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Johan and Saga Andersson who founded the safety workwear company projob distributionsJohan Andersson was a Swede who ventured forth to America in the twenties to seek his fortune. Accompanying him were his wife Saga and the couple’s newly-born daughter Astrid. Johan was strong and enterprising. It didn’t take long before he was given an apprentice carpenter’s position in St. Paul, Minnesota. After a couple of years as apprentice Johan was given permanent employment in one of St. Paul’s largest construction companies. The jobs were many and exciting; two of the ones that Johan worked on were the building of a new zoo and a large city pavilion. Astrid grew up and moved away to study at university and Saga was often alone both day and night. 

 

After almost twenty years as a carpenter Johan’s body said had had enough. Saga saw how he ached when he came home late at night, how he grimaced when he took all the heavy tools out of his pockets and from his belt. She had longed for something to occupy herself with and decided to help him. The next days Saga spent studying where and how the things Johan carried with him put strain on his body. She also thought about where he kept different things and how the placement of pockets and belt forced him to bend unnaturally. 

Finally Saga took the designs to a friend who owned a sewing machine. She started to remodel a pair of Johan’s worn-out working trousers, since they didn’t have the money to buy new fabric. First she reinforced the areas of the garment that had naturally been exposed to extra wear. Then she moved pockets so that Johan wouldn’t have to bend unnecessarily, lengthened the front and back to increase freedom of movement and padded the knees so that Johan could work on them without pain. When Johan came home and saw the fi nished trousers he at fi rst wouldn’t hear of wearing different clothes to what everyone else wore. He didn’t want to stand out and if everyone else could stand a little pain in the back and knees he figured he could, too. Saga became angry and wanted him to at least try the new workwear trousers. The next day he put them on and went to work. That very evening the back problems began to disappear and a couple of weeks later Johan had forgotten that he had ever been in pain.

Johan’s workmates grew curious about the functional trousers and asked if Saga couldn’t sew more pairs. Soon Saga was sewing carpenter’s trousers from dawn to dusk. Johan and Saga also hit upon new products to develop together. Among other things they devised solutions using pockets and belts solutions that today have developed into entire carrying systems. After over thirty years in America, Johan and Saga decided to return to Sweden. They took the boat home, bringing along patterns, fabrics and new ideas. In the Sweden of the fi fties the new working clothes were received with joy and relief. Both Johan and Saga could work full-time on making new designs and sewing. It was time to think of a name for the company, a name that told who the clothes were for and recalled the time in America. ProJob was born.  

Today ProJob is part of the Swedish New Wave Group AB, a company that has long worked with profi le and sports clothes. Thanks to the know-how about functional garments already residing within the group, New Wave can continue what Johan and Saga once started. Quality, ergonomics and function were watchwords for Saga when she fi rst sat down to design new clothes for Johan. These watchwords live on at ProJob today. They have been augmented with ethics and environment Ð factors that affect all production stages at the New Wave Group. Today, ProJob clothing, thanks to new materials and modern technology, has undergone further development, but Saga’s original designs and unique solutions are still the foundation of production.
Workwear trousers worn by carpenters during early days of projob