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Bootstrapping From a Small Town in Denmark to $12 Million: Sebastian Petersen, CEO of TrendHim (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, May 31st 2019

Sramana Mitra: What country did you first go into outside Denmark?

Sebastian Petersen: Norway and Sweden. Then we started going south into Germany and France.

Sramana Mitra: Was there something different that Norway and Sweden wanted?

Sebastian Petersen: Only simple things. Once we started moving out of Scandinavia to Germany and France and especially Eastern Europe, we really had to start tweaking our websites to the local community.

Let’s take Poland, for example. It’s still very popular there to pay in cash to the carrier. It’s not something that we are used to and offer anymore in Northern or Western Europe. If we wanted success in Czech Republic or Poland, we needed to offer that.

Sramana Mitra: Cash on delivery.

Sebastian Petersen: Exactly. It’s not something we do anymore in Northern and Western Europe. We had to set up local banks and local shipping agreements to be able to offer that service to our customers.

Sramana Mitra: What about merchandising?

Sebastian Petersen: Yes, there are differences. We try to focus on what we do best, which is Scandinavian fashion. Our main thing is doing Scandinavian fashion and then target those customers that are interested in that type of fashion. In some countries, our type of fashion is really big. We don’t tweak our concept to each customer group.

Sramana Mitra: You started by selling just a few items. How did you broaden the categories of merchandise that you sell today?

Sebastian Petersen: Buying traffic today is very expensive. You need to ensure that customers don’t leave your site without finding what they want. We figured very early on that we needed to have a broad collection. Then it was a matter of a lot of research and a lot of trial and error.

We looked at what people were searching for on our site and on Google. Then we just started adding products and buying more of stuff that works. We constantly added new categories and types of products.

If people don’t necessarily fall in love with what they search for, they sometimes fall in love with something else. They have to have something to fall in love with.

Sramana Mitra: Explain to me the progression of the types of merchandise you sell. Do you sell clothes now?

Sebastian Petersen: We don’t sell clothes. We don’t sell footwear. We only sell accessories. We have about 6,000 products online. We try to launch a new collection every two weeks. Today, we have in-house designers. We design our own collection.

Sramana Mitra: Have you built the company entirely with organic revenues or have you taken any outside financing?

Sebastian Petersen: Only organic.

Sramana Mitra: Not even inventory financing?

Sebastian Petersen: No. We have a small loan in the bank once in a while, but that’s it. If you want to build it like that, it takes a long time.

Sramana Mitra: Yes, that’s perfectly fine. We are very big fans of bootstrapped businesses.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Bootstrapping From a Small Town in Denmark to $12 Million: Sebastian Petersen, CEO of TrendHim
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