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2017’s Coolest Startups – bSaka

bSaka is fusing ancient wisdom with a modern fashion to create one of 2017's coolest startups. See how this environmentally-friendly company is making a mark.
2017's Coolest Startups - bSaka - Lioness Magazine
The bSaka team, left to right, Henrik Moricz, Sandra Nyh, Matilda Waldner and Kicki Hallberg.

Six years ago, Matilda Waldner, Kicki Hallberg and Sandra Nyh met while working as sheep-shearers in Stavanger, Norway. Today, the young women have and their friend Henrik Moricz have launched a company with the aim of ”boosting souls.” bSaka is a new life style brand and clothing line designed to fuse ancient wisdom with the modern way of life in an environmentally-friendly way. bSaka’s mission is to make it possible to fit a modern lifestyle with a mindful way of living by offering products designed to remind and encourage a life in balance, in ways that are easy to adopt. With the completion of a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter (raising the equivalent of more than $11,000 in U.S. Dollars), the founders look back on tough years of studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, the startup scene in Stockholm, and the lack of entrepreneurial support for women.

bSaka was founded in the summer of 2016 by four friends Waldner, Moricz, Nyh and Hallberg, all of whom share the belief that stressed out people often need inspiration and guidance to find their own path to inner harmony and tranquillity. They realized that there was a gap in the fashion and lifestyle market: wellness.

Meditation and mindfulness has grown to become a billion-dollar industry, dominated by books and apps. The most popular meditation app, Headspace, has been downloaded more than 11 million times and has been valued by Forbes to $150 million. The attractive market is seeing an ever-increasing demand from customers.

With inspiration from the wellness trend, bSaka’s first product was a timeless women’s top with carefully chosen details, made of organic cotton. Sustainability is becoming a huge part of fashion, and it has been important for bSaka to meet customer demands right from start. The founders wanted to build the brand further and the next step was to launch a Kickstarter campaign.

On the campaign, Waldner said, “Through Kickstarter, our goal is to offer a 100 percent eco-friendly, sleeveless silk top. Silk has some amazing qualities: it’s strong, soft and feels luxurious. Our hope is that our project can become reality by having people worldwide supporting us.”

The campaign allows them to increase the size of their customer base while getting feedback and expanding the product line.

Norm-breaking entrepreneurship

The team said most Swedes are familiar with tech-oriented companies often run by men and that there is a lack of female role models.

“I knew that entrepreneurship was my thing quite early on. My sweet spot has always been creativity; a constant will to create and combine. But after a few months at SSE, I started questioning my own capacity,” Waldner said. “Why would I be able to build something lucrative, without any claim to the tech-throne, and without the type of idea that could disrupt a whole industry? And adding to that, I’m not male, pale or stale either – which really hit me after scanning the incubator possibilities in Stockholm. If the examples upheld as sources of inspiration become too homogeneous, it’s easy to believe that pursuing your dreams is wrong if they don’t resemble what the norm dictates. It’s almost like entrepreneurs are expected to go for tech or disruptive innovations, because these are the categories that have often resulted in examples of ‘good’ entrepreneurship. Tech is awesome, it moves society forward, but I believe that it’s also important to shed light on other startups that can contribute to a more nuanced image of entrepreneurship, while putting women on the map.”

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