The mistake that was a success
It all started in a villa cellar in the autumn of 1999 and at the beginning of the millennium we moved to a red small cottage at the end of the Stockholm archipelago. A great recession had just started with, among other things, a soaring dollar rate. This did not stop Håkan Kjellström from starting the import company Swede Traders Stockholm. The product portfolio consisted of wine accessories and exciting teas with high quality from Sri Lanka and India, among others.
On his first purchase trip in Sri Lanka, Håkan was helped by the Swedish Embassy with a list of possible suppliers. One of the companies was the Dilmah Tea brand. They were very puzzled when Håkan stepped in and said he was going to meet the CEO and talk business.
It was discovered that the embassy driver had gone completely wrong! The CEO still took his time with the Swedish entrepreneur. Today, orders have increased from the initial pallet to the delivery of large containers every month.
Unfortunately, we have not been able to find the driver to thank him...
How did it go next?
Very quickly, the range was streamlined to only tea. Håkan started travelling all around Sweden presenting tea concepts for Sweden's hotel and conference facilities. This was something new and different. How many people had thought about their tea guests before? Very few, he noted.
To manage all purchases from Asia, making customer visits, packing all the orders and continuously keeping in touch with customers who had started buying tea with strange names - it no longer worked. In the autumn of 2003, his first employee joined the business and started to manage the administration, packing orders etc. Today Jessica is still with us, now as Manager Finance & Logistics.
In the summer of 2004, there was no room for more cardboard boxes in the warehouse - which had grown all the way under the desks! The move went to Saltsjö-Boo outside Stockholm but closer to civilization.
In January 2005, additional resources were needed in the form of, among other things, sales power. Ola enters as a partner. The work began by converting the sole Proprietorship into a limited liability company and then it was natural to change the name to one that more reflected the business. Tekompaniet* Swedetraders AB saw the light of day in February 2005. (*= The Tea Company)
August 2006, when the first wholesalers have started selling our products, we needed to review distribution and inventory. This was moved to a third-party logistics company and the office moves to Ektorp Centrum in Nacka. Still outside Stockholm but even closer to the central city of Stockholm.
Today - 14 people
Today we are 14 people and an amazingly committed and professional TEAm where some have been with us for many years. We are still the Scandinavian distributor for Dilmah Tea but you will also find own brands such as Life by Follis as well as the loose leaf tea Selected by Tekompaniet and Follis Classic which is aimed at the public sector.
Since 2016 we are located in Nacka Strand, close to Stockholm city, where you will find us in the tower house in a creative environment.
Yes, it's been an amazing journey. How can we help you to serve a better, more sustainable and tastier cup of tea? Talk to our experts and they'll be happy to assist you in creating a well-functioning tea concept for your business.