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CONTACT: Lee Weinstein
Icebreaker Moves Into New US Headquarters in Portland
– New Zealand Comes Alive in New LEED-Certified Offices –
Portland, Ore., December 1, 2008 â€“ Icebreaker, the New Zealand outdoor company that invented the natural and technical outdoor merino apparel category, is moving today into its new United States headquarters in Northwest Portland.
The new space includes many touches from Icebreaker’s home, including conference rooms named after Kiwi sheep stations, and was designed to be as open as possible to inspire employee collaboration, as well as to utilize the natural daylight and views to outside. A large showroom area will facilitate retailer visits and global design meetings.
â€œIt feels very much like New Zealand when you walk in. We wanted to inject this space with Kiwi personality and Southern Alps to always remind us where we’re from,â€ said Russ Hopcus, president of Icebreaker’s US company. â€œIcebreaker moved to Portland because of Oregon’s incredible outdoor playground and tremendous design talent. The US market is a bigger opportunity than we knew then, and as more people discover the benefits of year-round, sustainable merino apparel, our business has been growing rapidly.â€
Icebreaker moved its U.S. operations from Ketchum, Idaho into temporary Portland space in 2007. More than 40 employees will be located at the new Icebreaker U.S. headquarters at 1330 NW 14th Avenue, including those at the company’s global design center, and U.S. sales and marketing office, which has been located in separate buildings in Portland’s Pearl District. The new space includes capacity for the company to eventually double the number of its workforce, which is the plan over the next two to three years.
Icebreaker’s Portland workforce is internationally diverse, including employees from New Zealand, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Romania. Five employees have transferred from the company’s Wellington, New Zealand global headquarters to Portland, with two more relocating soon.
The 16,500 square foot headquarters are expected to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in 2009. Among the other accoutrements are showers, changing rooms and indoor bike parking, â€œTo inspire as much use of human-powered and public transportation as possible,â€ says Hopcus.
Portland’s GBD Architects, Inc. designed the space with architect Suzy Olsen as the lead designer. All of the wood in the space is either reclaimed or FSC Certified (responsibly forested woods). Low VOC paints and coatings were used throughout. No urea-formaldehyde glue, a known cancer causing substance, was used in the composite wood products. All systems office furniture is Green-Guard Certified, meeting strict VOC standards.
Icebreaker is celebrating in December the one-year anniversary of the opening of its first US retail Touch_Lab store on the corner of NW 11th and West Burnside, across from Powell’s Books. The store carries its complete line of 100 percent merino technical apparel products â€“ which are â€œwarm when wetâ€ â€“ and are perfect for Oregon’s â€˜liquid sunshine’ climate.
About Icebreaker Merino
Icebreaker merino is soft, lightweight, non-itch, odor-resistant, and keeps the body at its optimum temperature in all climates and conditions. Both the fabric and the fiber breathe, leaving the wearer feeling more comfortable and less sweaty. Unlike synthetics made from oil, merino is all natural and sustainable.
Icebreaker’s BODYFIT system of active base layers offers three weights of pure merino. Each layer can be worn solo or layered for insulation against the cold. Merino’s fine, crimped fibers create millions of air pockets that trap body heat. The fiber has an exceptionally high warmth-to-weight ratio and uses a process called â€œheat of sorptionâ€ to generate heat from moisture absorbed from the air. The fine, lightweight fibers give you all the warmth of a heavy sweater but with none of the bulk.
Layering Icebreaker amplifies the warmth. Air is trapped in between each layer, increasing the levels of insulation. The layers lock together like a single lightweight, breathable garment.
Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino wool layering system for the outdoors. It was also the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino direct from growers, a system it began in 1997. There are now 10 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear.
Icebreaker is sold in more than 2000 stores in 24 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino hand-picked from 120 high country stations in the country’s Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature’s work with human technology and design. The company is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing, and animal welfare. In 2008 the company launched â€œIcebreaker Baacode,â€ pioneering supply chain transparency. Each Icebreaker includes a unique Baacode, which enables customers to trace the garment online from rearing the sheep through to each stage of the supply chain process.