When entering through the doors of Scandinavian Cosmetics’ office in Malmö, Sweden, there is no doubt that this is a company which lives and breathes beauty. The company’s CEO Joakim Johnsson welcomes us in the spacious reception area, where the 40 brands the company represents, each has its own representation area.
Newly renovated, the office is stylish with black floors, white walls and designer furniture mixed with products and merchandise from brands like Gucci, Hugo Boss, Hermés, Sensai, Clarins and Max Factor. While walking down the corridors, Joakim reminisces his first day at Scandinavian Cosmetics.
It’s been seven years since Joakim first walked into Scandinavian Cosmetics head office in Malmö. With experience from controlling and finance within the Volvo Group, and spending the last 15 years at Orkla as Sales & Marketing Director and Nordic Marketing Director, Joakim was the perfect candidate to take charge of the then family-owned Scandinavian Cosmetics. Ulf Ljunggren, owner since 28 years, was looking for a managing director, as he was preparing to sell the company.
”Ulf and I had a great personal chemistry, and I was delighted that he was so open and willing to share his knowledge from running the business for such a long time”.
“My leadership is based on a genuine interest in people”
Since then, the company has gone from a family owned business to being part of a dynamic international company owned by Germany based Aurelius Group, and Joakim has been the leader of this transformation as it has affected the entire organization.
The ownership structure isn’t the only thing that has changed. Thanks to digitalization and social media, Joakim can see a big evolution in the beauty business.
”New technology has given us the opportunity to communicate directly with the consumer, and be able to adjust our offer with their input. Today, we are not only working with the brand Scandinavian Cosmetics, but have also developed our brand ”Beauty is a choice” talking to the beauty interested consumer, making us not only a company in B2B, but also with a strong B2C connection”.
Scandinavian Cosmetics is the leading beauty distributor in the Nordics, with brands such as Clarins, Sensai, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Lacoste, Filorga and Max Factor, but this doesn’t stop Joakim from constantly challenging both himself and the organization.
”We never rest, always developing our offer and competence towards retailers and brand owners.
My vision is that we will be stronger and more important thanks to our growing internal expertise”.
Joakim is described as a goal-oriented visionary leader by his co-workers, but also extremely attentive towards his employees. And when talking about his leadership, he lifts the importance of his co-workers.
”My leadership is based on a genuine interest in people stemming from empathy and trust combined with my analytical abilities and business expertise. I believe in involvement from the organisation and therefore like to build a target oriented organisation and promote enthusiasm”.
When talking to employees, many of them bring up Joakim’s team spirit and unique ability to see every single person in the company, regardless of position. And throughout the interview, he often comes back to the importance of surrounding himself with the right employees.
“Together we are stronger and I really like seeing my team develop and be successful”.
But it’s not only a bed of roses working at Scandinavian Cosmetics. Being a distributor means you’re never better than your last performance.
“It makes the atmosphere competitive but cooperative. We are continuously developing our business model which is even more important today and we have already taken a major step by realizing that things are not changing - they have already changed. I believe we are living our value base - cooperation, leadership, development and joy. We have lots of fun and together we celebrate our successes and support each other to embrace the future possibilities”.
There is no doubt that Joakim has had an interesting career so far and also a bright future ahead.
But what advice would he give his 20-year-old-self?
“Believe in yourself and be sure you move to next position when you can bring some value with you. And make sure you have a dedicated team around you, working towards the same goals”.
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