Update: Expanding Our Content-First Brand [For Nordic Companies]

Published: May 23rd, 2023
All Things Commer...
from Helsinki, Finland
started January 2014
Discover what tools Jonas recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Jonas recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hello! I’m Jonas Forth, managing director at All Things Commerce Helsinki Ltd. Our aim is to help Nordic brands based in art, literature, and design reach a global audience through e-commerce and relevant content.

Our main product is moomin - through which we sell licensed products based on the popular brand Moomin and tell fans about its rich fascinating history.

Our most popular products are perhaps our ceramic Moomin mugs, a phenomenon that started in the early 1990s. But, we also have a wide array of over 700 items, ranging from lamps to toys and t-shirts.

On average, we have a monthly turnover of 500.000€ with annual growth of 20%, shipping to more than 50 countries every month. We are now looking at taking on more brands and expanding our operations with an on-demand model.

All Things Commerce Helsinki Ltd is now owned by the parent company Moomin Characters, to which it was sold in early 2015.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

Since the last story went out, we have merged with our physical stores in Finland.

In addition to that, we also bought a company in the UK (moomin.co.uk) and set up a company in Germany (moominshop.de) back in 2020. Those companies have since seen growth of 300%.

Most recently we set up shop in Norway (moomin.no) and we’re looking at expanding into Sweden and Poland during the latter part of 2023.

Maintaining 5+ online stores is quite an arduous process and we’re now looking at going headless during the Q2 of 2024.

The total headcount has grown from five in 2018 to more than 40 employees internationally currently.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

Our biggest challenges have been finding the right technical solutions for setting up a joint online and brick-and-mortar business and avoiding creating silos that do not speak to each other.

It’s only when you start to scale that you notice the cracks in what you built.

Business-wise, inflation impacts virtually everything and we have for example chosen Fedex as our courier service as DHL’s pricing has doubled during the past two years.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

I have been reminded that it’s only when you start to scale that you notice the cracks in what you built.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Within two years, we will have a full-fledged brand platform at moomin.com with sales partners in all parts of the world, with a high eight-figure turnover.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

Principles by Ray Dalio - it’s kind of a self-help book without the fluff. Dailio outlines principles that will help you personally and professionally. He has followed up on the book online by answering questions on various topics from time to time.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their businesses?

This is the time to be completely aware of your costs and to take action on reducing them. At the same time, this is the right time to invest long-term and you might be able to get good deals.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are not directly hiring right now and all growth will come from partnering with local partners to set up brand stores in new markets.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!