A Q&A With Frida Ramstedt And Kristina Lindhe
Kristina Lindhe Mentorship
The secret is finally out! Frida Ramstedt is the winner of the Kristina Lindhe Mentorship. We sat down with her and her new mentor, CEO and founder of Lexington Company Kristina Lindhe, to pick their brains on their expectations, entrepreneurship and mentorship.
With the software Frida Ramstedt plans to launch, the interior design entrepreneur is set to revolutionize the way interior design decisions and purchases are made. To get to her goal, Frida applied for and became the first recipient of a one-year mentorship from Lexington Company's founder, CEO and creative director Kristina Lindhe and a development grant.
We sat down with her and her new mentor, CEO and founder of Lexington Company Kristina Lindhe, to talk about Frida's idea, entrepreneurship and the importance of mentorship for both parties.
Tell us a little bit about your idea, Frida?
Without revealing too much, my idea is a new type of search service that can improve e-commerce and simplify consumers' way of shopping. It's about things other than aesthetics. Like I wrote in my pitch deck, it is just as unlikely that a pair of jeans will fit all buttocks as a chair would do.
Frida, You’ve had your company for a few years now and have written multiple books, why did you feel that you needed to apply for the mentorship?
You can get to a certain level yourself, and then you need to grow. To be able to do that, you have to surround yourself with different, experienced people who can help you see things in a different way. The mentor doesn’t need to invent something new or find any solutions. Having a sounding board and being able to ask a question to a mentor who can recognize herself/himself in some of your thoughts is enough.
Kristina, you mentioned earlier that a lot of people have tried to reach you. I’ve been one of them who’ve tried to have lunch with you, but it’s been hard to set that up. And that’s usually how it is with people who are good at what they do and are driven. They don’t have time for these things, so it’s hard to get access to their time and knowledge. That’s why this mentorship is extremely valuable.
Mentorship is all about giving and taking. What do you both expect from this new relationship?
Kristina: I think it will be exciting to follow Frida’s journey with this idea. The personal development is also exciting to see. People change from their experiences and insights, so that’s exciting. But this mentorship offers me something as well. I’ll have these new insights from watching her journey and most likely a bunch of new ideas that I might not have thought of. But of course, Frida’s ideas and entrepreneurship is what we will be focusing on.
Frida: I hope to give back with my insights from the digital world. Because I’ve translated my books to different languages, I’ve realized how different it is globally. Here in Sweden, we’re very social media savvy while people in other countries are not as interested and don’t use them the way we do here. You can utilize that knowledge. If a country’s digital development is behind the curve, we can use our insights from Sweden to grow there. Since, Lexington Company is a global brand, I imagine there’s a global and local strategy that works.
Kristina: That’s true. We’re a global company, and we’ve noticed that digital presence has developed at different rates. The most common mistake is that entrepreneurs think the internet is just one place, so the strategy should be the same. That’s not how it works.
Frida: Yeah, and you notice that with different publications as well. Magazines in Sweden don’t have a big platform online compared to their print version. If you look at, for instance, a UK publication, the print and digital versions are equally strong.
An entrepreneur can work in a traditional space, but in a contemporary way. And that’s what stood out with Frida’s application. The digital aspect of her idea gave a new dimension to what is already out there.Kristina on what the jury liked about Frida's idea.
Kristina, what were your thoughts when you went through the applications and what were you looking for?
We cast a wide net, and we were expecting the recipient to be from any industry. We weren’t specifically looking for someone in the interior design industry, it just happened to be that way. We identified five strong candidates, and Frida and her idea were the right fit.
Most people think an entrepreneur is an inventor, which is a common misconception. An entrepreneur can work in a traditional space, but in a contemporary way. And that’s what stood out with Frida’s application. The digital aspect of her idea gave a new dimension to what is already out there.
Frida: When I’m out giving lectures to student, I always show them business magazine covers with a scientist or an inventor who’s a man. That’s who people think is an entrepreneur. And that’s further from the truth. But as we were saying during the panel earlier, historically, women haven’t had role models. Even though we do the same things, men have had many role models. They’re ahead of us because they’ve seen it being done by people who look like them.
Kristina: Yeah. Regarding role models, I was also hoping for a more diverse pool of candidates, but we didn’t have that unfortunately. I then realized that I might not be the right role model for some of them which could be why we didn’t get candidates with diverse backgrounds this time. But I guess we just have to work on that, and step by step we’ll have a diverse group.
Frida: You’ll have an alumni club in ten years.
“Your ideas don’t need to be perfect either. They usually change and are perfected as you’re realizing your dreams.”Frida's advice to future entrepreneurs.
What advice to you have for future entrepreneurs?
Kristina; It’s what I’ve said before, you have to execute. You can’t keep planning forever. Once you’ve accomplished your first goal, you come up with a new idea and you need to do that next.
Frida: Yeah, you shouldn’t focus on the idea so much. It’s important to have an idea, of course. But it all comes down to execution. Many people have great ideas that are never realized. It’s the ones who execute their plans who succeed.
Your ideas don’t need to be perfect either. They usually change and are perfected as you’re realizing your dreams. People might question your ideas, but you just have to trust your gut. Work toward your dreams and don’t seek someone’s approval or permission because sometimes he/she can’t give you that. You might be in the beginning of your journey and that individual might not be the right person to give you advice.
Kristina: I feel like that can especially be a problem later in your journey within the organization. You might have a lot of ideas you want to try, but not everyone is on board. Some ideas might fail, and not everyone wants to try out risky ideas because they feel that they could be wasting time on something that’ll fail. But you have to try your ten ideas even if only three of them are successful. This could be a challenge when you’re a leader of a company.
Frida: I recognize that even if my company is smaller. If I have new ideas, and I want to change gears, it’s sometimes difficult for some to shelve whatever they’re working on and hop on this new idea. If you get bogged down on details you won’t get anywhere. But just because something is shelved or we’ve changed gears, it doesn’t mean the shelved project is incomplete or a waste of time. We can always go back to it and take relevant parts from that and apply it to a different project.
Kristina: That’s exactly what being an entrepreneur entails.
Frida: I joke about there being a lot of wantrepreneurs. You really have to understand what it is you really want. The perception is usually that an entrepreneur owns his/her time and is working with his/her passion. However, you really do have to work hard. Even harder than if you’re an employee.
Kristina: Yes. The whole idea of owning your time is a myth. You really don’t own your time. Things happen and they can’t wait for you to be done with your vacation. I’d say you can plan your time and day the way you want to in a sense that someone else doesn’t plan your workday for you; but you don’t really own your time.
Frida: Exactly. I also thought it was interesting when you talked about the importance of a supportive partner. There’s a lot of time and energy that is wasted on arguments about who’s going to drop off or pick up the kids, the logistics of the family and just the unnecessary drama that might occur. We don’t really talk about that a lot. If you have a stabile partner, you can really focus on your idea and plan.
Kristina: Yes. That’s the ideal of course, but you don’t always have control over those things.
Frida: You can’t control it, but you should actively consider the choices you make. When you’re in a certain phase in your life, it’s easy to let a fight affect your sleep and your thoughts. You might be seeking your significant other’s approval. Honestly, I think this is the difference between women and men. These things affect women more than men. However, we only have 24 hours, and if you’re spending most of your time worrying about a man in your life, you won’t be able to run a company. You can’t do both at the same time. If you’re married, you both need to be on the same page.
Finally, what advice do you have for someone who’s looking for a mentor?
Find a mentor through a program. The mentors on these different programs want to be mentors. The programs are also very structured, which is good. You can always ask an entrepreneur to be your mentor, but you need to respect their time and take no for an answer.
If you want to be sure you’re going to have a mentor, just go through many of the great mentorship programs available. You can always ask for a trial period because some of these programs cost a lot, and you might want to be sure that this is right for you before you commit. And don’t be scared to ask for a different mentor if your mentor/mentee relationship isn’t working.
Frida: Choose a mentor who is good at what you’re trying to improve. If you don’t have the same type of goals or see things the same way, it’s not going to work.
Kristina: I agree. I’ve been a mentor on different mentorship programs, and I’ve always said I want to mentor someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Often, the applicants are from big accounting firms or law firms. They’re usually dealing with other types of questions, so that mentor/mentee relationship wouldn’t work for either party. I’ve never created a career plan, which most of these people do. I can’t give advice on that.
Kristina Lindhe’s Entrepreneurial Journey
Award-winning entrepreneur Kristina Lindhe, founder and creative director of the Lexington Company, has made an impressive journey with the Lexington Company lifestyle brand since its inception more than 20 years ago. But how did she get here?