We find out about the online lifestyle boutique that brings the best of Scandinavian-inspired children's design to the UK.

Scandibørn was born from a passion for Scandinavian-inspired design. It is an online lifestyle boutique that brings the best of Scandinavian-inspired children's design to the UK. From contemporary furniture to nursery accessories, homewares and Mama gifts, Scandibørn has it all. Founder Grace Tindall tells us about the business's journey.

What was the inspiration for the company?
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 head space 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.

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 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. Neither of us are actually from Denmark (which is where Scandibørn began – it means Scandi kids in Danish). 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. Regular travels to Scandinavia and searching for pieces for our son highlighted the lack of Scandi-inspired designs available in the UK.

When did you launch the site?
Autumn 2016

What are your greatest challenges?
It's a challenge to 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.

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 a second child!

What's your background?
Previously I was a management consultant for a big US based IT firm. Obviously this is a totally unrelated industry so it took me a bit longer to work out the dos and don’ts of retail. In the same vein that’s given us advantages too – I had to go with my instinct and I used the skills I’d already gained – project management, contract management, delivery to tight timelines and importantly never accepting ‘no’ as the final answer! James' previous experience is in PR and marketing so our combined skill set has worked well when launching the business.

Who do you admire in business?
So many most of whom are not famous – the people I admire all have a special quality which makes you sit back and listen, have integrity and an ability to stand back from it all and see the bigger picture which is one of the biggest lessons to learn when running your own business – it’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day. Famous business person? I’d have to say JK Rowling, she believed in herself and her vision even when no one else did and she didn’t take no for an answer…

Please recommend a website and / or app that helps you promote or run your business or that you simply couldn't live without
I’m a big fan of apps taking out manual effort, if it can be automated we’ve done it - there are too many to name, but anyone going into ecommerce, I would absolutely recommend the Shopify platform, it’s provided us with a brilliant foundation for growth and allows us to make real-time updates without any coding knowledge.

Do you have a favourite business podcast?
The Mixergy with Andrew Warner series is brilliant– it interviews proven entrepreneurs, it's useful to see what has gone well (and not so well) in their journey

What is the best piece of digital advice you've been given in regards to your showcasing/running your business online?
Think about your online store as if you are walking into a physical store. It needs to inspire people, to set their imaginations going, curating your products in a way that showcases them in the best light and guiding the customer through the journey is what it’s all about.

What is your motto?
Do what you love and you’ll never work again…I’ve never ‘worked’ harder than I do for our business but I’ve never woken up thinking I wish I didn’t have to go to work today which is pretty amazing.

Where do you see the business going from here?
Sometimes I would adore to have our own storefront or showroom, the creative in me would love to have the chance to style a physical store, never say never! However what I love about online is that there are no limitations. I’ve been able to create our perfect aesthetic, ensuring our site reflects our brand to the tee and shows off our beautiful products in the best possible way. Customers also get to see our products in different settings and I think can better imagine them within their own homes.

Currently, the AW18 range is our immediate focus but we also have some very exciting developments we’re working on now and although we can’t share too much yet, it’s going to really help Scandibørn to continue to grow!

Have you put your company forward for an award before?
Yes. We have won awards from Junior Magazine for best interiors store (Gold) and Smallish Magazine for best online retailer (Platinum) in 2017.

June 2018