Eco Life Scandinavia (ELS) – the Nordic region’s leading sustainable living event – has launched a new virtual interview series called ‘Fika with’.

Over the coming months Fika with will broadcast in-depth discussions between Melina Viking, event manager of ELS, and high-profile personalities in Scandinavia’s natural and organic sector. In Swedish, ‘fika’ means the cultural custom of ‘having a break in your day, having a cup of coffee and perhaps a piece of cake’, according to Viking; it’s a ritual which brings friends and colleagues together to relax and converse.

Launched Fika with on 23 April, Viking kicked off the new series by interviewing renowned Swedish organic beauty expert Emma Bergqvist, founder of Tree of Brands, chair of NOC Sweden and 2018’s number one in the Who’s Who in Green Beauty Scandinavia. With over 20 years’ experience, Bergqvist’s career spans the breadth of the green beauty industry, from her qualification as a licensed organic skin therapist to her former role as marketing manager and spokesperson for Weleda Nordic.

Here, Bergqvist comments on how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted Tree of Brands and the ways in which consumer priorities have shifted in the Nordic market.

“It has been a different year for us. In the beginning we saw that many, many salons were really suffering from the situation and we lost some customers and clients. After a while … the physical stores were going down. In the meantime, online sales were increasing. After the summertime we could see that the trend was going up again. The salons had survived. They were standing strong. Of course, we took some decisions that weren’t planned – nothing big, no huge changes. We started up a logistic centre in the middle of the pandemic. That was a success. There are many advantages to having control over the heart of your business.

“To summarize 2020 I think we have tried to listen to the needs of our clients, to listen to the needs of the end consumers and try to meet that. I can also see that … people aren’t spending a lot of money on travel, we are staying in our homes, we aren’t buying fancy clothes, we are taking care of our health and our skin is also part of our health. The organic trend is growing; the awareness of organic products, organic skincare as well, is increasing. I think it has to do with the pandemic situation. We had double digit growth last year. It’s really amazing, we’re so thankful. We have also had the chance to hire new co-workers … they are really contributing to the common growth and to our company so for me that’s really positive. We have huge plans for the future.”

We have one life, we have one planet

Bergqvist reported that almost all brands in the distributor’s portfolio saw an increase in sales during 2020, with a particular emphasis on facial care treatments, masks and sun care. “Maybe they bought their sun care products in Sweden instead of in other countries.”

In the long-term, Bergqvist said she foresees the pandemic having some positive effects on the industry. “I am very sure that people have evaluated their consumer behaviour, their way of living. On one hand, people have more money to spend, they have more interest in their health. I think that [people will] pay more attention to sustainability and to what’s really contributing to this planet in a good way … and also maybe be a little bit more careful how you consume and what you consume and what the effects could be. On the other hand there are people now suffering from a financial point of view … they don’t have the money to buy maybe what they bought before. So I think we have two groups here. Overall, I think that sustainability will be more in focus. We have one life, we have one planet – this is what we’ve got.”