Meet our entrepreneaurs
Sofia Grödahl has a passion for fragrance and durability
Sofia Grödahl has not chosen the simple way. Through complicated paths, she has founded two innovative companies and a well-thought-out brand that makes the world a little better.
When Sofia Grödahl moved to Sweden from Estonia in 2009, she dreamed of becoming a self-employed person. There were plenty of business ideas, but she was unable to speak Swedish and did not know how it would be practical.
A first thought was to manufacture and sell own soap, but the rules turned out to be too complicated. Instead, in 2010, she started Tvålköket (the Soap Kitchen), an online store with raw materials for hobby making soap, which she thought was lacking in the market.
At the same time, she could not let go of the idea of manufacturing her own product.
– For a long time I had a vision of producing scented candles from rap wax, but I did not know how the product would look or how it would be packaged.
In the autumn of 2013, she met Lisa Hellmér, who was coach and advisor at Go Business. She invited Sofia to the incubator. The Hing brand, which means “soul” in Estonian, was developed there for a year.
The first product was a completely natural scented candle, made from rap wax with a hundred percent organic essential oils and a wooden wick. In addition, in stylish and well thought out packaging.
– I had found out that other scented candles often contain unhealthy fragrance oils so I decided that my light would be as natural as possible. And that it would be locally produced and made by hand.
The combination of design and good content would prove to be quite right in time. Already in the first year, Hing had resellers all over the country and new products took shape in Sofia’s head. At the same time, Lisa Hellmér offered to buy into the company. They started a joint stock company and created the Hing Organics brand. The business has since had a slightly unlikely development, despite a conscious choice to grow in the long term.
– We have also received inquiries from abroad but it will be the next step. A strategy is needed to make it right from the start.
The collection has been expanded with fragrance sticks, soap and a stroll, made according to the same values as the candles. More products and services are underway.
Hing Organics has also received nice publicity in several trendy lifestyle blogs and exclusive interior design magazines.
– It is a lifestyle brand. The target group is conscious trend-sensitive people who appreciate environmentally friendly and organic products in combination with Scandinavian design. We are still quite alone about that.
In parallel with Hing, Sofia continues to develop her business in her second company, Tvålköket. She has created a new web platform and expanded both range and services.
Her big challenge has been to get her companies to work with very small budgets, which has been a conscious choice.
– I never want to do anything with such limited funds again. I have learned a lot, but in a difficult way.
Sofia’s advice is to get in touch with an incubator or to start a self-training course if you have no experience at all of entrepreneurship. Another hot tip is to search for information online.
– Google is the best tool available, with great forums for every industry. Another good thing is to connect with experienced industry colleagues. Most people who are entrepreneurs love other entrepreneurs.
Name: Sofia Grödahl
Age: 32 years
Living: in Piteå
Do: entrepreneur and founder of Hing Organics AB and the Soap Kitchen
Education: Social sciences and education in adult education
Text och bild: Britta Elfving Persson