Grace Tindall launched online retailer Scandibørn in Autumn 2016. B discusses Grace’s hopes for the company and why she chose to bring gorgeous, luxury clothes, accessories and home items from Scandinavia to British homes
Grace was on maternity leave when she decided to take a close look at her career and the life she and her husband wanted to build now they were parents. A combination of factors (including her husband James’ redundancy) came together at the right time to give them the push they needed to start their own business.
“We love the whole ethos that surrounds Scandinavian living and interiors,” explains Grace. “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. Don’t get me wrong, Harry still has a whole lot of plastic toys, they are just stowed away in stylish storage bags!
“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.
“Before having Harry, I was a management consultant for a big US-based IT firm and because that was a totally unrelated industry, it took me a while to work out the dos and don’ts of retail. But that has 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!
“When I started to build the idea of Scandibørn, the first thing I wrote in my notebook was ‘who are we?’ I often go back to that page and take a look at those words when I’m undecided about choosing a new product or brand. Everything we sell has to knit together with that clean, Scandi aesthetic that we adore. We’ve had a clear focus and ethos from the beginning, we think very carefully about every product we bring into our store and we always ask two questions: would we buy it and does it fit the Scandi brief? If either of those is a ‘no,’ it’s not coming in. We want people to feel inspired when shopping with us and that starts with knowing who we are and staying true to that.
“What I have enjoyed the most is choosing the products and styling the website. There is nothing better for me than discovering a new brand or a wonderful new collection that ticks all our boxes.
“Combining work with being a Mummy is definitely a tough one but I haven’t spoken to any parent that finds it easy. James generally does the school pick up so that I can work a bit longer and then I take time with Harry until bed time. After 7.30, I unwind either with a run (if I’m feeling energetic) or with a glass of red wine… We have a no-work rule after 8.30 that we really try to stick to and we also make sure we always take one day off at the weekend and do something altogether as a family.
“If I had to pick personal favourites from our store, I do have particular soft spots for several of our Danish brands. Cam Cam Copenhagen was the first brand we signed up – their style is classic Scandinavian with a Japanese influence, which makes them and their prints stand out from the crowd. Liewood Design is another favourite, a relatively new brand that is all about simplicity with a playful twist.
“We live in a 1930’s semi, which we’ve spent years doing it up and we’ve almost finished! It’s definitely a mix of styles – of course we have a lot of Scandi elements – light wood, clean lines, string shelving, pastel tones. That’s combined with a love of retro furniture and pops of colour in the right places. We recently bought a Ligne Roset Togo Sofa in bright orange, which looks perfect in our bay windowed lounge. We have also just finished our outdoor studio, which is where we work and it is kitted out in Scandibørn shelving and furniture.
“Sometimes I would adore to have our own shop and the creative in me would love to have the chance to style a physical store. However, what I love about being online is that there are no limitations. I’ve been able to create our perfect aesthetic, ensuring our site reflects our brand 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.
“When I am not working, I’m in a house full of boys, so generally the first point of call is to get outside and blow off steam! We’re lucky enough to live a stone’s throw from some gorgeous woods and we’re a couple of miles from the beautiful Peak District, so we have plenty of lovely walks at our disposal as well as some nice pubs for Sunday lunch!”
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