From 1923 to today.
A journey on foot for several generations.
My grandfather Ivan Singsong was born in 1901 in Örträsk, a small village in Västerbotten.
When he was seventeen years old (1918) he and a friend decided to leave Örträsk and set out on an adventure. They chose to walk northward to Russia. The distance of over 1000 kilometres was covered on foot and they worked along the way for food and accommodation.
When they reached the Russian border, my grandfather changed his mind. Ivar's friend continued toward Moscow alone and my grandfather started walking back to Sweden. He followed the coastline southward toward Stockholm. When he reached Stockholm he found work, but he was never happy in the big city. Ivar missed nature and after some time he had had enough and so began his journey home.
When he arrived in Nordingrå, a small village in the middle of the World Heritage region of Höga Kusten, he was offered a job as a fishing hand in a fishing hamlet called Norrfällsviken. After a few years he teamed up with a fisherman and launched a smoking and canning company called Königson & Nordlander. This was in operation for a few years at the end of the 1920s and it was also at the end of the 20s that shoe manufacturing was initiated in Nordingrå, Mjällom, 5 kilometres from Norrfällsviken. My grandfather took up employment at one of the factories. Ivar knew most of what there was to know about shoes after all those kilometres he had spent on foot. He worked first as a salesman and later on as an office manager. There he met Jacob Wedin who worked with manufacturing at the factory.
Ivar and Jacob complemented each other and longed to realise their own ideas for a better quality and fit, and in 1923 Bjästa Shoe Factory, which had previously been a shoe repair shop, was established. 15 pairs of shoes were manufactured there every day, sandals as well as boots and football cleats. In 1945 they employed 8 people.
A small shop in Docksta was acquired and after some reconstruction work the move was effectuated in 1947 and the factory changed its name to AB Docksta Skofabrik.
During the ten-year period that followed the factory grew both in terms of production and number of employees. Sales were primarily based on wholesalers and other major buyers like Oscaria and KF. Production consisted of our classic slippers Gunilla and Patrik, as well as more sturdy shoes like beak boots.
In the mid-1950s the factory premises were expanded and a new warehouse was built. By then there were more than 120 employees. A couple of years later, Elfving’s shoe factory in Örnsköldsvik, one of Norrland's biggest oldest shoe factories, was acquired. 200 pairs of boots were manufactured there every day.
In 1959 the next major expansion gathered momentum when the factory received a military order of 250,000 pairs of boots fitted with new soles made of foam rubber. By then, the number of employees had reached 160 and plans for a whole new factory were beginning to take shape.
It is this factory that we work in today, bringing its legacy with us into the future. Follow us on our continuing journey.