How Icelandic Down Was Founded

Slightly to the south of Borgarfjordur eystri, one of the country’s biggest nesting areas for the eider duck is located in a deserted fjord called Lodmundarfjordur.

Husband and wife Oli and Johanna have maintained and grown this nesting area. They started managing the property in the year 2001 when it had around 1200 nests. Today, the total number of nests is around 6000.

Icelandic eider farmers
Icelandic eider farmers. Johanna (left) and Oli (right).

Oli and Johanna live in Borgarfjordur Eystri, but at the beginning of May each year, they travel by boat to Lodmundarfjordur because the roads are blocked by snow at this time of year.

They stay there for two months with the ducks, far away from all modern comforts, until the eider returns to the ocean with her young around the beginning of July.

They do the same as other eider farmers during nesting season, as well as what many of our Icelandic ancestors have done for many centuries. They help the eider duck to build nests, protect the ducks and the eggs from predators like foxes and seagulls, and help care for the eggs and the young.

Later in the summer, their children and grandchildren join them in Lodmundarfjordur as they love to be near the wild birds and to help with the harvesting of the eiderdown.

As a thank you for man’s help and protection, the eider lays the highly prized eiderdown into her nest, which the farmers then collect.

Eider duck laying on nest.
Eider duck laying on nest.

The idea of Icelandic Down

The idea of Icelandic Down was born in the fall of 2018 when Ragna and Thorir decided to visit Lodmundarfjordur.

Oli and Johanna walked through the area with them and told them all about the history and wonders of Icelandic eiderdown.

One thing Oli said really resonated with Ragna and motivated her to found the company now called Icelandic Down. What he said was:

I work on eiderdown for two months a year and I think about eiderdown for the other 10 months. The only bad thing is having to sell the eiderdown out of the country before it is turned into a finished product.

This was the start of Icelandic Down as a company.

Two different families

Two different families are involved with the company. Both of these families have talented individuals with unique skills that are incredibly useful for making high-quality products from eiderdown and selling them.

The family of Oli and Johanna take care of the nesting area and everything related to taking care of the birds and harvesting the eiderdown.

Ragna has a masters degree in business administration and is the CEO of the company. Her daughter Astros handles photography and is an expert in design. Her son Kristjan is an experienced online marketer who handles the website. Thorir, her partner, is an engineer who is in charge of processes and equipment.

Icelandic Down team
The Icelandic Down team. Astros (left), Ragna (center), Kristjan (right).

The Icelandic Down company

The company’s headquarters are in Borgarfjordur Eystri, a small town at the far east part of Iceland. Tens of thousands of tourists visit this town each year to explore the magnificent beauty of the Icelandic nature.

The main purpose of the company is to make complete high-quality products from eiderdown in Iceland and selling and offering them online to a global audience.

Production of high-quality eiderdown duvets and comforters has already started, ranging from small baby duvets to king-sized comforters.

Eiderdown duvet with silk fabric

For local visitors we also offer small 2-gram bags of eiderdown so that they can experience this wonderful material.