In Fränsta, not far from Sweden’s official geographical centrepiece, lives an energetic entrepreneur called Sara Stierna. Opposite from almost everybody else she has bucked the depopulation trend and moved 1000 km from south to Mid-Sweden. She lives in a cosy little house at the countryside with a dog and two horses at her yard.
Sara is educated in design at Mid Sweden University and 2010, a few years after graduation, she started her own company Stiernform. The company is doing graphic design, both digital and printed. Lately she has also started to give online courses for an organisation called Moderskeppet. That’s something new for Sara, but she is absolutely not afraid of new challenges. The first course she held was about creating a webpage in Adobe Muse and now she is working with her second course, in typography.
– I go there for a week to record, Sara explain.
And she’s got great feedback from participants.
Except from design she has a big interest in developing the countryside and she work part time with tourism in her neighbourhood. A few years ago, while working at the tourist office she started to think about an idea of a new web shop. Right through her neighbourhood there is a unique pilgrim hike called S:t Olavsleden. It’s one of the world’s northernmost pilgrim trails, it goes from coast to coast and through two countries. But there were no souvenirs to buy.
When walking 60 kilometres of the trail herself, she became surer about her idea to create a web shop and sell products related to the trail.
Two years ago she tried her idea on two hikers, and when she got positive support from them she decided to start. The summer 2017 she was ready to open the shop. Her first own product was a calendar with nice photos from the hike. She’s also a retailer and sell other people’s products. The bestsellers are guidebooks and pilgrim passes.
– Of course, I was hoping to sell a lot right from the start but that’s not how it usually goes. It takes time to build up something like this. I have sold for around 1900 € so far.
It’s much to think about when you set up a web shop and Sara has learned a lot during the process! Here is some of her advice:
• If you sell other people’s products, think about the profit for yourself. How much profit do you need and what kind of agreement is necessary?
• What kind of payment will you use? Some of the solutions will cost you quite a lot every month.
• How will you solve the freight? You need an agreement with post office or a shipping company.
• What kind of shop do you want and which solution suits best? Tictail and WordPress is just two examples to choose from. But be aware, some of them can charge a lot every month.
Do you think you will have big turnover already in the beginning? Then you can probably handle all the fees, but Sara thinks it’s best to start small before you sign up for big monthly fees.
Even if Sara sell for a limited amount she is positive and hopeful!
– There is so much more we can do; the trail have big potential. Around 300-500 people walk the road every year, but it can be much more! Pilgrimage are big in Spain, so why couldn’t we attract more hikers to S:t Olavsleden?