Welcome to Knütes
We are a family business with innovative ideas for staying warm and comfortable. Our goal today is still the same as it was when we started out...
"To develop practical, functional, and environmentally sound outdoor and sports wear for both young and old."
While our patented doubleglove® still stands out after 10 years as a true innovation in the field of outdoor clothing, our baby and children's line provides the best in warmth, comfort, and functionality for an age group otherwise widely neglected by other outdoor clothing manufacturers.
Call us crazy, but we simply believe that our kids deserve the same quality gear as we do. And we didn't stop there!
Quality, Design & Ecology
We decided to share our ideas and created Knütes to produce great outerwear the way we wanted it.
The result is environmentally sound production (we use Polartec® 300 Recycled water-repellent fleece - made from at least 89% recycled plastic bottles - and produced locally) and a line of hardwearing products of real quality, which are made to last more than one season.
This year we are offering many news items, as well as continuing to stock your favorite classics. You can always keep up to date with the latest additions to the catalog with our news blogs, or you can sign up to our newsletter. Also, be sure to take a look at our special offers.
As you may notice, some products may be out of stock at various times during the year. As a small and local company, however, we can often produce to order -- so we hope you take advantage of this opportunity to email us with your requests.
As always, hearing your feedback makes us happy and encourages us to make Knütes products even better.
Christian and Penny Eifrig are the co-founders of Knütes, a German-American company that creates quality, creatively-designed, and innovative outdoor wear for all ages, with a special focus on kids. While the young German was working on his MBA at the Free University of Berlin, an adventuresome young American woman was experiencing the collapse of East Germany as a German and History student and as a field producer for NBC News. When the two met in Berlin in the summer of 1990, they continued together at the Free University of Berlin, finishing their MBA and MA, respectively.
While in the process of deciding what to do next, the young couple decided to act upon an idea they had had while taking winter walks in the city. Chris, who is 6’3”, was much too tall for Penny to put her cold hand in his pocket as they enjoyed winter strolls, and hand-holding with mittens on was no fun either. So she developed a design which they patented in over 20 countries which allowed a regular pair of mittens to be converted into a double pouch for warm hand-holding. Shortly thereafter, the original Doubleglove was featured on a “50 States in 50 Weeks” special on QVC, where the young couple sold their first 2000 pairs of mittens in less than seven minutes.
Doublegloves are not only a fun gimmick for pairs, but with the side zippers that double as ventilators and easy-access portals, they are also a great idea for outdoor enthusiasts, whether for runners who wish to regulate the temperature, for photographers who like the quick access, or for skiers who like the warmth and versatility.
Within the first few years in business, the Doubleglove was included in the official merchandise for the Berlin Marathon, the New York City Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, and was also a featured product in the Vermont Country Store. Knütes then moved on to design a comfortable headband and versatile three-in-one neckgaiter (hat and pouch) to complement the mittens.
One year after they had joined together as co-patent holders, the couple also joined together in marriage, celebrating in central Pennsylvania, Penny’s heimat. It was also there that they set up their first relationships with local manufacturers, finally settling on Equinox, a company with good values and employee relations located in Williamsport, PA.
One of the company’s primary ideals is to produce environmentally, using local manufacturers and choosing fabrics from Malden Mills which are made from primarily recycled content, such as the Polartec 300 Recycled fleece made from at least 89% recycled fibres (former PET bottles), when possible. A second production venue was then accessed in south-eastern Germany, close to where Malden Mills set up a subsidiary production facility.
The company changed its focus dramatically in 1999, when upon the birth of their first daughter, Saede, they discovered a new area of demand. After experiencing a dearth of high-quality products for infants and toddlers, Knütes created a new line of high-end outdoor fleece clothing for kids, giving kids the warmth and quality their parents expect for themselves.
As their family grows (adding another daughter, Casie, in 2003), their company grows, and their range of products now includes products for the newborn to XXL adult, from the base layer collection of shirts and underwear in a silk-like Warmtec™ fabric, to pants and shirts in UV-protective Malden Mills Powerdry® technical fabric, to a wide range of innovative ‘grow-able’ Windbloc® buntings, jackets, and overalls for the early years of rapid growth, to mid-layer shirts and pants in Polartec® 100, to outer layers for all ages in Polartec® 300 Recycled DWR and Windbloc® fabrics, to accessories, including four styles of Doublegloves, socks, hats, triangular scarves, hoods, and blankets.
Christian Eifrig, b. April 5, 1965, holds an MBA from the Free University of Berlin, and was formerly the head consultant for the SCC-RUNNING merchandising department for the Berlin Marathon.
Penelope (Penny) Eifrig, b. April 20, 1968, holds a B.A. from Cornell University, and an M.A. from the Free University of Berlin. She postponed work on her Ph.D. in History to have time for her family. She also heads the translation company, Eifrig Translation, the publishing company, Eifrig Publishing, and an online travel portal, 'Going Places'.
The family commutes between Lemont, PA, where the children primarily attend school, and Berlin, Germany, where they spend 4-5 months a year.
Knütes is part of Eifrig Enterprises, a group of family ventures which also includes ecology-minded consulting, publishing, and translation.