Signe Århus

Signe Aarhus (NO)

Presentation: OLEANA – The Norwegian Story - From dream to fairytale reality


  • Diploma in Textile Technology with distinction from Huddersfield Polytechnic in England, 1968 – 1971.
  • Teacher training for higher weaving education from Statens Lærerhøgskole i Forming, Oslo, 1973 - 1975.
  • Course in Business Economy from Norwegian School of Economics, Bergen, 1985.

Work experience

  • Product Developer at Oslo Baand Lidsefabrikk, 1972- 1973.
  • Weaving lecturer at Møre & Romsdal Husflidsskule, Molde, 1975-1976.
  • Lecturer and Head of The Textile Department at Bergen Academy of Art and Design.
  • Division manager at Dale of Norway (textile factory at Dale in Hordaland), 1985 – 1991.
  • Started up the textile factory Oleana in 1992 at Espeland in Bergen, moved to Ytre Arna in 2012. Still there!!

Norwegian Businesswoman of the Year, 2003.

Oleana has been awarded several design awards.


The Future Belongs to the Storytelers!

  • Presentation of Oleana and why we started a labour-intensive new textile factory in a high cost country like Norway.
  • The ideology behind the design-thinking (we define Oleana in the cross section between culture and business). Norway has a very strong tradition within patterned knitwear. Geometrical patterns in knitwear are often called “Norwegian Patters” or “Norwegische Muster”. Our folk costume tradition is also very strong and Oleana’s designer, Solveig Hisdal, is seriously working with products that are heritage-related, but still modern. The cultural rivers that have been floating from continent to continent, from country to country, from one material to the other have all the time been of great inspiration.
  • The choice of using sustainable raw materials.
  • The Storytelling - Building up the export-markets.
  • Open factory – Oleana has open doors for all visitors to see the production. The thinking behind this is that people in our part of the world very rarely see our type of production and are very interested to see how products are made.
  • Building up tourism in according to the above – guided tours – factory shop.
  • Building up own stores.
  • How we see the future.

Oleana to-day.

  • 70 employees at the factory and ca. 15 in our own shops.
  • Factory turn over ca. NOK 45 mill.
  • Exports ca. 50% of the production, Europe, Japan, USA.