Meet Tekosom’s long term co-operator Lars Elovsson of Chevalier

Lars Elovsson has co-owned Chevalier for more than 20 years.

Lars Elovsson has co-owned Chevalier for more than 20 years.

After 25 years Lars Elovsson has sold his lifes work the company which he, together with his business partner and co-owner Lars Björkman, has developed into one of the most prestigious brands in hunting clothes. In this article Lars shares his thoughts on his journey with Chevalier. A journey on which Tekosom has been a faithful travel companion almost all the way.

– Our cooperation began when Kenneth Johansson knocked on the door to our office one day slightly more than 20 years ago. He presented himself and suggested that we´d better let Tekosom handle our production. He argued that they would do a better job than the factory we used at that time, says Lars.

The two Larses listened. And decided to give Tekosom a chance. A decision they haven’t regretted.

– Tekosom is a very competent company, and they have become better and better over the years. We couldn’t be more pleased with having them as a manufacturing partner, says Lars.

Tekosoms CEO Michael Johansson (the son of Kennerth) is equally pleased with the cooperation with Chevalier.

– Chevalier is a very good customer. We get along really well. They always supply us with interesting challenges. We have to be on our toes and improve constantly, says Michael.

Growing market

But let’s jump back to the beginning. To 1950, the year Chevalier was founded. Then the company was located to the neighborhood of Ulricehamn in Sweden. Above all they manufactured clothes for riding. In fact Chevalier was the largest producer of riding pants for several years.

In the 1960s the company started to manufacture hunting clothes as well

Then we take a leap to 1991. At that time Lars was head of finance at the company that had acquired Chevalier in the 80s. This was a time of financial crisis and Lars’ employer was in great need of capital. Chevalier was for sale. Lars saw his chance and bought the company together with Lars Björkman.

– We realized that the market for hunting clothes was growing. We saw a great potential. But we had to cut off the riding clothes segment. Simply because it was not profitable, says Lars.

Said and done. Under the new regime Chevalier focused on equipping hunters with clothes.

– At that time materials as cotton and wool were predominant. But we were determined to introduce new materials and qualities. Our aim was to turn hunting clothes into functional wear. To achieve that we had a plan to start using Gore-Tex.

Are you yourself part of Chevaliers target group?

– Definitely. I grew up in a hunting environment. Bird hunting has always been a special interest. So you can say that I know which qualities I want to see in garments that should function when I go hunting.

How would you describe your entrepreneurial skills?

– Hard to say, but I think I have the ability to overlook the entire production chain, and make everything run smoothly. But I have to point out that I’m neither marketer nor salesman, those have been Lars Björkman’s fields. I have concentrated on economy, administration and production.

What drives you?

– The challenge to produce great products that really make the job, and make money in the process.

– Some time round 1992-1993 we launched the first micro fibre set with Gore-Tex. That was a landmark in the history of Hunting wear. Up to then technical performance was an unexplored field in the industry.

And Chevalier had obviously set out the course right. Since then, sales and revenue have increased with 10-15 per cent every year.

– I guess the figures prove that a lot more hunters than Lars and myself didn’t like to get wet, Says Lars with a smile.

Which are the basic requirements you make on a Chevalier garment?

– That depends on the area of use. Whether it should be waterproof, insulating, just elegant or have some other quality. But it always has to be of supreme quality and durability.

Could you describe the typical Chevalier customer?

– A man, or nowadays also a woman, in the ages between 25 and 55. He or she often lives in a big city. But we also try to reach customers in the countryside. They really have a lot to benefit from our products as well.

As you say, women are now demanding these kind of products. Has this fact presented new challenges?

– Women are in fact the fastest growing segment, along with younger hunters. As a result of this we have had to rejuvenate our collections. And of course develop models that fit and appeal to women. Even if looks are quite important to most male hunters it’s no exaggeration to claim that they mean even more to female ones. Our female collections have to be just as good and functional but even better looking.

How would you characterize fashion for hunting 2016?

– A bit more rough than before, but still elegant. We have a series called Vintage which combines these qualities. We sell a lot of it.

Which of Tekosoms capacities do you value most?

– Oh, it’s so much. Above all their high quality standards. What comes out meets our expectations. Good sewing, and they have excellent quality control along the way.

– But also the fact that they are flexible. They have the ability to reschedule when it is needed. Their knowledge and skill are also crucial, and of course that they offer maximal value in relation to price.

– Another thing is that both Michael and Kennerth are passionate hunters. Their experience is very valuable to Chevalier when it comes to developing new products.

By now the two companies have a history that goes back more than 20 years.

– We know almost all the members of their staff, and we are always welcome to their factory. That makes everything easier. We can have direct contact with the right person, so there are seldom any misconceptions, says Lars

Last year Lars and Lars sold the majority of the company to the Swedish investment company Melby Gård. It is owned by the legendary investor Rune Andersson and his family.

– Both Lars and I felt that this was the best for the company. It is definitely in good hands. In fact it was quite flattering that they were interested. Chevalier was actually a bit too small to fit their profile, but they made an exception. That feels like an acknowledgement. That we have accomplished something great.

So what happens now?

– Well, Lars and I are still in the board of the company. In fact Mellby Gård wants us to take part in the future of the company. But with the grounds of age I’m beginning to scale down a bit.

So youll get some time over now? How will you spend it?

– I will have more time for my cover band (Still Around) where I play the bass. Maybe I will go to US for a road trip. And also try to improve my shooting at the shooting range.

No plans of new start-ups?

– You never know. I cannot promise that I won’t start something new or not that I will. But If I do it has to be in another line of business.


About Lars Elovsson

Age: 64
Lives: Flat in the center of Gothenburg
Family: Three grown up children and one grandchild
On a day off: Depends on the season. In the summer I would go fishing and in wintertime I would hunt or ski.
Best quality: Ability to see the whole picture
Worst quality: I can have a tendency to be a bit impulsive