Annette Wärnlund and Anneli Klingberg
Tell us more about your agency!
I have been in the business for almost 30 years, I think it runs in my blood as my mother also has had an interior design shop for 45 years and my sister Susanne runs a clothing store in Motala. I have worked with many different brands over the years and held many different positions including agent, employee and export manager. I started my agency 15 years ago and today I work in it together with my colleague, Anette. We complement each other very well, I am responsible for sales and Annette is our customer service and administrator for Joseph Ribkoff in the Nordics. Annette and I have worked together for six years and we have a very nice collaboration.
What type of products do you represent and which market do you target?
I am the Nordic manager for the fashion brand Joseph Ribkoff, additionally, I am an agent in Sweden and Iceland whilst also having agents employed under me throughout the Nordics. I have sold the brand for six years, and five and a half of those years have been through my own agency. Joseph Ribkoff is a fashion brand that designs classic and modern garments for fashion-conscious women, the garments are carefully tailored with a high quality and fit, which has been synonymous with the brand since its inception. We are in boutiques from the north to south and in places that have that “little extra something”. I think it’s a fun brand to work with, mainly because of the unique appearance of the clothes. If someone is wearing Ribkoff, you can see it!
What does your industry look like today and what does the future development look like?
Despite the fact that many feel worried about inflation and the general situation in the world, I choose to be positive! There aren’t as many stores opening as before and many have closed, but that also means that we can work even closer and stronger with the customers and stores that we have today. I also think it is important to promote physical stores to create vibrant city centres where people want to go shopping.
What are your best tips for succeeding in the industry?
Being passionate about the work and the brands you work with is incredibly important. If you work with passion, creativity and optimism come naturally. It is vital to always see opportunities because they always exist. I always have the customer in focus and I am always responsive, I work individually with my customers and it does not look the same for everyone. The stores all work from different pre-conditions and that is something that you have to pay attention to. It is important to think jointly with the customer and to set a plan for how we can develop and do our best together, as well as which individual goals we can set.
What would you say is your biggest asset and your biggest challenge?
A big asset is the unique clothes and the fact that they still feel relevant despite the brand’s long, 65-year, existence. We also work “hands-on” and arrange customer days and fashion shows. I often go out to the stores and help coordinate displays and events where I can promote the brand and give customers a connection to Ribkoff, this brings more value than just letting the clothes hang by themselves in a store. To always be there for the customer and provide fast and good customer service is essential. While we are on the subject, I also want to come back to the importance of having lively city centres and physical shops. It is a good way to attract smaller towns to come into the cities. The challenges are similar for many others, these are uncertain times financially, but as I said, I choose to be positive and see the opportunities instead of obstacles.