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Style, innovation & equality

Born in the mountains

Jesper Rönnbäck has built his brand based on ”logical skincare and no fuzz”. His latest move is a comprehensive sustainability project for the company’s factories in the heart of Sweden.

Words: Johan Magnusson Photography: Pär Olofsson

Recipe for men was founded in 2002 by guys that had a penchant for skiing and an active lifestyle. Olympian Jesper Rönnbäck, a professional mogul-skier and Swedish free ski pioneer, became friends with his business partners, Jesper Matsch and Mikael Snabb, through a mutual love of sports during college.

— Although not a typical topic of conversation, the idea of men’s skincare came up out of necessity, he explains. Skiing in the mountain areas of northern Sweden can be extremely hard on your skin, especially during the long winters when the air is freezing cold and really dry. Actually, the same goes for city life here in Stockholm.

The goal became to formulate effective products that had high concentrations of active ingredients, smooth textures, and subtle fragrances.

— After almost three years of perfecting the formulas, Recipe for men launched in 2004 with its signature red and Scandinavian design that we continue to have today.

Today’s range pretty much covers all the needs for a modern man of today. The brand also includes two special lines: Raw Naturals Brewing Company, with a distinct natural profile reminding of a microbrewery for skincare, and c/o Recipe for men, offering highly efficient products, tailor-made for pharmacy distribution.

Your retailer list includes Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason in London, Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and Printemps in Paris. What’s so unique about the brand?

— To be honest, I don’t know, says Rönnbäck. I think the main reason behind the success is that we make products that keep what they promise and actually deliver tangible results. We always listen to our customers and try to develop products that men really need – not products that some marketing department has dubbed the hottest trend of the year. ”Logical skincare and no fuzz” are the words we use to describe our brand. We’ve developed and tested the products in the north of Sweden where winters are long, dark and extremely dry and designed a skincare line with exceptional moisturizing, nourishing, and energizing properties.

The production and logistics sites are situated right in the middle in Sweden, often called the ”most Swedish province in Sweden”, with two factories in Borlänge and Falun in the Dalarna region. CEO Johan Mattsson’s biggest focus today is sustainability and lowering climate impact.

— Over the last few years we’ve developed our processes concerning energy, water, and waste, he says. We’ve decreased our power consumption for every kilo we produce by more than 70% in five years. Today, we use 100% renewable energy and a completely closed-loop waste system with zero emissions which also takes care of all the wastewater in a special tank. We’re certified by Ecocert Cosmos Organic and have all the relevant ISO certifications within sustainability. Our most important coming measures will be to reach a bigger share of green transport, make the logistical flow more efficient, and use less plastic in our packaging. We’ve also just initiated a major solar panel project for our factories, which feels very exciting.

While the business is growing every year (and the Raw Naturals line stands for a big part of it, it is thriving in Europe and in the U.S.), so is the range. Last year saw the launch of many new products, where Rönnbäck considers the Anti-redness gel being the most exciting.

— It helps to reduce several types of redness problems – like post-shave redness, UV-induced redness, and flare-ups. Men are really sensitive about blotchiness, so we are pretty sure it’s going to be a success. Our new beard and hair styling concept is also exciting. It’s a new market segment for us which makes it even more interesting. And this year we are finally launching an anti-perspirant deodorant stick to follow up on our multiple award-winning anti-perspirant roll-on. We have been working on this product for like an eternity, so it better be very good.