The history of Gotland's beeswax cloths
How it started
It actually started when Sebastian heard about beeswax cloths, and as a first-year student started the company as a small hobby project on the side. He contacted a couple of dealers and quickly got a good response.
It went well at first, but despite the interest from dealers, the training and low commitment from others involved meant that the project ended up on the shelf.
We both (Leo and Sebastian) are childhood friends, and have always had various creative projects going. One moment we've written comic books together and other times we've had to sell cinnamon buns at the train station (the list goes on)
The story continues one day when we were both talking on the phone. We hadn't spoken in a while and thought we'd mostly chat a bit. During the conversation, the idea was hatched if we should take and start something up again, like in the good old days.
Sebastian told about the beeswax cloth project he started on the page and Leo was tagged. Right then and there we decided to go all out on Gotland's beeswax cloths.
We got started
We immediately started working. There was a lot that needed to be fixed. We would make a website, write texts, create social media accounts, actually produce the beeswax cloths, etc. We had no experience with anything related to business, so we simply had to learn on our own.
We immediately realized that we needed a real room, and later moved into a small room of about 12 square meters.
Things were sluggish at times, with uneven sales levels. One day we were on top of the world and other days we scraped together our last pennies.
Even during a sleepless night, Sebastian had the brilliant idea to construct his own machine, which would greatly facilitate parts of the production. After a couple of tries we finally got it together.
Bit by bit, everything started to fall into place. We decided to really try to reach all of Sweden. We started investing in online sales...
...and everything really started to take off
The big turning point was when we enlisted the help of an advertising agency to get our marketing going. It was a big and risky step - but turned out to be the best decision we could have made. The orders started rolling in on the website and for the first time all of a sudden things went really, really well. What we used to sell for in a month, we could now get in a morning. It went better than we could have ever imagined.
It was initially incredibly fun to see all the orders coming in on the website while our social media was filled with enthusiastic comments and likes.
It went so well that it even went a little too well…
The problems arise
We started having problems. We received so many orders that we simply could not deliver within a reasonable time. People had to wait way too long for their packages, and the happy comments turned into questioning and sometimes frustrated emails. When we suddenly had our hands full, there was a delay in responding to the email, which caused the dissatisfaction to spread.
We can honestly say that during this period our customers unfortunately did not receive the service they deserve.
Our small room of 12 square meters was also too small for our level. It was tight, and just couldn't produce enough in time.
It was a tough period to say the least. But we caught up - we thought. When we finally managed to ship all the orders, we thought we could blow our minds. All customers had received answers to their emails, and we went out to celebrate.
But it wasn't that simple.
Over 500 packages never showed up at the customers. We still don't know exactly what happened, but somewhere during Postnord's handling, they disappeared - so we had to resend them once more.
Late deliveries therefore became even later. This also meant that new orders ended up at the back of the queue, which also made them late. It was a tiring period that for a while we never thought would end. We worked day and night to make the business work - yet it never felt like we were getting anywhere.
What made us not give up was that our customers were so incredibly understanding when we explained the situation. The vast, vast majority trusted us to do our best, and gave us their support.
That's what made it so we managed to get through the tough period. We would never have had the strength to fight our way through the chaos if we didn't get the support we did.
How it's going right now
Since then, we have moved into a larger premises with better possibilities. We have also received reinforcements in the factory from extremely talented employees. Customers always get answers to their questions within a reasonable time - almost always within 24 hours.
Now we are growing slowly, and invest in always doing everything properly. A while ago, I even had the honor of being on the list of "103 young entrepreneurs" by the magazine Företagaren, which was a huge honor. You can read more about it here
The goal now is to always do our best so that every customer gets as wonderful an experience as possible! Everything from how the package is wrapped to customer service to the beeswax cloths themselves should be 10/10 - because you win in the long run!
Our plans for the future
Right now we have a number of different projects underway. In addition to improving the basic areas of the business, we look at new exciting products, think about expanding to other countries, and much more.
It was all about us and our history, and how we got to where we are today. Hope it made you want to join us on our journey towards a sustainable future!
Thanks for reading!
/Leo and Sebastian