25 years ago, sounds like an eternity. The year was 1996 and OPO consisted of two guys and a garage. A little like the set up for Apple with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Job´s parent's garage 1986. Our guys were Peo Stjernqvist and Ola Kunosson in Peo´s garage in Höllviken, south of Malmö.
1996 - 2021
But let´s start at the end. 2020, OPO Scandinavia did a fabulous result, in spite of the Corona pandemic that threatened the whole business (and the rest of the world) during spring. With our CEO Irena Färemo in charge, we made our way through a couple of very rough months where almost the whole staff was laid off. We navigated through the storm and made it out to August where Corona still kept the world in its grip. But we could see the light and against all odds, continue business as usual. We did not reach our initial goals for 2020, but we made it through to a market out there that is still booming. So, thanks to our amazing customers that stay open and serve the clients day after day, a lot of patience, and some guts, we are still standing strong.
New design department 2018
Two years before the epidemic hit us, in 2018, we hired a new design manager to take over the design department and the different brands we have. There are not many companies that still design each and every frame inhouse, but we do this in order to learn and develop and to always be able to deliver high quality products. This is something we take great pride in and also something that has proven to be a good way of keeping a steady and heathy growth of the company. Anna Mälstad is now in charge of +10 brands. An amazing achievement by a woman with a mindset that contains both endless creativity and structure.
Quality Controller since 2006
Our buyer Mårten Martini has been with OPO since 2006. With his long experience of our products and the market, he is the perfect person to be responsible for quality control and purchases. To determine how many frames of each model will sell during a season is a bit of a gamble but he usually nails it. He is also supporting the design team when it comes to choosing new colors and giving a second opinion to newly developed models.
2014 new CEO
In 2014 Irena Färemo, who´s previous title was CFO at OPO, took over as CEO from Markus Gårdö… One of her first initiatives was an investment in OPO´s marketing. This resulted in a new logo, a new site and later on a person who today is fully dedicated to the communication and marketing of the company. Lisa Loderus takes care of OPO´s social media, the B2B advertisement and the digital platforms we operate on. A normal year, she would also work a lot with the different optical fairs OPO attends. Let´s see if this epidemic has changed the landscape for fairs forever, or if the eyewear business is back to normal already by the end of this summer.
Top notch customer service
OPO is market-leading when it comes to service. Both the speed and the quality is outstanding in the business. How come? Well, some of the employees at OPO customer service have been here since 2004. Our 5 dedicated co-workers in customer service, lead by Katja Regina, know our clients by heart, they know the products and the market. Our warehouse staff is extremely service-minded and our accountant an expert on serving small businesses. Our clients are small, independent shops, owned and run by experts within the line of optics. They need fast, professional, and often personal service.
Ola & Peo Agenturer
When OPO started 1996, it was called Ola & Peo Agenturer. We had the two founders, Peo and Ola who both worked with sales. Fredrik Svensson was the first employee and he is today part of the Swedish sales force. During the years we have grown with 2 more Swedish sales reps, one Norwegian, one Danish and two Finnish sellers. A perfect set up to reach the clients we have today.
2000 Ola sold his part to Peo and continued as a sales representative for the northern parts of Sweden and the name changed to OPO Scandinavia. Today, Peo Stjernqvist is still one of the owners, together with CEO Irena Färemo and the Swedish investment company Small Cap Partners.
KunoQvist breaks at SILMO
In 2004 the brand KunoQvist was released at the Paris fair Silmo. It became an instant success and OPO was all of a sudden a player on the international scene. KunoQvist kickstarted and has since grown to be a brand that is present at most independent opticians in the Nordic market. With this success brand in the back, the company has developed and is today Sweden´s biggest independent designer and producer of frames for the Nordic market.
Not even Corona can stop us!
OPO has a number of brands today, some are our own, others are private label or license brands. Our ambition is to cover the market needs in terms of optical glasses for children and adults, to have the best terminal glasses on the market and high-quality sunglasses within the sports section. We are growing continuously with both employees and brands and not even Corona can stop us, so let´s see what the next step will be for OPO Scandinavia.
Since December 2011 our offices and warehouse are situated in an old printing house in the old rural area of Malmö. The showroom is perfect for visits from our customers and get-togethers.
Below: Peo Stjernqvist, founder and member of the board.