Running up and down the factory stairs is an all day everyday activity that reminds us of our place in history. A lot of textile girls have run up and down these stairs before us. A lot of men too, but mostly girls.
The textile industry is full of girls; probably the industry on a global basis, which employs mostly woman. Men in the textile industry traditionally have had better paid jobs; it has always been like that. At Oleana we do what we can to change this. At Oleana we give equal pay for equal work, and there are women in most of our leading roles. Things like this are important to change but other things are important to keep and cherish.
The world’s oldest and biggest industry has been built by proud textile workers, their many industrial disputes, red flags, and hard work. We look upon ourselves at Oleana as proud bearers of a long tradition which goes as far back as the end of the 1700’s when the Industrial Revolution started with the construction of “Spinning Jenny”, the first automatic spinning machine.
The right place
Starting our factory in one of Norway’s oldest textile mills felt appropriate. A building where history permeates the air and has carved into the floorboards. We are at home here, it smells like a textile factory should. The floors are worn down in places where people have walked to and fro, tending their machines for generations. It was here the steam boiler and the compressors once stood, steam in pipes, three phase electricity and pressurised air in pipes.
The factory is situated beside a river, as all old textile factories usually were. Rivers have been supplying energy and processing water, for over a hundred years. The old Janus factory made us feel welcome. Slowly, but surely, we have grown from three to sixty employees. This factory means a great deal, we tread the same floors and follow the same craft as the centuries of men and woman before us — daily routines that where almost lost to history are now revitalised in this reborn factory.
Many proud textile workers go up and down the stairs every day.