Lillelam makes premium children’s clothing in soft, natural merino wool. “Our goal is to keep children warm and comfortable in garments made with love and to care both for our children and for our planet,” says Pernille Siem, CEO and founder of Lillelam.
Almost 20 years ago, when Siem became a mother, she could not find warm, soft, high-quality wool clothing for her baby. Focus on sustainable and ethical manufacturing was practically non-existent.
“The only clothing available was synthetic or made from a thick, itchy lamb’s-wool blend, imported and toxically treated. I was shocked to discover how bad and neglected this market niche was,” she explains.
So she took matters into her own hands and created a brand that met all her high standards. In 2004, Lillelam was born. Today it’s a market leader in its category, known for its sustainability and ethics.
Lillelam makes children’s garments in 100 per cent merino wool for the B2B and B2C markets. In a nutshell, Lillelam clothing is durable, functional yet attractive, comfortably warm and super soft. Sizes are available from premature to 6 years old.
“The quality of our garments is so soft and pure that we even produce next-to-skin garments for prematurely born babies, which act as a safe ‘second skin’ before they have fully developed their own fragile skin,” says Siem. The garments are also safe for skin conditions, such as eczema.
Moreover, Lillelam ensures easy care for busy parents. The garments can be machine washed, and do not shrink when using a wool program. Highly durable, with fold-down cuffs for growth, the garments maintain their shape over time, require little mending, and can be passed down to siblings or sold online. Due to the unique properties of wool, including its antibacterial nature, the garments require far less washing than those made of other fibres.
Siem is passionate about the environment. “We bring nature’s best raw materials into design,” she says. Wool has been used for thousands of years, and merino sheep grow the longest, finest hairs fibres of any sheep breed for optimal durability and softness.
Wool is also highly sustainable in production. Sheep need only water, sunlight and grass for grazing, unlike plant fibre that competes for agricultural space and requires considerable resources to transform into textiles. Since sheep must be sheared twice a year, all that wool is put to good use and never wasted.
Siem also scrutinises the company’s supply chain, ensuring that every stage and component have been handled sustainably. This includes the ethical treatment of workers in countries where the yarn and garments are manufactured.
Lillelam is already well established as the market leader in Norway, achieved mainly through “word-of-mouth” advertising, thanks to satisfied parents, newborn gift-givers, and the online market for used children’s clothing. Today in Norway, Lillelam is sold in 95 per cent of high-end multi-brand stores and 85 per cent of pharmacies. The company also has a global website, Lillelam.com, for both B2B and B2C.
Internationally, the company sells its clothing on and offline in China, Europe, South Korea and the US. Recently Lillelam has made a marketing push in the US, where Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom have expressed interest in carrying the clothing line.
“Lillelam has outstanding products of high quality, and the company emphasises sustainability. This aligns with what higher-income Americans are seeking for their own children and as gifts,” says Gary Simmons, an expert in childrenswear who served as a mentor to Lillelam in New York City.
Siem agrees: “We’re in a global growth phase now. It’s an exciting time, and we’re looking for partners and investors.”
3. Good health and well-being
Lillelam garments promote the health and well-being of children born prematurely and those with skin conditions.
8. Decent work and economic growth
Lillelam ensures the ethical treatment of workers in its value chain.
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Lillelam uses only natural materials in its garments, innovating and increasing sustainability in the clothing industry.
12. Responsible consumption and production
In addition to producing garments of exceptional durability, Lillelam sells the same standard collection dating back to 2004, which reduces sample waste by nearly 100 per cent.