In Sweden, the two companies Fagerhult and Löfbergs probably know more or less everything about one another. In the UK however, the two SCC Members haven’t always been as enlightened as they are today. Last year, when Fagerhult started developing their concept of the ‘fika box’, they knew that a key ingredient in the box had to be Swedish coffee. So, Fagerhult decided to approach the SCC network to find a coffee provider, and not long after, the collaboration between Fagerhult and Löfbergs commenced. The LINK met with Scott Allen, Head of Marketing, and Marianne Trotta, Marketing Manager, at Fagerhult, and Min Lee, Marketing and Sales Executive at Löfbergs, to talk about their businesses, the fika box, and how the collaboration came about.
Bringing people together is at the heart of their businesses
Fagerhult and Löfbergs are two very different companies, especially in terms of what products they offer. However, one thing the two companies have in common is the desire to create a better everyday life for their customers. For Löfbergs, it is all about providing an outstanding coffee experience. Min from Löfbergs says: “The heart of our business is to bring great-tasting Swedish coffee to the UK. With more than 100 years’ experience in roasting coffee at our roasting house in Karlstad, Sweden, our goal is to share that knowledge and that passion for coffee with our customers.”
For Fagerhult, it has always been about creating a lit environment that not only facilitates the day to day life, but also helps to improve the overall experience of users of the space. Scott says: “When you think about Sweden, it’s a country that is defined by extremities, like darkness and light, which is one of the reasons why light is such an important part of the culture. If you think about fire, the original light source, it’s always been used very practically for keeping animals away, or to cook food, but fundamentally it brings people together. For us, it’s always been about creating a lit environment where people’s lives are facilitated every day. This light can help people and it can improve their lives”.
Creating the fika box
“The idea for the fika box originally came about from one of our sales engineers who used to go out to see a lot of architects. Architects are notoriously difficult to get a hold of and it’s hard to get into an architects’ practice. What the sales engineer found was that it was always way easier to reach the architects when he brought cake. Since we’re very fond of the idea of fika we decided to develop the idea of the fika box - which is basically just giving people the opportunity to enjoy a fika moment in a box!” says Marianne.
In the fika box, you find everything you need for a proper fika moment; cinnamon buns, coffee and a card which explains the concept of fika. Marianne emphasises that as a company, Fagerhult is big on collaborations. So, when they wanted to find a Swedish coffee provider, the SCC network felt like a natural starting point. “For us it was important to work with a Swedish business, a Swedish coffee provider for the fika box, and it was through the SCC that I found out about Löfbergs. We were very happy when Löfbergs agreed to work on this and to help promote the concept, and what the whole fika box is about. It’s also fantastic that the coffee package works beautifully in the box,” says Marianne.
For Löfbergs, it was always a given to collaborate with Fagerhult on this project. “Fika is at the very heart of our business. Not only do we want to encourage more of us to fika here in the UK, but also to educate more people about what the concept of fika truly means. In that light it felt like an obvious choice to collaborate with a fellow Swedish business, so that together we can help spread the message,” Min adds.
Promoting the concept of fika in the UK
Marianne explains that it was important for them to include a fika card in the box so that people would understand what it was all about. She says: “The concept of fika is actually widely unknown in the UK”. Marianne and Scott explain that at Fagerhult, they firmly believe that everyone in the UK should fika more which is one of the reasons why they developed the idea in the first place. Scott says: “People in the UK think that fika is a coffee break and many don’t understand the wider concept.” Marianne also highlights that people living in the UK have a lot to learn from the Swedes. “The Swedes are light years ahead of us in terms of lifestyle and how to deal with day to day struggles,” she says.
Min from Löfbergs agrees: “It’s true, our colleagues in Sweden stop every day at 9.30 in the morning and 3 o’clock in the afternoon to have a fika moment. It’s part of their everyday routine.” Min continues: “However, in the UK, fika isn’t as well-known. Coffee is often enjoyed on the go or at one’s desk. Fika is so ingrained in the Swedish culture and for us at Löfbergs UK, it’s really about bringing a little bit of that ethos to our customers through the coffee service we provide.”
So, what is fika?
For anyone who is unsure about what fika really is, the card included in the fika box offers the following explanation: “Often described as a ‘coffee and cake break,’ fika is a special tradition in the Swedish culture. Fika is a concept, a state of mind, an attitude. It means to take a pause in whatever you are doing to enjoy a great cup of coffee, a delicious pastry and a nice chat with colleagues or friends. ‘To fika’ is to slow down, recharge our brains and importantly, make time for those around us. Swedes make time for fika every day and so should we in the UK.”
Marianne, Min and Scott all have similar ideas of what fika is, and share a mutual interest and love for this Swedish tradition. Min says: “I think it goes so much further than just coffee and cake. Fika has a great sense of calm and actually taking the time out to be with colleagues, friends or family. Fika isn’t a solo activity; it’s about sharing and collaborating. It can be in a café, at home, or at the office; and at any time of the day – I like that there’s quite an open flexibility about fika too.” Marianne agrees and adds: “Fika is one of those untranslatable words which is more of a concept, a state of mind than anything else. It’s a concept which we could all benefit more from in our day to day lives. We often don’t have the time for fika and we would love to change that. The whole thing about fika for us is, yes - to enjoy a great cinnamon bun and coffee, but it’s really about stopping, stepping back, taking the time to just relax for a moment and enjoy the people around you.”
What comes next?
It seems as if the collaboration between Fagerhult and Löfbergs on the fika box was only the beginning of their relationship. In the midst of the talk, Marianne and Scott tell us about their upcoming project at the
Clerkenwell Design Fair later this spring. During the fair, they will create a ‘Fika Lounge’, where they will be serving Löfbergs coffee. This is a place they will invite people to stop and recharge their batteries from the hustle and bustle of the fair. “We want to have this little fika haven during the Clerkenwell Design Fair. We want people to come and join us for a nice cup of coffee, a nice bun and we want to promote the concept of fika. It would be a very nice way to collaborate with each other again,” says Marianne.
The SCC is continuously working with introducing Member companies to one another as well as helping with initiating collaborations. In the SCC network, the examples of Member companies who have found each other are many, and one of these examples is the collaboration between Fagerhult and Löfbergs.