Did you find your vocation later in life? Shaun Russell certainly did. His belief that a more Scandinavian approach to life is better for all - a proven model of societal and environmental better practice that the world can truly benefit from - led to him founding Skandinavisk in 2012 to spread the word. We discussed his motivation in starting the business ‘later in life’ and the many valuable learnings he’s picked up along the way, whilst building and adapting the business over the past 10 years.
In this educational and insightful interview, Shaun
- Explains the origins of the brand, focusing on the history and importance of candles in Scandinavian culture, and why Skandinavisk moved away from producing a range of regular candles to concentrate on home fragrance and body care to reach a wider audience.
- Describes the many issues he faced when he launched his brand, such as trying to sell products that spanned a range of categories including textiles, ceramics and fragrances.
- Expands on two key mistakes he made: 1) assuming that the brand would sell poorly in Scandinavia and 2) planning to focus on selling direct to consumers rather than via wholesale.
- Discusses the importance of 'pivoting' or changing course in a business when current methods aren't successful.
- recalls how close the business came to failing because of issues presented by Covid-19, and the streams of revenue that kept the business going.
- Talks through the ethical reasons which led Skandinavisk to replace its entire product line.
- Gives a detailed overview of the experience and process of becoming B Corp certified, what it means, and what the ongoing responsibilities are.
- Outlines the scale and purpose of the B Corp Beauty Coalition, of which he Chairs the Supervisory Board.
- Recounts his earlier career history and why he was happy to walk away from corporate life aged 40, as well as explaining the skills he had to learn in his new business life and the importance of mental health and clarity helping you to ‘stay sane’ as you run a business.