Scandinavian simplicity at Christmas - Nordic Designs
Inside her garage in rural Victoria, Cecilia Holden spends the majority of the year preparing her business for the Christmas rush. All manner of specialty Scandinavian home wares and gift wares are spread across her immaculately curated workbench.
Nordic Designs is predominantly an importer and wholesaler, which means Cecilia has spent a good deal of her time showing stock at trade fairs to find out what will become popular for the season.
“It’s about buying wisely… I don’t really invest too much in stock until I have been through a trade fair or two to see if this is a product range or a particular product that is going to go.”
Video: Image of Cecilia and her daughter at a work bench full of Scandinavian decorations. Mother and daughter at a work bench, packing boxes, handling Scandinavian decorations, packing them in protective bubble wrap
Cecilia: Hi, I’m Cecilia Holden, my company’s Nordic Designs,
Video: Cecilia talking to camera, overlay images of various Scandinavian homewares and decorations
Cecilia: and we focus on import and wholesale of Scandinavian homewares and gift wares. So I start working on Christmas already in April. So we basically have a nonstop run till end of December working with Christmas decorations. If you start an online business, you can start from anywhere today.
Video: Cecilia talking to camera, followed by overlay footage of Cecilia packing gift wares into bubble wrap, organizing stock, and assembling wooden decorations and homewares with her daughter
Cecilia: My first online store I started in 2008, but it was very complex, complicated. So I was looking for my next site to be something I could self-manage, that’s really really easy, and I took up the advice of using Shopify. So I can just click on a button on a product and then I just have to do a few tweaks and then it’s ready, it’s live.
Video: Alternating imagery of Cecilia talking to camera, and taking photos of her stock.
Cecilia: And the thing about online stores is that you’ve got to be aware that people can’t touch and feel the product, so good product description is necessary, and you have to have really good photos.
Video: Alternating imagery of Cecilia talking to camera, and assembling wooden decorations and homewares with her staff member.
Cecilia: I’m not scared anymore, no, of making mistakes, because first of all I think I’ve done them all in the past, and secondly it’s about buying wisely. So most companies these days are happy to provide you with just samples because I’m an importer wholesaler most of all, so I don’t really invest too much in stock until I have been through a trade fair or two to see is this is a product range or a particular product that is going to go. If it’s not going to go, I won’t bring it in.
Video: Alternating imagery of Cecilia talking to camera, and packing orders into bubble wrap and Parcel Post satchels.
Cecilia: I’ve been in business for so many years now and the local post office they know me quite well. Since I moved, this is home; it has become my local, my everyday social life. When we have bigger orders we then use the service of StarTrack Express coming to collect here on our premises.
Video: Alternating imagery of Cecilia talking to camera, an image of the Nordic Designs logo, and overlay images of Cecilia’s running her business end to end, from working at her desk, assembling the items, attaching ‘Made in Sweden’ stickers, and packing the orders ready for shipping.
Cecilia: My advice is if you want to start your own business is that you’ve got to be prepared to work really hard. And I’m not just saying work hard because everyone thinks they do that. But you’ve got to be prepared to live, breathe, sleep and eat with your business 24/7.
Video: For beautiful Scandinavian gifts and homewares, visit nordicdesignshome.com.au
With her Christmas products on the table behind her Cecilia gave us her top tips for running a small business from home:
- You can start your business from anywhere.
An online business means you can work from anywhere in the country, including your home like Cecilia. Along with access to a local Post Office and street posting boxes, you have the tools you need for your own business.
- Work hard and be prepared.
Cecilia starts working on her Christmas plans from as early as April that year so she’s prepared for the Christmas rush.
- Find a pre-made online store.
Cecilia uses Shopify for hers, not one built from scratch. She finds it cheaper and easier to manage as well as having the ability to get products live quicker.
- Make sure your online store has great product images and descriptions.
Customers don’t have the ability to pick the items up to take a closer look, so make sure you use great photography and be descriptive to compensate.
- Buy wisely – Order samples before investing in large amounts of stock.
Cecilia gets her samples and decides which of those will be the most popular before she invests in larger amounts.
This isn’t Cecilia’s first time in business and she jokingly says she’s made all the mistakes already. For her, Nordic Designs had to be a simple business and one she could self-manage from her home.
Cecilia’s passion for Nordic Designs is as evident as her products are adorable but she’s also extremely pragmatic.
“My advice is if you want to start your own business is that you’ve got to be prepared to work really hard. And I’m not just saying work hard because everyone thinks they do that. But you’ve got to be prepared to live, breathe, sleep and eat with your business 24/7.”
For beautiful Scandinavian gifts and home wares, visit nordicdesignshome.com.au.