Klinta sells natural candles and skin care products. Their signature product is a massage candle – a scented candle that can also be used as body oil.
By displaying their products at trade fairs, Klinta started to attract attention from other countries. They saw the potential to spread the Swedish light beyond the borders of the country. At the same time, they were aware that they needed help to grow global sales. Among other things, it was difficult to find and choose good business partners.
Klinta signed up for Business Sweden's business development program Steps to Export (now Online Steps to Export) – and soon enough, their international sales showed excellent results.Resist the temptation to cooperate with the first possible business partner that comes your way! It is so important to get to know new partners – we want collaborations where everyone is involved.
In 2006, Lisa Stevens moved back to southern Sweden from England with her husband and children. In Klinta, located in the county of Skåne, Lisa's parents ran a garden centre with organic vegetables, lush flower gardens and a café. This is where Lisa opened her gift shop.
As soon as the shop was up and running, the business hit the roof. They had more than 50,000 visitors just over the summer months. Lisa noticed that many guests wanted a souvenir to take home. Together with a friend in England, she came up with the idea of the Klinta candle. The scented candle draws inspiration from nature – the lakes, the forests, the meadows and the vegetable gardens. The candle is made with oils that are so mild that they can be used as a warming body oil while the candle is lit.
Klinta exhibited their products at Formex and other trade fairs, and had a lot of attention from around the world, including from Japan. But how would they find suitable partners?
“Resist the temptation to cooperate with the first possible business partner that comes your way! It's so important to get to know new partners – Klinta is a personal company, and we want collaborations where everyone is involved,” Lisa Stevens says.
An acquaintance recommended Business Sweden's business development program Steps to Export (now Online Steps to Export). Lisa and her husband Simon were sceptical. They had signed up for other similar courses in the past, but had not found them very useful. In the end however, they decided to give the program a chance. Already after the first meeting, they were impressed:
“We learned so much. The material was of high quality, and the structure with meetings every other month together with other companies worked very well. The companies were well matched. There was no competition between us, so we could talk about everything openly,” Lisa says.
At the Formex fairs, Klinta had made a few Japanese contacts and they decided to investigate that market further. Business Sweden's office in Japan helped them to carry out market research on their products in the Japanese market. "It was really valuable," says Lisa. “The survey gave us useful feedback on things like our packaging and labels. We realized that the Japanese market is very cautious about who they do business with. It was important for them to make sure that Klinta is financially stable and has good prospects, for example.”
Another insight from the business development in Asia is to expand little by little. "It’s not possible to enter the whole of China. It is better to start with a few districts, evaluate the progress, and take it from there."
Lisa's best tip for companies that want to grow globally is to sign up for Steps to Export: “The program equipped us with tools that we still use on a daily basis. Our export adviser at Business Sweden has been fantastic, and we can still call her for advice any time. It was top quality from start to finish.”
Everyone who participates in Steps to Export are asked to set up a goal. Klinta hoped to grow their export turnover by 200%. At the end of 2018, the figures showed an export turnover of 2.6 million – which corresponds to an increase of 400% compared to 2016.
To meet the growing demand, Klinta has employed another three people and expanded its business with three new buildings in Skåne and one in England. In other words, business is blooming like never before!
Klinta was founded in 2006, when Lisa Stevens and her family moved back from England to Skåne in southern Sweden. Their product range consists of natural candles and skin care products, including the classic Klinta candle, which can be used both as a scented candle and as a massage oil.
The company has ten employees and recently built new premises in both Sweden and England.
Klinta continues to grow internationally and has invested in both new staff and new premises in Sweden and England.