“You don’t have to live up to the romanticized view of entrepreneurship – it isn’t about working 14hrs a day whilst waking up at 5AM running 2 miles before work and then somehow squeezing in time with friends and family in between.”
Amanda Larsson and Calle (Carl-Gustaf) Rosengren started their company named Färsking in high school. Today, we can find their products in almost every Swedish supermarket; Willys, Hemköp, COOP, ICA MAXI, City Gross etcetera. Lundtan had the honor to hear about Färskings history, and about the young entrepreneurs behind the company – whose success is an inspiration to us all.
What is your business idea?
We make healthy food, aimed at the youth.
Who are you behind the company?
I’m Calle, Founder & Head of Marketing, and I founded the company back in 2016 with the CEO of the company, Amanda Larsson. We’re both 23 years old, and have been running our company since we graduated from high school.
How was the idea for your company born?
We founded the company initially as part of a class in Young Entrepreneurship back in 2014. Back then we had realized there was a need to provide healthier products targeting young people, especially within cereals and granola. Either products were made for adults, stale and boring but with pretty good nutritional values or they were made for kids, with cartoons on them but with loads of sugar and barely any other nutrients. So we decided to combine the best of both and make a youthful product with no added sugar, no additives and no sweeteners.
How and where are your products produced?
A granola is an oven-baked muesli that’s a lot crunchier. We produce them in Denmark.
How did you come up with the company name?
Färsking is Swedish slang for rookie, often used negatively to make fun of someone who has no clue what they’re doing. We felt it symbolized both us as entrepreneurs as well as our target audience where it is naturally connected to their age. We firmly believe that the natural naivety that comes with being a rookie is a big strength allowing you to see new perspectives and tackle challenges others with experience might not.
What are you the most proud of so far?
Having our granola in over 1 200 stores and becoming a growing brand nationwide is really cool. For the past year I have been able to really notice firsthand how more and more people know and enjoy our granola, which has been surreal.
Has your young age benefited or disadvantaged you, and how?
I think it has mostly benefited us. Being open and honest about our young age as part of our brand has created, believe it or not, more trust in our mission to change the industry. It has also given our product promise more weight I think, as people find authenticity in our vision. Not having 15 years of industry experience has its mix of benefits and hinders. It has definitely paved the way for us to challenge traditional thinking and not knowing what tasks lay ahead has probably been a strong source of energy to keep pushing forward. Starting a company at 18 does mean that we had basically no funds and no network however, so that took time to build.
What are your visions for the future?
We aim to be a household brand in Sweden, as well as launch our products internationally starting with the goal to be a Nordic brand by 2023. We will keep launching new products starting within the breakfast space and along the road looking at on-the-go and snacking as well.
Tips for Lund University’s future entrepreneurs
What is the most important thing to think about in order to succeed in founding or running a successful business?
Longevity. You overestimate what you will accomplish in a year and underestimate what you can do in five. Creating a successful business takes a lot of time, and you will have tonnes off highs and lows. Endurance is key.
Is there anything you wish you knew before starting a business?
You don’t have to live up to the romanticized view of entrepreneurship – it isn’t about working 14 hours a day whilst waking up at 5AM running 2 miles before work and then somehow squeezing in time with friends and family in between. You have to build a sustainable lifestyle around your project that allows you to keep going in the long run, whatever that might look like for you personally.
Have you encountered any obstacles along the way?
Oh yes. So many. We launched our first product test without a barcode and had to put them on as stickers manually. We had misprints on our first batch, corrected it and launched an updated packaging now with a new misprint. We’ve had employees come and go. We launched an OatSmoothie that we had to discontinue due to COVID-19. Running a company can at times feel like just putting out fires full-time. Learning to not get too caught up in the swings of the highs and lows, but rather keeping your head cool for whatever may come our way has been a huge lesson for us both.
How important is it to involve an environmental/ethical mindset in the business idea?
Depends on what business field you are in. However, the higher rate you can involve these factors into your business idea the better. It will always be an asset for you both towards consumers and investors to be forward thinking in these questions.
Do you have any general tips for young people who want to start their own business?
Get going. The experience will be invaluable no matter the success rate of your business. Starting a business young is many times also lower in risk as you might not have a family that depends on your income (fully or partially), and so you can weigh the economic risk entirely on yourself. But mostly have patience, everything takes a lot longer than you think.
Warm thanks to Carl-Gustaf Rosengren for sharing your story and tips.