I feel immensely proud about the amount of globally successful business ideas and brands that have been created by imaginative entrepreneurs from the small country of Sweden. With a population of approx 9.5 million, our market is limited so it has always been natural for open and progressive founders to elevate their thinking and keep an international perspective early on.
There are a lot of interesting Swedish brands to choose from, but here are – in alphabetical order – 25 reasons why I’m proud to be Swedish.
- Absolut Vodka – The world-reknown vodka characterized by its iconic bottle design and imaginative collaborations creating cultural currency and sparking debate around societal issues.
- BabyBjörn – Founded in 1961, Björn Jakobson set out to make life easier for families with small children by developing safe and innovative products of the highest quality for children up to three years. Over 30 million children have been carried by their mothers and fathers in BabyBjörn baby carriers.
- BRIO – Characterized by its classic and iconic range of high-quality wooden toys, BRIO seeks to provide educational toys that stimulate the child’s imagination and create happy childhood memories. Besides toys, BRIO also offers baby strollers, car seats, furniture etc.
- EF Education First – The world leader in international education, with a mission to bring people together by breaking down barriers of language, culture and geography.
- Electrolux – A global leader in household appliances and appliances for professional use, rooted in empathy-driven thoughtful design that boosts people’s everyday lives.
- Ericsson – A world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators. Ericsson has a fantastic innovation story with numerous firsts in the telecoms industry.
- Happy Socks – A fun global brand founded on the vision to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colourful design piece.
- Hasselblad – A photography pioneer, having designed superior-quality, high-end cameras with photographers in mind for over half a century.
- Hästens – With a passion for sleep since 1852, Hästens has set out to change the world through sleep. The vision is to deliver the best sleep in the world, and therefore also the best bed.
- Husqvarna – The Husqvarna Group is the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products such as chainsaws, trimmers and lawnmowers, and it was the first to introduce a solar powered robotic lawn mower.
- ICEHOTEL – The first and the largest hotel in the world built of ice and snow that offers uniquely inspiring experiences within art, nature, accommodation and gastronomy.
- iZettle – The social payments company with the mission to empower entrepreneurs and democratise card payments.
- Klarna – Currently on a fantastic growth journey, Klarna was founded with the idea of providing a zero-friction online payment solution that would allow consumers and merchants to interact with each other as safely and simply as possible.
- MAX – One of the most progressive fast food chains in the world, constantly innovating and trying out new concepts in terms of the food, the environment, the retail experience etc.
- Nudie Jeans – Nudie says they love jeans and you can tell it’s genuine from their undying, single-minded passion for jeans fuelled by the traditions of denim and the characteristics of the fabric itself. Nudie reimagines the jeans category by innovations such as the Eco-cycle concept.
- Rebtel – The rebel of the telecommunications industry with a mission to take the phony out of mobile telephony, and provide the first genuinely good, honest, and trustworthy global mobile telecommunications service that saves people money. Currently, the world’s second largest mobile VoIP (Voice Over IP) company.
- SKF – A leading global technology provider since 1907, when founder Sven Wingquist invented the double-row self-aligning ball bearing.
- Skype – The pioneer that reimagined IP telephony.
- Soundcloud – The world’s largest community of artists, bands, podcasters & creators of music & audio.
- Spotify – The world’s premier music streaming service that reimagines music consumption.
- Triwa – A global accessory brand with its foundation in reimagining and refreshing the conservative watch industry.
- Volvo Cars – The progressive car brand deeply rooted in a commitment to safety and the environment. Started in 1927, the founders Gustaf Larson and Assar Gabrielsson stated that “cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is – and must remain – safety”.
- WESC – We Are The Superlative Conspiracy (WeSC) is a global brand rooted in the attitude and creativity of the skateboarding community, offering a fusion of streetwear and fashion. Famous for its WeActivists, a unique network of informal ambassadors from a wide range of subcultures.
- Wrapp – The social gift carding company that makes it easier and more fun to give and receive gift cards.
- Zound Industries – A fast-growing shaper of the lifestyle headphone/resonance couture category with a growing portfolio of brands (Urbanears, Coloud, Molami, Marshall and more to come).
If you’re a Swede reading this, please let me know in the comments section which additional Swedish brands that you are proud of.