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Fitjar Islands
ANTI Fitjar Islands A soapery and shaving brand putting culture before gender

Fitjar Islands

A soapery and shaving brand putting culture before gender.

The repositioning through the brand strategy, name change, visual identity and communication design has taken Fitjar from the kitchen table to its own bespoke architectural soap foundry; while maintaining its artisan production and quality. Since the rebrand sales and the band's fanbase has seen exponential growth.
Fitjar Islands gallery prints

Fitjar Soaps was established as a cottage industry, producing high end, handmade, batch produced soaps. The company had a small but successful and enthusiastic fanbase around the world. In 2015 ANTI was brought in to focus on the core value of the business, transform the brand and launch the new ‘Fitjar Islands’.

Developing a brand for an artisan soapery we looked at what the brand offered its clients outside the direct benefits of product. It comes down to time immersed in process; a wet shave – the old laboursome way; lowering our pace; freezing a moment in time; allowing contemplation and inspiration to again enter our consciousness – valuing the transition between the old and the new.

Fitjar Islands detail print frame and product
Fitjar Islands by ANTI Bergen details

In 2015 the communications and positioning of male shaving products was still very much and almost exclusively masculine. ANTI’s strategic intent was to place Fitjar Islands in the emerging trend of gender neutrality; not defining a product by its user’s gender but rather by its own qualities. For male grooming this was a game changer, opening up the creative direction for a refreshing expression.

Exploring Nordic culture, specifically on Norway’s West Coast, ‘balance’ became the keystone in Fitjar Island’s identity. Balance between nature and the manmade, between before and after.

In using an old printing technique as part of our creative process, we slowed down, enabling nature to inform the outcome. In doing so we generated an aesthetic that celebrates process; connecting the visual identity to the heightened qualities found when using the products. Juxtaposing this process-raw aesthetic with the clean and minimal Scandinavian formulates the cultural play of the brand.

Being created by an elaborate and intensive production process, relates to the lifestyle significance and quality of the brand’s products. A celebration of slowing down, the wonder of details and beauty found in imperfection; the hand crafted, and the unique.

Fitjar Islands packaging by ANTI Bergen

As part of the rebrand we made the identity a product in its own right. A valuable part of the Fitjar fan’s experience. The Fitjar 365 Series’ was a collection of gyotaku prints, made from an object found on one of the 365 isles within Fitjar’s North Sea archipelago. A limited selection has been enriched with a Fitjar scent — capturing the poetry of the landscape.

The placement of these promotional posters being from the boutique retail environment, to framed artwork in the home; the purpose of the work is as much about the narrative, as it is the attainability of a print.

The products themselves remained almost identical, however an integral part of the rebrand was renaming the products to match the identity, and adding colours per fragrance allowing customers to easily remember which product they wanted.

It is the brand’s celebration of inspirational process and personal time that elevates the experience of the product, generating the lifestyle value of Fitjar Islands. Inviting you to slow down – not to strive for perfection or efficiency – but to reconnect with nature and your inner self.

Fitjar Islands product overview branding by ANTI Bergen

The brand strategy, name change, visual identity and communication design has resulted in an exponential growth of sales and Fitjar Island’s fanbase.

Before the rebrand Fitjar was a mail order company with a small group of customers. It appealing to a tiny, niche market of shaving enthusiasts looking for a unique, rare soap. The brand had only two B2B customers worldwide.

Going from a tiny, niche product Fitjar was quickly, following the rebrand, able to appeal to a much wider customer base that cared about design and style, in addition to the quality inherent in the product itself.

In the time immediately following the rebrand ANTI facilitated strategic collaborations between Fitjar Islands and B2B partners. Particularly hotels (non-existent customers pre-rebrand) who wanted to stock the product, from Norway to Japan. In turn the response of customer demand hotels began selling Fitjar Islands in their gift shops and lobbies. All because of the brand’s brake with the traditional; “It represents the Scandinavian way to be”, appealing to many.

Expansion into the hotel market allowed Fitjar to embark on a journey of unprojected rapid product development, expanding into soaps and creams, far beyond their original shaving portfolio.

Fitjar Islands has reached a cult-like following among their most loyal customer fans, some have even made the trek to Fitjar to visit the foundry. Those that are hooked, are hooked and this small restart quickly ran on a profit.

Fitjar Islands Slåtterøy branding by ANTI Bergen
Fitjar Islands Slåtterøy branding by ANTI Bergen

The rebrand helped with staff pride, retention and hiring—they’ve doubled their staff and opened a new showroom. The overwhelmingly positive feedback has been rewarding to the staff. The foundry and the brand itself lends the area of Fitjar islands a great deal of local pride.

Immediately following the rebrand Fitjar received international press coverage, in such highly regarded magazines as Esquire, Scandinavian Man and Norwegian D2, all articles focusing on the brand’s unique expression and story.

Not only has the rebrand and expansion into new markets made the brand financially successful, it has sparked in it’s B2B customers a waive of sustainable choices in their personal care products. The hotels have gone from single use to large, reusable Fitjar bottles in their hotel rooms. The foundry itself has also moved to much larger batches than before the rebrand, meaning less wasted material and water.