Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

How We Built it: Johan Bülow, founder of LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW

  • Give us the elevator pitch. Tell us about your brand

Since 2007, we’ve been on a mission to make the world love liquorice, by turning the unique Nordic food into a premium, gourmet treat. Through passionate craftsmanship, we put a luxury spin on liquorice, crafting it slowly from high quality ingredients. Over the years, we’ve enjoyed creating surprising combinations and sensorial taste experiences with liquorice as our core. 

  • What inspired you to set up your company 

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, and from a young age, my mother always told me: “If it feels like work, you are doing it wrong”. My mother inspired me to find my passion in life and turn it into a job. One summer, in my early 20’s, I travelled to Bornholm with my now wife, Sarah, to visit my family and see my uncle’s new sweet shop, where he cooked and sold handmade sweets. I saw how tourists were intrigued by the smell, encouraging them to come inside the store and taste the products. It was fascinating, the way the consumers interacted with the product and how the experience affected their curiosity. It is this that inspired my idea to create LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW.

I always loved liquorice but felt that there was so much more that could be done with the unique flavour. As someone who loves to challenge the status quo, I set myself a challenge: to elevate liquorice into a gourmet experience. Each time I make a new flavour, I am continuing to challenge the industry.

  • What was your biggest challenge in year one

In the first year, we came up against a few challenges, specifically perfecting the recipe. I spent a year in my mother’s kitchen, trailing different techniques in an attempt to make the best liquorice. I was so driven. Each time I failed the passion to succeed was greater, and I’d try again. We also had trouble finding someone to produce our first liquorice machine.

  • What would you say has been your biggest marketing success

The proof is in the taste. We didn’t spend any money on advertising. Instead, we created a huge sampling campaign. We know that liquorice is a flavour that splits the country and the only way we could convert the haters was to get them to try it. The realisation of people actually enjoying their first LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW is incredibly powerful. Then, we let word of mouth do its job. It is this that has been crucial in helping the brand to grow.

  • What has been the biggest mistake you made

Finding the balance between family, downtime, and work has been tough. At first, like anyone starting a company, I put everything into my work, so much that I didn’t allow myself the time away to reflect. Now, I have learned the importance of balance; I spend time with my family, play football with my children. Giving myself the space to clear my mind, energises me, and allows me to make better business decisions. 

  • Tell us about your plans for the future

In summer 2022, we’ll be opening our first standalone store in the UK, in the heart of London at Borough Yards. We have already changed the way the Danes view liquorice, and now we’re on a mission to make the world love liquorice – one liquorice at a time. After 15 years of passionate craftsmanship, we will also be unveiling our new organic SLOW CRAFTED range, consisting of three innovative flavours; Mango Vanilla, Caramel Date and Dark Truffle. The range will be sold in recyclable and reusable glass jars and will be available to purchase from July 7 at lakridsbybulow.com (RRP: £27.00) and select retailers.

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