The organisation Lithuanian Professionals in Stockholm organised the event, which was attended by around twenty personally invited guests.
With a career that started in modelling and now involves running a franchise in Scandinavia and the Baltic region, here Inga Sataite shares her insights and advice for other Lithuanians looking to succeed in Sweden.
How did it feel when you successfully established yourself in Sweden?
When I first came to Stockholm two years ago, it was love at first sight. I told my husband this is the perfect city and this is where I’m going to have my next shop. After one year I had the contract and the keys to this store in my hands. I felt very excited and happy about this, also because I noticed the stereotype depicting Swedes as very cold-hearted wasn’t true. When you get to know Swedes better, they become your best friends. I really like Swedish people and when you get to know them they have a lot to offer, according to my experience.
What does it take for non-Swedish entrepreneurs to make it in Sweden?
If you do something you love and believe in then you don’t need to be trained in a particular field, because if you really have a dream and keep working towards it, then it will come true. It’s nothing special about it really, just do what you believe in- that’s what I did.
What’s the hardest thing about working here?
The hardest part is to know the mentality of Swedish ladies. I’m Lithuanian but I live in Italy, however, the Swedish mentality is a little bit different since Swedes start out as more distant when you meet them. The first year was very difficult since Swedes didn’t know the brand Fabiana Filippi but I carefully introduced it to them along with the Italian spirit and colours. Little by little after customers started using the brand, they gained knowledge about the high quality of it, they learned how to mix and match and they brought their friends to the shop. It’s teamwork, and it works. I’m happy to introduce this brand to Scandinavia since not many Scandinavians knew about this brand and I’m working hard to make it work for them.
What are the differences between the Swedish business environment compared to other European countries?
It’s very different! Swedes are very careful with their purchases, they’re not the same as for example the Lithuanians or Russians who can afford Italian cashmere and therefore go crazy for it. If Lithuanians and Russians like the product, they buy it- sometimes twenty pieces at a time. Swedes on the other hand buy one piece and take time to think about it before they come back to buy more pieces.
What’s your advice to other Lithuanians wanting to start a business in Sweden?
Do it. It’s a nice country and Swedes are very curious about new things. The ultimate advice is an easy one; do what you love and believe in. The winner takes it all.
Tell me about your store opening in Riga.
We’re opening a shop in the centre of Riga next week and that’s another challenge which is part of bringing this Italian brand to a wider range of customers. First we opened in Vilnius, then Stockholm, then Riga and then we’ll see where my plans take me next.