Maria Frykman Forsberg
The founders of Nordic Kids Wear, Maria Frykman Forsberg and Camilla Schmidt, met in a parent group while staying home with their first children. They both saw a need for children's clothing made from warm and sustainable materials, and they presented their first sample collection to the store manager at Naturkompaniet, who immediately embraced the idea. The rest, as they say, is history. Naturkompaniet placed an order for 800 garments, a pivotal moment that led the founders to leave their secure jobs and turn their hobby into their livelihood.
One of the key factors in their success is that the founders divided responsibilities and had complete trust in each other, allowing them not to interfere with each other's work. The company is strongly committed to sustainability, a value that permeates everything and everyone within the organization, and the business is conducted in a fair and ethical manner.
"We believe in making a positive contribution to a sustainable world and promoting a sustainable lifestyle for young people to carry with them throughout their lives", says Maria Frykman Forsberg.
The decision to sell the company was primarily driven by the need for additional resources to expand. The industry requires significant investments and high liquidity, and the company was ready to step into a larger context. At the same time, it was crucial to find a new owner willing to continue developing the Isbjörn of Sweden brand as a premium lifestyle brand for children with a focus on environmental sustainability.
The Chairman of the company's board had contacts in his network that led to the evaluation of two financial advisors, one of the major banks, and AHL Partners.
"We chose AHL for several reasons, but above all, they showed an interest in us, who we were, and our needs and wishes. There was personal chemistry, and they could demonstrate many relevant corporate acquisitions, including one that closely aligned with our industry, which we highly valued. They already had established contacts in the market with potential buyers of companies", says Maria Frykman Forsberg.
Online Brands became the new owner, acquiring the company after an 18-month process with the founders remaining in the business. AHL Partners' patience in adhering to the set goals and the founders' requirements for a new owner to ensure the continued development of their life's work allowed AHL Partners to successfully complete the deal.
"AHL had the patience and showed respect for what we had built, and they were able to carry out the deal in a way that provided control for us as founders", explains Maria Frykman Forsberg.
The advice for others considering selling their company is to thoroughly think through and put in writing their demands and expectations of a buyer.
"Regardless of what is important in a sale, it is crucial to stand firm and allow it to take the time it requires; it will eventually be right. Patience is a critical ingredient throughout the process", concludes Maria Frykman Forsberg.