In spring of 2000, a group of enthusiastic Clas Ohlson fans in Norrköping started the Clas Ohlson Fan Club.
“At first we were just three old guys but six months later I was interviewed in Radio Dalecarlia and then everything took off. A woman named Helen from Piteå became extremely involved and did a fantastic job with the website. Another 10 guys in Norrköping joined, and we often met and talked about the club. It was a bit silly, but at the same time very playful and warm,” says Per-Inge Kjell, one of the club’s founders.
On the website, you could try to win prizes donated by Clas Ohlson suppliers, sign up for a newsletter or share your thoughts on all things Clas Ohlson. The page took off like a rocket. And to balance the prevailing opinion that Clas Ohlson was an “Old Men’s Daycare,” a separate section of the site, called Clara Ohlson, addressed women specifically.
At its peak, clasohlsonfan.nu had more than 10,000 members. They referred to themselves as COFs. Several club members were even invited to the annual Insjön Day and to Clas Ohlson’s headquarters.
How do you know that a person is a COF? The first sign is probably a desire to find solutions to the various problems that you meet in everyday life.
“It felt like many people in Insjön and several at the company really liked the fan club. The Insjön Day was a fun event and we got to go on stage. Many of the suppliers also supported the club. It’s a long time ago now, but we had a lot of fun in the fan club. I remember this contest when someone put a Clas Ohlson hat on a Miró statue in Madrid and we, in the forum, had to guess which statue it was.”
When the number of visitors grew, a member named Staffan wrote on the site how to recognize like-minded Clas Ohlson-fans: “How do you know that a person is a COF? The first sign is probably a desire to find solutions to various problems you meet in your everyday life. And how does a COF solve this? Well, of course, he dives head-first into the catalogue to find spare parts and if he doesn’t find them, he’ll instead look for machines or tools that can help him construct them. He always calls things by their correct name, drilled as he is by the information text in the catalogue. He is always helpful, and when visiting a store he always helps rookies find their way. He is fully committed to Clas Ohlson and never speaks poorly of the catalogue or the business idea.”
The website closed in 2006 but the memory of the fan club lives on. It was a true testimony to how much the customers appreciate the Insjön company