What a great time for female entrepreneurs. We are delighted to share with you features and essays written by super entrepreneurs with inspiring careers and businesses that are reshaping our economy and the way we consume. They share their journey, the process it took them to get to where they are now and what they’ve learnt along the way. Welcome to Modern Mentors.
We are on a mission to use consumption to preserve our planet. For me personally, it was about a change in my life and job, but in a wider sense, it’s about changing patterns of how we use materials. I think people often just presume that their wallet or phone case has to be made of plastic, leather or silicon and aren’t really aware that there are alternatives.
Arriving at the train station at 15:21, I was a few seconds late but just in time to watch my train to work close its doors and slowly roll away. Instead of feeling frustrated, I had a moment of lucidity where I came to realize how my life was built around routines and my soul-less work. I began to pick up on an old project and started sketching on new ideas. And that’s how 15:21 came about!
15:21 was born out of a desire for change and stands for breaking patterns.
15:21 was established roughly the same time I was starting my university studies and I must say, the student financing loans granted in Sweden are the best venture capitalist around!
Making things happen
The time after we launched was just so exciting. We focused a lot on B2B sales meanwhile I had no experience in that area. So the strategy had to be simple, just pop in to stores I’d like and start presenting the collection to the staff. It was really inspiring to get out of the office since everyone was so excited about accessories in cork! I think we never missed a sale that way.
We for long had the vision to sell large quantities to distributors but during the journey realized that our product is just too expensive to produce in relation to the recommended retail price. Phone cases is a really competitive industry and cheap plastic cases really have had it’s impact on the margins both distributors and retailers expect. So for now, we are working with independent retail stores as well as with our own channels.
We are on a mission to use consumption to preserve our planet.
The demand for cork has decreased in recent years, as wineries transition to using plastic corks and aluminum screw caps. This does not bode well for Portugal’s cork forests as they are facing deforestation due to the low demand.
By working with cork and finding new commercial uses for the material – we play a part in protecting the forests of Portugal. Cork is always harvested by hand and the oaks are never damaged when removing the bark. In fact, harvested cork oaks absorb up to five times more C02.
After its bark is harvested, a tree must be left for 9 years to regrow its bark, and thus the cycle continues. The trees grow naturally, with no added pesticides, irrigation, or pruning
Fredrik is the founder of the Stockholm-based brand 15:21. With a love for functional minimalist design, 15:21 makes everyday essentials – the things you touch and hold the most (lovers aside) – in natural cork. The concept behind 15:21 is to blend Scandinavian simplicity with nature’s own aesthetics.