Sthål makes fantastic ceramics, how did it all start and where are you today?
“Both of us have been involved in ceramics since our childhood in different periods of life. When we got to know each other, we both worked with graphic design in the advertising and publishing world as AD, illustrator and stylist. Helena also worked as a graphic designer of cookbooks. We were both tired of the graphic industry and often talked about starting something new together, such as creating nice rainwear, beach kits etc. We talked about this while making ceramics one day a week. We signed up for a Christmas market in Malmö and sold decorated ceramic hearts and small dishes (an early version of Sthål’s delicacy dishes) among other things. We sold out everything and felt that there was a great demand for our design. Maybe we should develop this! We were introduced to a woman who worked with production for IKEA and other larger companies. She fell in love with our products and offered to coach us. She worked with us for a while and helped us find a factory that could produce a sample collection that we presented at FORMEX in January 2012. The reception at the fair made us dare to invest fully, which we are happy for today when we can celebrate 10 years as a company. We have had a clear strategy with our brand and followed our gut feeling. It has taken time, but we have always felt that it has gone in the right direction. Today, we have found stability, both with our range and new and old customers.”
What does the future hold? Are there plans for expansion to new countries?
“Our largest markets are Sweden and Norway, where we have skilled agents. Australia is also a big market for us. There, we have a distributor who successfully sells to the entire continent including New Zealand. Thanks to the fact that we after a few years invested in participating at international fairs (in London and Paris), in addition to Australia, we also have a number of retailers around Europe and Asia. As we were greatly received at the London fair, we have a hope that sometime in the future we will find a British agent as well as someone who can sell in France. It is required that someone is in place for additional sales. Otherwise, it is mostly in connection with the fair you sell.”
You have chosen to work with agents and distributors, why then and what benefits do you see?
“Our agents and distributors have other good brands that fit with ours and that make them a good entry point for, for us, interesting resellers. Our agents are the best ambassadors for our brand because they like it themselves and use it privately.”
Photo: Annika Nilsson