You might have seen her on Buklvy's webpage, in newsletter and on social media- Elena Ekström, our main Bukvy bag lady!
Elena is the Founder and CEO of Bukvy, an avid bag aficionado and entrepreneur at heart. She is a passionate lover of bags and is dedicated to efficiency in all aspects of life. The idea for Bukvy emerged from the desire to create a bag that would solve her and her co-founder Joanna's everyday problems.
But who is Elena, and what kind of person is she? Join us to get a glimpse into her life!
before bukvy, there were many bags...
When the idea for Bukvy started to take shape, Elena owned a multitude of bags, "too many to be financially or environmentally sustainable," but none of these bags truly solved her daily challenges. Elena worked in IT and had many "ugly, padded backpacks" and a variety of other bags for different occasions. Architect Joanna, on the other hand, believed she never even owned a proper bag during this time and carried most of her belongings in a cloth bag. Their vision was to create a bag that would alleviate and assist in everyday life – a trusted companion that always knows where the keys, wallet, laptop, gym clothes, and lunch are. As we know now, your Bukvy.
"For me, Bukvy has always been a source of joy, and the most important thing is to keep it that way. I have so much fun! Maybe I would be more harmonious with a regular job, but I wouldn't have half as much fun!"
It started with Italy, a balcony and a glass of wine
Elena's entrepreneurial journey has always been guided by a sense of joy and creativity. Along with Joanna, she started fantasizing about building a joint project to express their creativity. The idea for Bukvy began to take shape during a walk on a trip to Italy. The Bukvy idea was further refined on Joanna's balcony as they sewed, tested, sketched, and enjoyed some wine. When they awaited the arrival of their first children, maternity leave provided them with the freedom to explore their creative energies, even though it was not part of their original plan. They took turns with parental leave, and their "regular jobs" existed alongside their growing Bukvy business in the early years. Elena acknowledges that even though the timing seemed perfect, the intention was not to turn Bukvy into a business during their maternity leaves. Instead, it started as more of a hobby. She emphasizes how, at times, she told others that she was engaged in typical "mom tasks" while secretly working on Bukvy. "Having a lot of fun and creative freedom is rarely a burden. I dodn't feel like I was missing out of anything."
A family affair
"Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs has definatly given me realistic expectations of the hard work required. But also the freedom to live your dream."
Elena comes from an entrepreneurial family and, therefore, understands the significance of the journey. As a child, she often visited her mother's office and was exposed to the world of hard, entrepreneurial work. However, it wasn't always evident that it would become her own reality. Elena often highlights that Bukvy is a lifestyle, not just a business, for her and her family. Her children are actively involved in the process, even though they sometimes wish she had a "regular job" and more free time. She involves her children in her creative projects and emphasizes the importance of pursuing one's ideas and dreams. The story repeats itself, and they live through their mother's entrepreneurial Bukvy journey, experiencing both successes and setbacks. Just as she did as a child.
Growing the Bukvy bag community
Since their ideas flowed on the balcony, several years have passed, and Bukvy has grown organically year after year. In the first year, the duo produced 12 bags and sold them. This allowed them to produce 40 bags the following year, and so on, each year. In this way, Bukvy's bag community has grown organically year after year.
"The first year, we produced around 12 bags and sold all of them. The next year, we produced 40 bags and sold all of them. This year, we're producing several hundred bags! The best thing for me is seeing our bag community grow year after year!"
always on call
With a thousand irons in the fire, Elena meets various collaborators while at home with her partner Mattias and their children Edda and Bon. Elena values the presence of her family in her journey with Bukvy. She mentions her separation from her partner a few years ago, but their reunion led to reduced stress and shared responsibility. Maintaining social activities, raising children, sustaining a relationship, exercising several times a week, and running a growing business could not smoothly coexist. This was a new insight that prompted her to reevaluate her view of achievement and what constitutes success.
She often thinks of an event in New York with Joanna, which was an epiphany about their inability to consistently deliver outstanding results. Sometimes it's just about showing up, and the event itself was not really a disaster. But their self-imposed standards made them see it that way. Elena has learned to accept that not all aspects of life can be in harmony, and some things are inevitable priorities, like her children. Other aspects may require compromise, but Elena emphasizes that she makes that choice every day.
keeping her bukvy ready for everyday
Elena is a lover of autumn and is thrilled that autumn has finally arrived, looking forward to returning to work and establishing routines. "Autumn is my favorite time, and I long to work and have routines. That's me!" In her office on Söder, she manages everything from production, finances, and marketing and coordinates everyone involved in Bukvy. Elena always has a thousand irons in the fire. For her, Bukvy is still a project that helps her organize her daily life. In her office, the bag stands on its own pedestal, ready with keys, wallet, notepad, and laptop. For Elena, it's a great relief to never have to wonder where her things are. They are always in their place, just where they were yesterday.