to cooperate with riders that not only present our products but also give us and the community feedback. We are very delighted to have found such riders in Merel and her mother Jantine, who are the first Ís Knapar faces in the Netherlands. We have recently met them in person and immediately were super happy: they are riders and share the passion for the horses. We are speaking the same language! To spread the words, we also have opened a Dutch Instagram profile lately to inform our customers – so feel free to follow us and learn more about us and our cooperation with Atorka as weel as Merel and Jantine.