Indie Retailer Month – Nielsen Sérverzlun
We’re kicking off our Independent Retailer Month Q&As with Laila Björnsdóttir Nielsen, the owner of Nielsen Sérverzlun in Reykjavík, who have been stocking Donna Wilson products for nine years now.
Hey Laila! Can you tell us a little about Nielsen Sérverzlun? Is there a story or concept behind your shop + how long has it been open?
My concept for Nielsen Sérverzlun can be described in two words – different and fun. I bought the store almost one year ago but I had been working as a buyer for the store for six years. When I bought it I changed the name to make it more my own. I wanted to have a store that would nourish all of the customers’ senses – sight, sound, smell and so on. I have products from all over the world and most of them are from small companies or individual artists.
What kind of products do you sell?
It could almost be what don’t you sell. I’m selling products that are fun, unusual, fair trade, design, colourful, useful and beautiful. I have socks, towels, toys, lamps, scented candles, incense, notebooks, perfumes – the list is almost endless. You need to see it to know it, and I am always finding new and interesting products.
What kind of people visit your shop? Do you have a typical customer?
Through the years I have had customers coming in saying my store is beautiful and really interesting and this is coming from both Icelandic people and tourists. I take that as a huge compliment because I always want to do better and aim high – maybe it’s the Capricorn in me. I can’t describe my typical customer because I get all kinds of people in the store, and that is what I love. I even have kids coming in saying this is their favourite store, and that is without a doubt the best compliment you can get.
What do you look for when selecting products or brands to sell in your shop?
I look for unusual products that are both functional and fun. I love fair trade products and I have about five or six of those and products from individual artists. I also love things that people would maybe not choose for their house, for example, insects in frames, animal bones, handmade voodoo dolls and so on. I want the customer to come in and find something for everyone.
How did you discover our brand and what do you like about Donna Wilson’s products?
At a trade show in Paris [Maison&Objet]. I absolutely love the colours, patterns and the quality of the products. They always bring a smile to the customers’ faces. I have some of the creatures and the kids love to come in and give them a hug. It’s a family-friendly company with lots of joy in it.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as an independent retailer?
Finding something that no other store in Iceland is selling. I do make a contract with my companies to be the only one is Iceland selling their products and that’s the reason my store is a bit different. So yes, the biggest challenge is finding something different from others.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Come to Iceland and visit Nielsen Sérverzlun, it’s worth it! But on a more serious note, I want to think Donna Wilson for being a part of the design world and to have the opportunity to sell her beautiful products in my store. Thank you, Donna!
Awww, thank you Laila!
July is Independent Retailer Month, a campaign that runs each year highlighting the important role that smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.