Friday, March 11, 2011

Student Case: Swedishfresh.com



We sat down with Stephanie and Raiha from Hyper Island's eCommerce Program and talked about their project Swedishfresh.com.


Hi! Please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.

We are Stephanie Rydle and Raiha Buchanan, founders of Swedishfresh.com and students of Hyper Island eCommerce Manager 2011 program. Our story starts with Hyper Island, where we first met and the place where we more actively came to express our passion for entrepreneurship, eCommerce and Scandinavian design.



What are you up to right now?

At the moment we are completing our internships, Stephanie is spending her time between Stockholm and New York, and Raiha is spending her time between London and Stockholm. We are also starting up two more eCommerce projects and this time together with our classmate Emil Sonesson, so you could say our timetable is pretty hectic at the moment. Although we have a lot of projects on right now, Swedishfresh.com is our little baby, and no doubt we will look upon the experience fondly, once we are seasoned entrepreneurs.




Tell us about the project Swedishfresh.com and how it came about?

It was fortunate that the eCommerce program encouraged us to explore the possibility to develop and lead our own business. We both had a keen interest in entrepreneurship, and felt that Hyper Island was a safe, and encouraging environment to explore this. We both took this opportunity to explore our passion for handmade products, and Swedish design and to build some kind of eCommerce solution around this. During our research, we could see that high end Scandinavian design was effectively marketed abroad, however the more local homegrown designers were not given the same opportunity. With Swedishfresh.com we feel that we are now able to effectively promote these more local designers.

Although we are constantly learning with Swedishfresh.com, the greatest learning curve happened during the first 3 weeks. Neither of us had any experience with design or development, so there were many long nights learning the basics of both of these disciplines. Alongside developing a business model which we felt was scalable and realistic, securing designers who we felt shared the same values, payment systems, and organizing logistics it was a very hectic period. But after this time, we are proud to say we had our website up in beta. Although it can be agreed it was not the most handsome website, it was valuable to get a lot of feedback from the community, and to learn and build on this.

We are now quite happy with the design of the website, although feel that there are still many improvements to be made. But if you are to keep it in context, that the whole website, was built by two girls with next to no experience, and is making decent sales, it can still be quite impressive.

We have now come to another cross roads with in our journey. Instead of building a website, it is more finding the time to juggle all of our projects alongside our internship. It has meant that we have had to scale back some of our plans, but we feel long term that Swedishfresh.com can be a successful springboard to bring local Swedish designers to the attention of the international market.


Zappos.com is commonly hailed as one of the most successful eCommerce stories. Were they an inspiration?

We would not say that Zappos.com was an inspiration for Swedishfresh.com, although we can agree that their outstanding customer service is legendary and something to aspire to.


What do you think the future of eCommerce holds, say in 2012 and 2013?

Trends for 2012-13? Moving more towards personalization, subscription solutions and eCommerce becoming more adaptive and sustainable in 3rd party environments.


Final question - any tips for people interested in the art of eCommerce?

Tips for people interested in eCommerce? As Yoda says, “Do, or do not... there is no try.”


Thanks you and good luck Stephanie and Raiha!

If you're interested in finding out more about the eCommerce Program and other Hyper Island long term programs - check out our programs site for all the info!

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