When British couple Grace and James had their first child in 2015, their love of Scandinavian design took them on a quest to find baby and child clothing and accessories that reflected their passion for this style. When they couldn’t easily find what they wanted – they decided to solve this problem for themselves and for others too!
The Scandiborn lifestyle brand and online shop was born in 2016, and now their website boasts a wide range of the finest in Scandinavian children’s products, from interiors to furniture, wooden baby toys and doll house kits, and more. We spoke to Grace about building their successful business and passion for Scandinavia…
Hi Grace, tell us briefly about yourselves and the Scandiborn brand!
I’m Grace Tindall, co-founder of Scandibørn and mum to Harry (4) and Mia (1).
We launched Scandibørn in Autumn 2016. It was definitely a combination of factors that came together at the right time to give us the final push to just get on and do it. Maternity leave gave me some much needed headspace to think about my career, the life we wanted to build post kids and it also allowed me to formulate the business plan that I had thought so much about when I was pregnant. Simultaneously my husband, James, got made redundant and we decided (against the advice of pretty much everyone!) to invest the very small pay out, take a leap of faith and go for it.
What is it about the Scandinavia style that you are so drawn to?
We love the whole ethos that surrounds Scandinavian living and interiors. It places value on buying products that will last years and fulfill different needs as our lives change. We’d spent a long time getting our home just perfect and having children seemed to open the door into a whole range of eye sores that I didn’t want lying round our living room. We felt there was a gap in the market for people like us who wanted to be able to create beautiful, playful and stylish spaces for their children that fitted with their contemporary homes.
What are the top trends and items that people are buying at the moment?
For the summer, customers have been buying the Liewood paddling pools, swimwear and beach shoes in droves plus as soon as lockdown hit, our play equipment sold out and has been replenished many times!
Another bestseller currently has to be the wooden toys from a new brand we are carrying called Little Dutch which offers a multitude of items like baby toys, role play, dolls and are available in a range of muted colours – we can’t keep these in stock for long!
A boho trend is still proving popular with our customers in the form of rattan mirrors, cribs, accessories, changing baskets and furniture teamed with Berber style rugs.
There’s been a surge in popularity in Scandinavian design and culture as a whole and not just in the UK, we see this in Australia and more and more in the USA. Unlike other trends, at the heart of Scandinavian design is the creation of long lasting, classics that don’t go out of fashion. It’s definitely changing the way we think about furnishing and decorating our homes in a less disposable way and I think that’s the main reason this won’t just be a flash in the pan.
What has the been the most challenging and the most rewarding thing about setting up the business?
It’s a challenge to stay one step ahead, stand out online and it’s only getting more competitive. Anyone can launch a website and offer various brands but it’s how you curate that offering and the customer experience which will set you apart from your competitors. There is a lot of competition out there but we feel at Scandibørn, we are delivering on having the right mix of brands some of which are exclusive and you won’t find elsewhere.
Also apart from the accounts (which I’m pretty sure everyone dreads!) just being able to switch off from it all sometimes – this is something I find very difficult, it’s like having another child!
I run the business with my husband, James – I look after buying, customer service, social media. James looks after content, goods in and marketing. We then have the different teams – warehouse, customer service, PR, Digital Marketing that report into one of us depending on the area.
My favourite part of the job has to be choosing the products and styling the site. There is nothing better for me than discovering a new brand or wonderful new collection that ticks all our boxes.
You are based in the UK, how often have you travelled in Scandinavia? Tell us about some of your favourite places that you have visited?
We have a few close friends that live in and around Copenhagen so it’s been our go-to summer destination for about six years now.
It was great to meet Grace and we wish them and the family all the best for the future.
Scandiborn is proud to be a UK family run business with a passion for Scandinavian design and culture, that helps small independent businesses and has a sustainable conscience. I would say we have a lot in common! Whenever we have a mini-Minnis we will be sure to shop Scandiborn!