Stories

First thousand days of an entrepreneur

First thousand days of an entrepreneur

Today, three years have passed since I took the big leap. From a leadership position at one of the largest companies in Iceland to establishing my own company.

The uncertainty that followed was absolute, I had nothing but a single idea that kept knocking in my head, yet it was unclear to me ​​how to execute it.

A clear vision

But my vision was clear. For a few years I had been looking into how businesses can have a positive impact on both community and environment. I wanted to build a company that gave consumers the choice of environmentally and socially responsible high-quality design products. A company that empowered Icelandic designers.

It was also important in my mind to redefine the relationship we as consumers have towards products for the home. The home should be a place of peace, where we can be ourselves and feel comfortable. It can be full of nature or enriching items that remind you of good friends or good relationships.

 Patience and persistence

The project went slowly at the beginning. I met countless people, designers, engineers, lawyers, ad agencies, manufacturers and retailers, trying to find ways for my idea in collaboration with various parties. I did not think the project was going fast enough and it required a lot of patience and persistence. Many ideas did not work out despite a lot of work, I spent a lot of time exploring the opportunities and disadvantages of different options, the paths forward were so many. Besides, I was upbringing two young children in addition to this new venture. Still, the project was so exciting that I wanted to work all the time. Of course, that was not possible, but I do not know how many weeks or months I spent putting the kids to sleep, and then get back to the computer and work into the night.

First breakthrough

Gradually, the project started developing. Some of the people I met understood what I wanted to do, saw their opportunity in it and jumped on my wagon. And now, three years after the expedition began, I look back and am both proud and happy. We finalized our first product line in collaboration with a talented young designer, Jón Helgi Hólmgeirsson, who designed the Urban Nomad Collection, which have sold more than our brightest hopes. We have reached a stage where our products are sold in 6 stores, of which two are overseas and our next step is to increase the number of foreign retailers. During this time, we have been growing our network of responsible manufacturers who work with recyclable or natural ingredients, such as wood, glass and stone.

I feel that people are welcoming the approach of a company driven by social and environmental values. Responsible production and consumption shapes how we work, from the moment of discussing ​​design ideas to sales and marketing.  We support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular nr. 12 on responsible production and consumption. Usage or utility of the product is also important to me. I discovered that myself while creating my own home that there is a lack of products that promote a healthy, sustainable and natural lifestyle.

Take the leap if you get the chance

There are exciting times ahead. A new product line coming to stores in late summer, participation in international design festivals, and continuous work to add more overseas retailers. I think the idea has proven itself, but now we face the challenge to help the company grow and flourish, because there are still so many things I've not been able to dive into.

To you that have read all the way down here, I would like to say: Thanks for the support during the last 3 years. Whether it was liking us on social media, buying our products or giving feedback to our ideas. If you get the opportunity to execute your ideas that will make the world a bit better, even if it requires uncertainty and insecurity, do it. There are great people around the world waiting to meet you and a lot of good people around you who will encourage and support you. Looking forward to continuing the expedition for the next three years!

Best, Ragna Sara

Photo: Saga Sig