A visit to Portugal in the ‘80s introduced Ragnhild Strandbakken to the versatility of cork, known to most of us as stoppers for wine bottles or as an insulator. Fast forward almost 40 years, and today Ragnhild runs an online store, Corkini, which sells 100% environmentally friendly handbags, accessories and lifestyle products made out of cork skin from her office in Fetsund, near Lillestrøm in Norway.
“I strongly believe you need to burn for what you do and love whatever you sell, whether it is a service or a product.”
Hi Ragnhild! Can you tell us when you started your business?
I started the online store in August 2016, but changed my webshop platform to Shopify in December 2016, because it is easier to manage and has a lot of complementary solutions through their app store.
What inspired you to start your own e-commerce business?
I was on holiday in Sweden when I came across a store selling beautiful bags that seemed very similar to leather, but were actually from cork. I was amazed to find out that products made from cork were as durable as leather, but were much more environmentally friendly and sustainable to produce.
How many people are employed in Corkini today?
I would gladly have someone working with me, but because Corkini is in the startup phase, I have to get by on my own for now.
What is the secret of your success or best business decision you made?
I run the business myself, including importing the products, selling them online and doing the accounting. There’s a lot to do and because I don’t know anything about computer programming, I decided early on to use reliable, easy systems for my online store and accounting, to make this part of my business as easy as possible. That’s why I chose Shopify and Fiken.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned or advice would you give someone starting up?
Well, I’ve only recently started, so maybe I’m not the best person to give advice! But I strongly believe you need to burn for what you do and love whatever you sell, whether it is a service or a product.
Which apps do you connect and how has it helped your business?
ConnectMyApps has helped me a lot with managing sales from my online store! Everything is transferred automatically from Shopify to Fiken, so I don’t think about that part at all, which is absolutely amazing for me.