Oriol Calderó is from Barcelona, was inspired in San Francisco and now runs a successful business in Copenhagen. The 36-year-old is behind Golden Beards, the first organic beard wax and oil company based in the Danish capital. Calderó not only sells to the bearded natives, he also exports his products to countries like Finland and the Netherlands.
We spoke to Calderó about the ease of setting up a business in Denmark, his opinion about beard trends and his recently opened barbershop in Nørrebro.
Why did you choose Denmark?
I never thought about living here. My girlfriend is from Sweden and we had visited Copenhagen before.
We decided to move two years ago because my girlfriend was looking for a place to study and to me it made little difference whether we went to Denmark or Sweden. I left my comfortable life in Barcelona and opened myself to a new world of personal and professional opportunities.
What is your current job?
I'm kind of a multi-tasker. In the mornings, I work for the company One.com with hosting and domain management support aimed at Spanish speakers. Then, in the evenings I focus on my own company, Golden Beards, which is growing more and more.
Why did you set up Golden Beards?
The idea came during a trip to California. I was in San Francisco and I saw a lot of shops selling beard products. I came into the shop and the clerk asked me what I used for my beard. At that point, I didn't even know that people used products for their beards. But these kinds of shops were everywhere and I realized you could run a business selling beard products. But first I had to see if Denmark was an appropriate market for doing it. I discovered that in Sweden there's a big company called Mr. Bear Family that sells pretty well, so I wanted to do the same thing in Denmark.
I decided to go for it and now I sell products online throughout Europe despite the fact that Denmark is one of the most expensive countries to send packages from. One of my company's largest markets is Finland. The business started as a small exporting company, but now it's really grown. My house is full with stickers, oils, and waxes, and I make every product by hand.
When will the beard trend finally be over?
Hipster fashion was the starting point for my business. Maybe the hipster trend will come to an end, but there have always been beards. My dad has always had a beard. The beard was there before the hipsters. I also aim to sell hair wax, with an eye toward the Asian market, which isn't as in to facial hair. I think I have a good product that is not only organic, but vegan. All of my products come from natural oils.
What's the key behind an impressive beard?
Some people grow their beards thinking: “Great, I don't have to shave anymore." But that's not true. In fact, you have to trim the beard often and wash it properly. It's no different from hair care.
Do you think Danish people spend more than others to look good?
I have more and more Danish clients, but this is an online product. It doesn't matter where I live, I could continue managing my business. That's why I'm planning to set up a barber shop and have a physical establishment to sell to Danes. To be honest, it is not so easy to do business with Danish people, especially if you don't speak Danish.
Have you considered to learn Danish?
It's difficult to sell your product here if you don't speak Danish, but I have never thought about learning. But then again, I also never imagined I'd set up a barbershop and here I am about to open one in my neighbourhood, Nørrebro.
What was the most difficult part of establishing a company outside your home country?
Setting up a business in Denmark is really easy. You can be working in two hours, you just sign up and get the CVR (Central Business Register number). The ease of starting a company in Denmark is great. I never set up a business in Spain; the terms for creating a company there are ridiculous.
What is the most important thing for making it in Denmark?
Work and consistency. You have to wait for your opportunity. I set up some other businesses before I finally found a successful one. It wasn't difficult to do it, but you have to be ready to do it.
Do you have any other new projects coming?
I manage the online environment very well so I have some new ideas for developing statistics tools for Instagram. I want to develop a free version of some tools. It seems like ever since I came here, I see opportunities everywhere.