How I started: Charlie Hedin, Tekla founder

Turning that initial thought into a business you can focus on completely is likely to be an unpredictable ride. Here Charlie Hedin, founder of Copenhagen-based sustainable homeware and textile company Tekla, explains how he launched it in 2017.
tekla scarves sweaters

‘I have always wanted to have my own company, but not in a way that I needed to own it or be above people – it’s more about the freedom of doing what I want to do in a project or product, and working with people that inspire me. 

‘I spent a lot of time travelling in different cities for my job and I never really found homeware and textiles that were for me. I wanted to start a company that was for someone my age or who values the same kind of products that I do. I asked myself, what do I look for in bedding? Something that’s durable, that’s visually pleasing, that’s sustainable. There weren’t too many brands that did sustainable home textiles.

‘My plan was to create a home textile “universe” where you could get everything, but bedsheets was the core product – that’s what you use the most and spend the most time in. It was really important to start with that core item. 

‘I began working on Tekla on the side. Focusing on two or three things at once meant I really only worked. I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing it longer than a year because I don’t think it’s good for your mental health. I took a long break from drinking because I needed to focus, it took up too much energy and I needed to prioritise. Being hungover and not functioning for a day is not doable in that situation.

‘You want everything to be perfect, but in the end you have to trust your gut.’

‘The year before we launched our first product, I switched my time around and began working full time on Tekla while consulting for other companies in the evenings. I had some savings, but it was the income from freelancing that kept me afloat and enabled me to do it.

‘I didn’t have a figure in mind; when I had the opportunity to buy my first order, I just did it. Rather than thinking you need £200,000 to start, you just need to go for it sometimes. You want everything to be perfect; you save up money, but in the end you have to trust your gut.

‘I was testing it a lot myself – some of my close friends tried it out, but mostly it was me. As long as you are able to stand by it you won’t regret what you did, but if you take on too much advice from other people it dilutes your own vision.’

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