With an enthusiasm for all things that shine along with an open spirit. 28 year old Julie Svendal based in Copenhagen found herself in Seoul when the idea of selling clips with her own design through Instagram was the beginning of a now reality. Furthermore, it has shown that despite failed attempts of becoming a fashion designer she has succeeded in becoming an international businesswoman due to the digital age we live in. Sartorial matters of course had a quick chat with her!
1. Who are you, why did you start Seoul Import and how did you do it?
My name is Julie Svendal 28 ( soon 29 years old), I am originally from Norway, but moved to Copenhagen 6 years ago to live my dream as a fashion designer after finishing a bachelors degree in the field. Following my dream went so and so, but after a few bumps in the road and some years in the fashion-industry, everything added up and I surprisingly found my calling at Copenhagen Business School. Never would have thought I would attend business school – nevertheless love it as much as I do – but here I am, starting my master’s in september!
I think it’s hard to describe who I am without giving an official “what-do-I-do” kind-of answer, but here’s a few things I really like: I love being in the Norwegian nature, I love riding my bike in Copenhagen, I love colorful and beautiful things (preferably things that sparkle), and I love when things are not take too seriously.
Starting Seoul Import was all very spontaneous. It all started in the beginning of September 2017, during an exchange stay in Seoul. In the very beginning of my stay, I met a Korean lady who sold and produced her own hairclips, and I just drooled over how much glitter that could fit into her tiny place. I wanted to buy it all for myself, but instead, I bought a rather big bunch from her, and started selling them through Instagram (with the help of my boyfriend) back home in Copenhagen. I went from 0 followers to being sold out in three days, and made a deal with my Korean friend to start producing my own designs. Within a very short period of time I was contacted by Birger Christensen, then Mads Nørgaard, then Holly Golightly, and started creating retail-deals with the finest shops in Copenhagen. I was lucky I guess – I was at the right place at the right time.
2. Since you have a degree from CBS, do you think it has influenced you to use marketing techniques for Seoul Import?
Absolutely! I have definitely used som of the hard core marketing knowledge I have from attending Business School, especially in building the company and forming the business structures. PR-wise however, I guess it’s more my experience from the fashion industry that has taught me how to spread the word, and who to contact.
3. I see that your clips are being sold at the Danish resellers Birger Christensen, Holly Golightly and Mads Norgaard. How do those collaborations work and how did they start?
I was contacted by all of them through Instagram. I have worked at Holly Golightly for 4 years, so the owner knows me from before. Birger Christensen and Mads Nørgaard however was through the power of social media.
4. Do you think location has mattered in starting your own online Instagram/ e-business brand?
I definitely think there is a current change in peoples purchase habits, especially due to the fact that Instagram has grown as an integrated retail channel in the last year. And in Copenhagen, Instagram has become the ultimate selling platform for niche shops. Vintage shops has been doing it for a long time, and a short while after I started selling through Instagram, Instagram-shops selling colourful hairclips and widgets were everywhere! In the means of the Copenhagen people, I think Instagram retailing is so well-functioning due to the current trend of wanting to have something unique.
5. Influencers such as Leandra Medine, from Man Repeller along with others are smitten with your clips. How do you think it has impacted the reputation of your brand?
I think it has been all-defining, especially in the means of the international attention I have been getting. In Copenhagen, I think it has helped me distinguish from all of the other mass-produced hairclips. It has definitely added some brand-, and quality-value, or at least I hope so.
6. As clips have become a big trend in DK, how do you predict the future of selling clips?
Glittery hairclips is without doubt a surpassing trend, and in Copenhagen/Denmark you see them EVERYWHERE. I give the hairclips one-two years more to live, but who knows what other fun things I have hiding up my sleeve..
7. Finally, as you’ve achieved not only becoming an e-business success on Instagram but also been featured in Eurowoman. What is your advice to fellow young women interested in walking the same path as you?
Wow, difficult question. I guess it would have to be the cliché “follow-your-gut-feeling”-advice. But it really is true. Believe in-, and be true to yourself in everything you do, work hard, be structured and be nice to people.
Text: Rosa Cruz