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Style, innovation & equality

”The Scandinavian spirit” is taking over the world and the last-minute Christmas gift: a subscription on hyped niche perfumes

Plus more on the sustainable footwear brand launch special sneaker with Bungalow5, the skincare clinic expanding their skincare line with acclaimed products – and ”a tingling sensation” – and iconic department store expanding for the first time ever with world-class tailor, 3D-printed shoes and ”art bakery”.

The last-minute Christmas gift: a subscription on hyped niche perfumes

Sniph launched two years ago in Stockholm, Sweden after realising that there was no convenient or smart way to discover and buy new luxurious fragrances online.

– We’ve both been extremely interested and fascinated by scents and how they can immediately lift a mood, says Co-founder Tara Derakshan. We were also frustrated by how you can change your outfits and hair often depending on mood and occasion but not necessarily change your scent so readily due to the high cost of purchasing a full-size bottle. We wanted to give a wide audience of people the possibility to experience and fill their life with a wider variety of scents that are otherwise both hard to find and quite risky to blind-purchase given the price tag.

How would you describe the concept?

– Consider Sniph your concierge for perfume. A discovery service that lets you subscribe to a curated collection of perfumes (we have six different genres to choose from) for €15/month. After that we send you an 8ml carefully selected fragrance from a sought-after perfume house to discover each month, making it convenient and exciting for people to discover new amazing perfumes. The fragrance lands on your doorstep in a black stylish Sniph perfume dispenser that you can easily carry with you throughout the day and when you travel. If you love your fragrance you can order the full bottle via us or re-order it in our shop with your members discount. On top of this, we have an online universe of fragrances that you can try in either 8ml or buy full bottle, that follow the same principle: they have been selected and endorsed by us for their brilliant fragrance composition, style, and brand.

– On a deeper level, our goal is to help people live a more fulfilling life on a day-to-day basis by activating their senses. We believe the sense of smell is underutilised; we want to bring more awareness to the power of scent and how scent can make us feel.

You seem to have quite a growth, expanding to the UK and with a constantly increased interest for your service.

– We are the fastest growing discovery service for fragrance in Europe with thousands of members who are finding new favorite perfumes via Sniph each month, Derakshan says. In Britain, like the rest of Europe, there is a high demand for fragrance, especially niche fragrances and Sniph really fills a gap in the market. We aim to make the shopping experience luxurious and convenient and when you live in a big city you often don’t have the time which makes our expert curation quite convenient. If you live outside a big city, you often don’t have access to the latest and greatest, and all of a sudden via Sniph you too can enjoy the world of fragrance to your doorstep.

– Moreover, since we are a direct to member service, we have a close dialogue with our members and improve our service and the perfumes we choose continuously based on the feedback we receive, which obviously strengthens our relationship with our members, month after month. We love what we do, and do it wholeheartedly, and I think that is felt in our community. Our members are part of something greater than just fragrance shopping. At least that’s the feedback we receive. We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who love the idea and the reviews we receive from members and the press. We’ve been featured on Harpers Bazaar, GQ and the Mail Online to mention a few and were asked as experts to predict Meghan Markles wedding scent for the Royal Wedding, which was very exciting.

And do you experience an even bigger interest now before Christmas?

– Christmas is the time for giving, and we like to consider Sniph the gift that keeps on giving –literally a new perfume every month. Perfume has traditionally been a great gift but as more people are looking for experiences rather than just adding products on their shelves, Sniph has become a popular gift. Instead of buying someone a perfume bottle you give them a perfume discovery experience for 3, 6 or 12 months and extend the Christmas feel all the way to next year. Super fun and popular!

Tell us about the fragrances you’re offering.

– We are an independent scent selector and recommendation service, so we choose brands and fragrances that we believe will fit the preferences of our members, depending on the category/”playlist” they have subscribed to. Currently, we work with niche brands that have a story to tell, like Heeley, Agonist, Miller Harris, Pierre Guillaume, Agonist, Histoires de Parfums, and Etat Libre d'Orange, to mention a few. Today you can choose amongst 45+ fragrance houses and about 300 different perfumes at Sniph.

Give us your own view on the booming niche perfume market.

– The interest for niche fragrances continue to grow, and, in general, there is a greater interest than ever before in fragrances. The concept of a signature scent is outdated and people want to build a fragrance wardrobe for different occasions and moods. With that comes an interest of discovering new types of brands that are more unique and exclusive, something not everyone in your circle has and that doesn’t smell the same as everyone else.

– People use perfume as a way to enhance their identity to a whole new extent. Since people travel more than ever before, they want access to fragrances that are found in different countries, that tell unique stories or can be associated with a memory. The focus has totally shifted from a famous logo to the scent that is placed at the center of the experience. Finding these type of perfumes, and really, any perfume today expensive, time-consuming and, above all, very difficult in terms of gauging which scent is the right fit since perfumes usually need some time on the skin. Our approach is different and our goal is to make this process as fun and delightful as possible for you, to enable you to try a fragrance before you buy it and curate the experience for you.

– Moreover, there has been a shift in the way people consumer products these days that is more experience based overall. A few years ago you could tell the difference between white and red wine, while today you can and want to learn about the graces. Same goes for coffee, gin, and perfume. You want to learn more about it and become more of a connoisseur in your own right. We take our members on a scent journey where not only they can discover new perfumes, but where they also learn about them, what they like and what they are composed of. Basically, we’ve taken a traditional product and turned it into a service which is what you also buy into when you choose Sniph.

Which Scandinavian perfume would you like to highlight?

– Swedish designer and founder of Scandinavian design brand HOPE, Ann Ringstand, launched three fragrances under her own label in 2017. We love the simplicity yet sophisticated approach in her compositions, that are all inspired by different relationships in our lives: the one to ourselves (Ground), the one to our friends (Gather) and the one to our partner in life (Touch). The latter is our favourite, says Tara Derakshan.

Unique multi-brand store highlight the best of Scandinavian jewellery

Herr & Fru Lohse is one of Scandinavia’s most modern and well-known multi-brand jewelry stores. And a highly personalized one, designed by the Lohse couple together with renowned architect Per Söderberg (No Early Birds).

– We have renovated the shop carefully to a store of international dimensions – a jewel studio, characterized by our interest in design, music, and jewelry, says Co-founder Jasminka Lohse. My partner, Mr. Lohse, is also a musician and his grand piano meets the visitors in the entrance. There is a shop-in-shop with Ole Lynggaard and Georg Jensen and a well-known selection of engagement and wedding rings. And also a mix of carefully selected brands such as Shamballa Jewels, Engelbert Stockholm, Baumgarten Di Marco, Lara Bohinc, Maria Nilsdotter, Ebon Li, LINE & JO – and of course our own collections Tainted Love and Tiny Dancer.

Are Scandinavian men good at wearing jewellery?

– In Sweden, it’s still quite anonymous. There is a fear of standing out. Men should use more colour and not be afraid to wear jewellery and accessories. Be a little bit more ”outside the box”.

Which brands do you think we shall follow?

– Apart from our own brands Shamballa Jewels, Ebon Li, and Men Up North.

With a few days to go until Christmas, which are your best gift tips?

– A gold bracelet with a black diamond from our own collection, some colorful bracelets or necklace from Shamballa Jewelry, and scarf jewelry from Ebon Li.

Address: Hornsgatan 43 at Södermalm in Stockholm

Sustainable footwear brand launch special sneaker with Bungalow5

Young Swedish footwear label Stig Percy founded in 2016 in Gothenburg by Paris and London educated designer Mathilde Jansson.

– We are all about producing shoes for a sustainable future without compromising on design, she says. We work with a casual and different take on the classics and a dressed up and smart take on sneakers. Stig Percy started out as a men’s only footwear brand but quickly grew into an androgynous unisex brand.

What's so unique about your concept?

– We have a closed looped production where all of our shoes and all the materials from leather to shoe bags and boxes are sourced and produced ethically around the same area in Portugal. We only work with vegetable tanned leather and with recycled rubber to the extent possible. The comfort is also important to us and our insoles are extra cushioned and anti-bacterial for an extra comfortable shoe. We tend not to work with seasonal collections, our belief is that style and quality is not seasonal. We may introduce seasonal colours or a visiting style once in a while, however, we develop styles that we aim to continue so that you can always come back and get your favourite pair again. As we are a small brand we do what we can and we work towards being as sustainable as we possibly can.

You now launch your collab with world-renowned interior blogger Bungalow5.

– Our love for good, honest and simple Scandinavian design at Stig Percy goes beyond footwear. We want to enhance other talents within the Scandinavian design world that share Stig Percy’s values and vision – and therefore Allan Torp was the perfect match for us. Not only is he a pioneer when it comes to Scandinavian design and pushing the boundaries, but he also has got an entrepreneurial mindset that we hope will inspire other, Jansson says, continuing,

– Allan’s vision when co-designing the sneakers was to create something that felt dressed yet casual in premium whole-grain leather, rooted in the Scandinavian minimalist design culture. An important part of the process was to understand people’s needs and how they live their lives around the world. It became crucial for Allan and to us at Stig Percy when creating a shoe people could live their lives in. The co-design resulted in a pair of unique sneakers made out of premium full grain vegetable tanned leather and recycled rubber soles, available in grey, burgundy, and brown, for both men and women.

What are your future plans?

– In the near future, in 2019, we are going to introduce a range of Goodyear welted shoes for both men and women. We are also working on our first summer shoe that we are really excited about! Our aim is to establish ourselves on the Scandinavian market as your favourite pair of shoes. The future is called sustainability for us as we are always looking at what we can do to be more sustainable, and we are exploring a few ideas on how we can develop our business longterm to be even better as well as innovating.

A 90’s-inspired super-conscious puffer jacket

For this winter, Swedish Brixtol present their bestseller – a puffer jacket – for the first time made in a GRS (Global Recycle Standard) certified polyester quality made from recycled PET bottles. Inspired by the 90’s puffer jackets and hip-hop icons NAS and Missy Elliot, the fit is slightly boxy, while the padding is washable, made of polyester dawn. The jacket is water-repellant and works down to -10, making it the ultimate choice of winter jacket for the conscious city customer.

Iconic department store expands with world-class tailor, 3D-printed shoes and ”art bakery”

A few weeks ago, Nordiska Kompaniet expanded their department store in central Stockholm for the first time. First out was a tailor, NK Skrädderi, run by Frederik Andersen from A.W Bauer & Co, which has gained a reputation as one of the best in Europe – after 150 years in the business. They’re joined by a shoemaker, NK Skomakeri, run by Broken Bird Bootmakers, who offer made-to-measure-shoes using both AI and 3D printing.

The other week, Art Bakery opened their doors, adding another top-class destination for the flourishing bakery scene in Stockholm.

– We have the whole range, including bakery, pastry, chocolate, restaurant, and wine, from breakfast to dinner, says the owner and famous baker Johan Sörberg. And not that many other places in central Stockholm have the production ”wide open” for the guests.

Skincare clinic expand their skincare line with acclaimed products – and ”a tingling sensation”

Akademikliniken Skin Care’s mission is to improve skin health with professional and advanced skincare — all backed by science.

– Beauty by science as we refer it to, says Sarah Lidback, Product and Development Manager.

The story of Akademikliniken Skin Care started in 2005, born from the passion of truly dedicated plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and skin experts, at the highly regarded Akademikliniken in Sweden.

– One can really say that we have genuine knowledge and experience of all the layers of the skin. The products are formulated with unique synergies and actives to treat and correct signs of aging, as well as protect to prevent future skin damage.

This winter, you’ve received great feedback from the Scandinavian beauty industry on your new launches. Give us more on them.

– Pure Clarifying Moist is a product designed to meet up with the demand for more multifunctional products that can treat both signs of aging and at the same time suppress redness, reactions, and breakouts, Lidback says. Skin conditions that often are connected to a more stressed lifestyle, which is very common nowadays. Pure Clarifying Moist is a rehydrating and balancing gel that corrects skin imperfections while soothing redness and irritation. It contains salicylic acid and zinc to counteract impurities and excessive sebum production, for a clear and smooth skin. Niacinamide and botanical extract from tambourissa helps to suppress temporary redness, irritation, and blemishes. Probiotics, panthenol and hyaluronic acid. To improve moisture levels, accelerates skin rejuvenation and support the natural healing process. Powerful antioxidants from squalane and vitamin E prevents free radical damage and premature aging. For a deeply hydrated, refined and flawless complexion. It is a product that works great on all skin types that are in need of a good boost of rehydration and smoothing effect. Of course, it is also very beneficial to prevent those nasty breakouts (and pimples after shaving) and hyperpigmentation. 4% Niacinamide! For many guys, this product will be ”the one and only” solution, as it contains both low, medium size hyaluronic acid and panthenol, they might not need to finish with a moisturizer. In case of a more needy and dry skin I would recommend using a customized moisturizer.

– Pure HydrOxy Mask is a deeply moisturizing face mask with energizing and soothing benefits. Perfect as a calming treat aftershave or when you are in need of some extra moist, or time for yourself. If you, after a couple of minutes start to experience some tingling sensation in your skin, not to worry, this is just the oxygen that kicks in and starts to work. Oxygen is beneficial for strengthening the skin’s own repair system. Bring them bubbles on! It contains boosting minerals and vitamin C that restores skin radiance and elasticity, as well as making your skin soft and dewy. Infused with cell stimulating oxygen microspheres and bioactive botanical extracts and algae to suppress temporary redness and irritation. Hyaluronic acid together with allantoin and squalane optimizes rehydration, protects and promotes improved cell renewal for a more soft, supple and relaxed complexion and renewed radiance.

And will we see any coming launches?

– Yeah, actually already in a week or so, when we release Pure Retin Oil. There is one ingredient that is without any question the most effective on the cosmetic market when it comes to anti-aging effects – retinol. We love retinol,  but at the same time, we are not particularly fond of the side effects, like pimples, dryness, and redness, of the same ingredient. This is one of the reasons why we decided to re-develop our +previous retinol product Pure Repair Night, to something more advanced but with less side effects. A product that even a sensitized skin with a tendency of breakouts and acne might use. Pure Retin Oil is a powerful and luxurious vitamin A oil, enhanced with a natural and super hot bio-retinol called Bakuchiol, hexylresorcinol and extracts from licorice that supports natural skin growth and healthy cell turnover, restoring suppleness and hydration to the skin. Reducing signs of premature skin aging, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration. Quick-absorbing and beneficial lipids from almonds, plukenetia and squalane provides improved delivery of actives and nutrition, making the skin extra soft and smooth. Pure Retin Oil may also be helpful to soothe and prevent breakouts and treat acne-prone skin. The vitamin A comes from a cosmetically graded ester of all-trans retinoid acid. This ester is unique because its capacity to bind directly with retinoid receptors (without the need of metabolic breakdown) and initiates an immediate cell response. This product you will use during night. It is really a superhero when it comes to anti-aging effects. You only need a couple of drops for a few weeks to make an ”oh, my good this is insane” difference. All this without the usual (when treating your skin with retinols) initial period in which one looks like a teenager with a dry and red face full of pimples. Your skin will just look radiant and healthy, directly from the beginning. No fuss there, Lidback explains.

”The Scandinavian spirit” aquavit taking over the world

For Christmas, the Scandinavians enjoy their aquavit (Norwegians and Danes) and snaps (Swedes). Lately, the world’s first aquavit bar, Rastløs, opened in Copenhagen, and a bunch of (especially American) companies are now producing this specialty, spreading the aquavit to the world.

Mattias Balkefors from distributor Arcus, what's so special about it?

– Aquavit is the spirit of the Nordics! Our heritage if you like. In 1531, a Danish Lord by the name of Eske Bille sent a letter to the archbishop of Norway, Olav Engelbrektsson, mentioning ”water called aqua vite which will help all sorts of illnesses”. This is the earliest documented trace of aquavit. Since then it has been a natural part of our food culture and celebrations. Now there is an EU law stating that ”Aquavit needs to be seasoned with caraway and/or dill seeds and the minimum strength must be 37,5% abv (alcohol level)”.

Right now it seems to experience a real hype. Do you agree? And what's the reason?

– I do agree. In these days, people in general and bartenders in particular are extremely interested and picky about their food and drinks. Quality matters! Balkefors states. I think aquavit has been forgotten for a period of time, not getting the attention it deserves. With the rise of for example high-quality gin, aquavit also gets it’s – rightful – place in the spotlight. These two (gin and aquavit) are closely related and you can, in fact,t make a lot of cocktails based on gin with aquavit instead.

And is it the same hype in Scandinavia as well as globally?

– We’re getting there! You often forget to look in your own back yard. We have been so keen on whiskey, rum, cognac and more in the Nordics that we have forgotten about our own spirit. But interest and hype is certainly rising! Aquavit cocktails are getting bigger and bigger, distillers are playing around more with herbs and taste profile. For example, we have Snälleröds Uppsala Akvavit – an aquavit with peach and grapefruit taste. More things outside the box will come for sure and the classic aquavits will get more attention for their legacy and quality.

What's the difference between Swedish snaps and Danish and Norwegian aquavit?

– First of all, let’s settle what makes snaps and aquavit different. Snaps can seasoned with anything and can carry whatever alcohol level as you like, unlike aquavit. Swedish and Danish aquavits are very similar whilst Norwegian aquavit has to be matured in oak casks – in broad strokes, this is what differs them.

– From our portfolio, Snälleröds is a small craft distillery based in Skåne, Sweden with roots back to 1901 when farmers near Snälleröd gathered their leftover crops to make snaps and various spirits. Today we try to create aquavits outside the box and are always ecological.

– Aalborg Taffel first saw the light of day in 1846 when Isidor Henuis created this iconic Aquavit. Since this day it has been the favourite aquavit in Denmark. Aalborg now has a wide range of aquavit and snaps.

– Linie Akvavit is very special. At the beginning of 1800, Jörgen B. Lysholm wanted to sell his aquavit to different parts of the world. He sent a shipment of aquavit resting in old sherry casks with a boat destined for Australia. Unfortunately, the aquavit did not sell as planned and made their way back to Norway. The constant movement of the boat and different temperatures had a huge impact on the aquavit. And to this day, every drop of Linie Akvavit travels on a four-month journey around the world and crosses the equator two times. If you look at the back of the label you will see the dates and which boat that carried the specific cask.

– Linie and Aalborg can be found in many countries, while Snälleröds is – so far – only available in the Nordics.

What's the future for aquavit, you think? Will the hype carry on?

– I think it’s just getting started. We will probably see many new variants and ways to create good and new aquavit, as we have with gin.,, and