There's a lot of talk of hygge (the auto correct desperately wants it to spell higgle!) around at the moment. In case you've been on another planet, higgle, no hygge is (roughly) the Danish word for cosiness and it is one of the words of the year apparently. It's pronounced hue-gah and I'm sure the Danes think we must be crazy with our latest obsession with it, as to them it's just a normal part of everyday life, like having a cup of tea. With the Danes often classed as the happiest in the world (despite their long cold winters) we looked into hygge a bit more as we could all do with a bit more happiness and positivity in our lives right? Hygge is comfort, contentment, indulgence. Christmas is prime hygge time - friends, family, eating and drinking. A big cosy hug of niceness, thats what we all need right now in this crazy unpredictable world we are living in! To celebrate hygge we thought it would be nice to talk about a new Scandinavian influenced business that we have been following called Scandibørn. I think it delivers a nice big warm hug with all their beautiful product and lots of gorgeous things to buy kids and adults for Christmas on their website.
We did a little interview with Grace, who owns and runs it and a little selection of our top picks for Christmas....
So tell us a bit about Scandibørn - who are you and why did you set it up?
Hi, firstly thanks for having me on your blog! So, I'm Grace, mum to Harry, married to James. I'm a born and bred southerner who married a northerner and now we live in the beautiful city of Sheffield. We've always loved Scandinavian design, our house is filled with it. When we started to plan the nursery we struggled to find everything we wanted in the UK, that we found so readily in Copenhagen (If you ever visit, Illhums Bollighus, is my dream store - allow at least 2 hours for browsing!). So that was the catalyst combined with a realisation that with a baby on the way we couldn't both continue to work 7 til 9 Monday to Friday for big corporations, so we took the plunge and Scandibørn was the result.
What are your favourite pieces and what always sells well?
I have a real soft spot for Cam Cam Copenhagen as they were one of the first brands we signed up - they have an amazing selection of blankets, quilts, bedding, music mobiles, toys all made from super soft organic cotton, responsible sourced with a beautiful colour palate (think greys, mints, blush and nude), the neutral tones do particularly well as they can be used for boys and girls. The world rug and the Adventure rug from Danish brand OYOY are two of our best sellers - they tick all the boxes, fun, stylish and practical.
Our new range of Oliver Furniture which has arrived recently - the most beautiful oak cots, junior beds and bunk beds, classic Scandinavian styling and a clever design which means you can extend the cot into a Junior then adult bed. In Scandinavia the philosophy is on designing an item that will last and or can be passed down and reused, I think in the UK we are seeing this more and more in our buying decisions.
The You've got this mama mug and Mama & Papa gift packs have been flying off the shelves - more about the inspiration behind those further down.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
So many places - travelling to different cities inside and outside the UK, Nordic designers, magazines (Kinfolk is my favourite), books (reading the Step Up Club at the moment), our customers, all the wonderful Instagram accounts and I suppose my experience of being a mum who wanted to maintain some of my own identity in our house, post kids.
What do you think sets you apart from the other homeware/design/ interiors websites and why should we shop from you?
Two main things I think...
1. The customer is at the heart of our company, we want to create an amazing shopping experience for everyone that visits our site...from finding the most exclusive products to a uncluttered, easy to navigate website, to handwrapped gifts and a range of delivery options. We're always going that bit further to make sure we provide the best service.
2. Extending beyond interiors, our customers want to be able to buy clothing, gifts, nursing cushions, toys..etc alongside and often at the same time as all those lovely interior products. It's important to me to be able to offer those different options, especially useful at Birthdays and Christmas when you may be looking for lots of different things but you want them all to have that same contemporary style.
We love your new mum and dad gift sets - what's your best piece of advice for a new parent or parent to be?
Thank you! My one piece of advice would be...be kind to yourself, trust the process & don't be afraid to ask for help (sorry that was 3 pieces wasn't it!). I spent the first 4 months feeling utterly rubbish after having Harry - he arrived 5 weeks premature and after a difficult first few weeks I just couldn't understand why I wasn't enjoying being a mum. I was constantly stressed out, feeling guilty about pretty much everything, becoming a mum just wasn't fitting in with my old organised, productive, efficient self! Once I realised that I needed to stop pretending I was ok and in control of everything on 3 hours sleep a night it became instantly easier...I lowered those unrealistic expectations and that definitely helped a lot. My own experience of post-natal anxiety was the starting point for sourcing the You've got this mama mugs, its so important to be reminded of what an amazing job you're doing especially when you don't necessarily feel it yourself. I still have my morning cuppa in mine every day!
What are the biggest challenges you face running your business and being a mum? How do you get a good balance?
I suppose like any working mum just the endless demands on your time and not always knowing if you're making the right decisions with work vs family life. We are very lucky that we have grandparents that travel to help us a couple of days a week and a fantastic nursery which Harry has settled at. I work long hours a lot of the week and I do travel sometimes which means I miss bed times and get ups and nursery drops offs but the rest of the evenings I am around I'm pretty much 100% Harry focused until he's in bed. Most Friday's I take the day off and we'll go into town for brunch, shopping etc which is our quality time. Sunday's we almost always spend altogether, we love to get out into the peak district for a long walk and mandatory pub lunch!
What's next for Scandiborn... any exciting new products, pop ups or collaborations you want to share?
So much has happened since launch. We have over 40 brands in store now with more in the pipeline. We are expanding our Mama range as its something our customers are asking for and we will be the first UK stockist of BBHugme pregnancy and nursing pillows landing very soon. We are also starting working with Little Green Sheep and will be stocking the amazing Snuzpod in the not too distant future. There are also a few collaborations in the pipeline...but nothing I can reveal just yet!
Thanks Grace, keep up the good work, we love your website!! Here are our top picks from Scandibørn, some great ideas for Christmas...click the images to shop x