There is nobody like Johannes Høsflot Klaebo. Never was in the history of skiing.
Ans we are not talking his crazy Olympic and world titles’ count for a guy aged only 23.
We are talking about his mass appeal.
The world did know popular skiers but it would be fair to say that nobody, not even Therese Johaug or Petter Northug, could be compared in volume of buzz that surrounds the skiing’s youngest Olympic champion.
And that buzz has quite a material side.
Since the end of the last season a 23 year old Norwegian super star:
– launched Hufs hair product line
– became a face of Abilica training equipment line
– continued his cooperation with international giant Hoka One One
– lent his name to at least two premium products, directly related to cross country skiing:
IDT Klaebo Gold rollerskis and Hestra Klaebo gloves.
Actually, we stand corrected: “lent” is inaccurate – both companies stress that Johannes actually contributed his time and effort in developing aforementioned wares.
“Johannes has spent a couple of hours in total and he has given us input on his Pro Model when it comes to color combination, details, function and material/comfort”. Petronella Pettersson. spokeswoman fro Hestra tells Dailyskier.com
It’s not novel, especially for Norwegian stars, to cash in on popularity. But thus far they mostly sold their image, becoming ” faces” of large and established brands. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Johannes, however, is taking a radically different path – he’s growing his own lines of products.
Moreover, he’s growing his own media persona through social networks – again, in clear departure with the path of previous generation of stars who were actively managed by media professionals and engaged by television.
Klaebo’s popularity spreads way, way outside Norway. Not even Petter Northug could have claimed buses full of fans – mostly young fans – coming to ski races with explicit purpose of getting a close look at him.
Yet for those who are worried that multiple collaborations might get in a way of Mr. Klaebo’s career, his father and business manager Haakan Klaebo has this to say:
“Johannes is committed to work with people and companies that have values and products that he can stand for. His focus, however, remains to be a good cross country skier. All his business commitments are therefore based on giving energy back to his cross-country carrier, which his collaboration partners understand and help him with.”
The new generation of Europeans ( and beyond) adores Klaebo because it feels he’s one of them. It’s very much a Gen Z thing do : to work on boutique business, to launch a personal line of products – all in a sustainable, community – building way.
Johannes is just a hell of a lot more successful than most of his peers. And what we’ve seen so far is probably…just a warm-up…
photo of Klaebo in Hestra glvoes is courtesy of Hestra
photo of Hoka Cliftom Klaebo Edition is courtesy of Hoka One One