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Outdoor Brands Expand Product and Production Capabilities

The heightened interest in outdoor activity has boosted outerwear and activewear companies during the pandemic.

Now, two brands are expanding their reach–one through a product extension and the other through increased production capacity.

Helly Hansen continues to push the boundaries of technical outdoor gear with the introduction of Lifa Infinity Pro, its most innovative and sustainable waterproof-breathable technology to date.

Lifa Infinity Pro is a first-to-market technology which, through advanced textile engineering, is made without any added chemical treatments. Using Lifa technology, a proprietary Helly Hansen fiber that’s lightweight and hydrophobic, Lifa Infinity Pro features a fully waterproof and breathable membrane and professional-grade durable water repellent performance.

Combining the new membrane with 100 percent Lifa hydrophobic face fabric, Lifa Infinity Pro meets the extreme waterproofness and breathability of Helly Tech Professional construction.

“We worked with nearly a dozen ski professionals to develop a new technology with the highest level of waterproof/breathable performance that’s also responsibly made,” said Philip Tavell, category managing director for ski at Helly Hansen.

The new Lifa Infinity Pro technology will be featured in the Elevation Infinity Shell Jacket, part of the ULLR collection designed for freeride skiers, and the Odin Mountain Infinity Shell Jacket, part of the Odin collection built for backcountry ski touring.

Helly Hansen ski uniforms are worn by more than 55,000 professionals and can be found on Olympians, national teams and at more than 200 ski resorts and mountain guiding operations around the world. Helly Hansen’s outerwear, base layers, sportswear and footwear are sold in more than 40 countries.

Meanwhile, Triple Aught Design, a U.S.-based adventure gear company, is investing $1 million to build and operate a cutting-edge apparel and gear production facility and experience center in Old Fort, N.C. The new facility will create 70 new jobs in McDowell County, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said.

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“Today, the second largest industry in our state, manufacturing, is continuing to grow with Triple Aught choosing North Carolina for its East Coast operations,” Gov. Cooper added.

An employee-owned company, Triple Aught Design designs, engineers, produces and retails high-quality adventure apparel and equipment. Founded in 2010, the San Francisco-based manufacturer sells its products directly to consumers online, in its flagship store and with a select group of international retailers. In addition to manufacturing, Triple Aught also plans to open a new retail shop and community gathering space adjacent to the factory.

“We considered locations across the entire U.S. and are thrilled to have found a perfect location in Old Fort,” Brett Eisenberg, CEO of Triple Aught Design, said. “Western North Carolina’s talented manufacturing base, proximity to our key textile partners and inspiring wilderness areas make it an ideal location for our East Coast expansion.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led a team of partners in supporting Triple Aught Design’s decision establish its first manufacturing facility in North Carolina. The new positions include designers, sewing operators, retail staff, operations and administrative personnel. Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position, but the average annual wage will exceed McDowell County’s overall average annual wage of $36,753 and create a payroll impact of more than $2.5 million per year.

A performance-based grant of $210,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Triple Aught Design’s expansion to North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

With more than 470,000 manufacturing employees across the state, North Carolina has the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast and ninth largest in the country. At $100.1 billion, manufacturing accounts for 17 percent of North Carolina’s economic output.