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Nordic Fairyland profile

We check out the eco-friendly business selling kid’s toys and clothing from sustainable materials

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Clementina Kongslund is a busy mum of two as well as finding time to run her own online eco-friendly business, Nordic Fairyland which is dedicated to selling kid’s toys and clothing from sustainable materials. Time Out Kids caught up with her to find out more.

Please tell us a bit about what Nordic Fairyland is.
Nordic Fairyland is one of most eco-friendly stores for children in UAE. I sell clothes made of organic cotton for kids, aged between 0 and 12 years old. I can say that we are the only store that sells organic clothes for older kids as many only sell for babies or at most up to two years old. And on close inspection of the market, I noticed that there are many shops selling clothes but not so many selling toys or organic toys. I discovered this wonderful company in Denmark, Franck&Fischer that make a variety of beautiful soft toys from organic cotton including rattles, pram rattles, musical toys, dolls, comforters, soother holders. I also bring organic bed linen, rugs and decorative cushions from them. The clothes available on Nordic Fairyland are mainly bought from two Swedish companies.

I also currently host two other brands that are not Scandinavian but ensure to respect the store concept by selling only eco-friendly products.

What made you start Nordic Fairyland and how long has it been going?
Nordic Fairyland is almost one year old now. I started with two unique things - an innovative, award-winning baby bodysuit from Romania and eco-friendly toys, so innovation and sustainability.

How does Nordic Fairyland differ to other online shops in the UAE?
Some people do not understand when I refer to organic toys or clothes made of organic cotton. At markets I am often asked what the difference is between the normal cotton and the organic one - the concept is that everything that I sell is made of organic cotton (which means it has been certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard) or other sustainable materials like bamboo, to meet the OEKO-Tex Standard 100 for colouring – meaning there are little or no chemicals in the colours, to have Fair Trade certification for as many suppliers as possible – meaning the farmers get a good deal for their raw materials, the wood is from plantation and the glue that sticks the wooden items together is non-chemical. Nordic Fairyland is not only about the Nordic brands but it is also about the Scandinavian quality.

As well as popular Scandinavian brands you mentioned a brand from Romania – how do you decide which brands you want to work with?
When I decide on new brands, I look first for it to be eco-friendly and than innovative, like the Bodyflex - a baby bodysuit with stretchy underpants. It means that the bodysuit can be worn for longer, it grows with the baby and means that parents don’t have to buy new bodysuits every three months or more if the baby grows quickly.

Do you have kids yourself? If yes, what are your tips for maintaining a positive work-life balance with your family?
Yes, I have two girls, almost four years old and 18 months old. I hope I maintain a balance as much as possible. I work while they are at school / nursery then in the afternoon, I take them to afterschool activities and I work again while they are in the park with the nanny. I spend time again with them during bath time and dinner and try to work more after they go to sleep.
I like the flexibility I have to attend school events and to take my girls to other activities during the week. But running your own business is not easy and it doesn’t mean that I enjoy the beach every day. I work 24/7 and my phone is always on. If I have important meetings, it doesn’t matter the day or the hour. Plus, I have to attend events that are in the evening during the week, meaning I have to leave before or immediately after dinner.

You also held an Education Fair at Arabian Ranches earlier in the year – what was the motivation for that and how did it go?
The fair was a success and we are already working on the next one. It was part of my Ranches Business Women project - four years ago I started a business directory for small businesses run by women living in Arabian Ranches and nearby area, supporting the local community. You can find out more about this at www.ranchesbusinesswomen.com.

What advice would you give to anyone reading this who has an interest in launching their own business but has not yet done it?
The first thing is definitely to make sure that they have the full support of their family. Do some serious market research before starting to import products or offering services. Make sure that there is a unique selling point in your business - if you like a product it doesn’t mean that the public will like it too. Make your budget and pay attention to the cash flow. Start small and try to grow organically.
Nordic Fairyland products can also be found at The Change Initiative. For more information contact Clementina Kongslund, clementina@kongslund.net, www.nordicfairyland.com (055 679 1349).

Time Out Dubai,

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