Eyolf didn’t happen overnight or with a group of friends who thought it would be cool to make some gear. Nope, instead it started out of survival, an opportunity, hard work and dedication to a believe that gear can be made better, smarter and with passion.
We, Martine and myself, Igor, as owners of Eyolf moved from the Netherlands to Canada in 2001 and to be honest almost had to go home after one year of trying to settle in our new chosen country. Family helped out and through a relative Martine got offered a job so this allowed me to stay with our kids and cold calling potential customers and paying them a visit when I had an opportunity.
Later in the second year I was offered an opportunity to work for CAN on the rehabilitation project on the CN Tower and it is with this project I saw real opportunity to start working on becoming a training company to teach rope access.
From the closet, the rest of basement to the garage ending up in the kitchen one day Martine told me it is time to move the business as it was taking over our house and people in the neighborhood started to look funny at us due to all those deliveries and customer visits. Although having a police tactical team in full gear visit you doesn’t mean your being raided as our neighbors found out…
As the business grew steadily, we were able to buy a small business unit and started to expand our manufacturing capabilities. Every year we had a bit of profit we would invest in a new machine and over time we developed more and more products.
Now I should mention that I was already designing, engineering and making fall protection equipment in the Netherlands before we came to Canada so the experience was there and with the motto “if you don’t have money, you got time” we carried on in Canada.
Initially it was mainly rope access equipment with rescue kits for the utility companies but as time passed we got more into the adventure market and tried to do more in the recreational industry. Timing for a recreational line wasn’t right. MEC even told us in 2014 they had no interest in a Canadian brand that makes climbing gear!
In 2017 it was time to expand again and take a risk with purchasing land. We were able to sell our unit, rent it back, buy the land, get a loan and start building our new location. Which we did ourselves, week in week out, 7 days a week for almost a year we were at it and built what we feel is the right building for us in which it feels nice to work, is energy efficient and safe from the elements.
Our story isn’t about to end we still have plans, dreams and things to do so for my feeling we just got started and a full line of climbing gear is about to be launched.
Hang on, the ride ain’t over yet 😉