Häxan: a fresh look for a heritage cleaning brand

As part of a rebrand, this Swedish household goods company went back to its roots, embracing but modernizing its original concept to stand out in a crowded market.
Haxan 16x9 hero

Ask any Swede about Häxan and chances are they'd recognize its silver and copper polishes. Created in 1913, this heritage business cycled through different owners before a trio of colleagues from apparel brand Happy Socks acquired it in 2020 and implemented a new direction.

Impetus for change

Through the years, Häxan's distinct identity in the market had vanished. Its packaging was plain, much like its competitors in the household goods category. ‘We saw an opportunity to forge a design-forward and environmentally friendly brand within the cleaning industry,’ shares Lovisa Tingman, COO at Häxan. ‘No one had done this in a big way.’

The brief

Apart from hiring an external agency to tweak the logo, Häxan's rebrand was largely done in-house, from the initial conceptualization all the way down to packaging details. When it came to product design, rather than come up with a new concept, the team looked at the brand's past for inspiration.

Häxan's packaging during the fifties was original and eye-catching; it was a logical decision to bring it back and riff on the visuals used in the past. ‘We wanted to create a product that you'd like to display on your shelf, rather than hide,’ explains Lovisa – counter to how the majority of household cleaning products might be treated. As well as conjuring a sense of nostalgia, the team sought to stick close to the brand's origin story (häxan means ‘witch’ in Swedish). They amplified the supernatural possibilities of the brand and the concept of ‘spiritual cleansing’  – a tongue-in-cheek way of connecting with customers in fresh ways.

A new color palette

Though the team wanted to go back to the brand's roots with the packaging design, the primary colors used then were black, red and yellow – stark, potentially abrasive colors that didn't quite align with an eco-conscious brand. This led them to create a set of retro-looking bottles embracing an array of colors: from greens and yellows to pinks and reds. You'll find color-blocking on most of the brand's products, including 24 new ones, such as dish soaps and glass cleaners. The brand also went all out on its other-worldly reinvention to dabble in some brand extension; you can now purchase tarot cards, smudge sticks (herbs bound by twine) and palo santo (cleansing wooden sticks) from Häxan, alongside its core product range. The packaging features mystical icons and quirky descriptions that read more like spells than product descriptions – though they also have plenty of cleaning tips, thanks to some creative copywriting.

Moving into retail

As part of its pivot, Häxan opened its first flagship store in Stockholm's hip Södermalm neighborhood, collaborating with design agency Studio Peter Lundbergh. ‘We didn't plan to open a store, but we felt this was the best way to share what our new brand stands for,’ shares Lovisa. Patrons can visit an in-store tarot-card reader or astrologer or add fragrances into their purchased products using droppers – just like concocting a potion. And, in line with the brand's eco credentials, there's also a refilling station. 

According to Lovisa, the rebrand has been a huge hit. ‘The reception has been great thus far, as our customers like that we're not disregarding the brand's heritage, but remaking it to be better,’ she says.

A version of this article was first published in Courier issue 47, June/July 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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