Confectionery products are always in huge demand around the globe. To delight consumers and maintain their love affair with sweets intact, global brands regularly come up with confections with a variety of ingredients and flavors.
Speaking of sweets, liquorice products have long been a popular snacking option, particularly in the West. The preference for liquorice brands is picking up worldwide rapidly. Confectionary companies’ innovative and customized liquorice products are propelling their market demand to new heights globally.
However, one may find some people who are not so fond of liquorice products, which is because they have not yet been introduced to different varieties and flavours of liquorice in the first place.
On a mission to change this scenario across the world and to make people fall in love with liquorice, LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW was established.
This is the story of passionate craftsmanship for gourmet liquorice. In 2007, LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW created exceptional Danish liquorice, and today the company continues its journey of creating surprising combinations and sensorial taste experiences with the finest natural liquorice as its core.
We had an opportunity to interview the passionate Founder and Creative Director of LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW, Johan Bülow, where he discussed his inspirations, his journey that led to the foundation of the company, and then scaling it rapidly to become one of the most loved liquorice brands in the world.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Please brief our audience about your company. Kindly tell us the source of inspiration for venturing into the Sweets and Confectionery industry.
I’m Johan Bülow, the Founder and Creative Director of LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW. I was born on a small Danish island called Bornholm. My family has always had entrepreneurial spirits, which have been an inspiration for me since the beginning.
My mother always wanted me to do something for which I had a passion. I have always had a love for liquorice, so I gave my complete attention to making a slow-crafted version, which was done using only high-quality ingredients. At the age of 23, I followed my passion and opened my first store on Bornholm.
Customers responded positively to my store, The LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW, inspiring me to do more and explore more. In 2008, I started creating chocolate-coated gourmet liquorice, which has now become our best-selling product. We still proudly produce every one of our products locally in Denmark, in a factory located just outside of Copenhagen.
Kindly enlighten us about your mission.
We are on a mission to make the world fall in love with liquorice – one liquorice at a time. It is why LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW has been based on sampling since the very first piece of liquorice was created.
Today, we are extremely proud to have launched the world’s biggest sample offering. We are offering anyone, anywhere, a free sample of our liquorice if you promise to share it with a hater and join our mission. According to our calculations, we will have converted 84% of the world into liquorice lovers in… 412 years and 292 days.
Kindly brief us about yourself. Also, shed some light on your journey in the Sweets and Confectionery industry.
As I said earlier, I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, and my mother kept providing me with motivation ever since I was young. She always said to me: ‘If it feels like work, you are doing it wrong.” My mother played a significant role in helping me to find my passion in life and then work on it to turn it into a job.
I remember, 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 sweets’ shop, where he cooked and sold handmade sweets. There I saw how tourists were attracted by the smell, encouraging them to come inside the store and taste the products. It was a fascinating experience to see how the consumers interacted with the product and how the experience affected their curiosity. This was a major inspiration for my idea to create LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW.
I would also like to mention that I always loved liquorice, but also felt that there was so much more that could be done with the unique flavour. Being 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.
Being in the strongest selling segment of the food market, can you elaborate upon the products that make your organization stand out from the competition.
I feel that the proof is always in the taste. That is why we didn’t spend any money on advertising. Instead, we came up with 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. For us, 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 strategy that has been crucial in helping us to grow our brand.
Through our store, we continue to push the boundaries of gourmet chocolate-coated liquorice creations. After 15 years of passionate craftsmanship, we have just unveiled our new organic SLOW CRAFTED range, comprising of three innovative flavours: Mango Vanilla, Caramel Date, and Dark Truffle. This range is also sold in recyclable and reusable glass jars.
What advice would you like to give to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the Sweets and Confectionery industry?
I have made all kinds of mistakes, from the beginning of founding the company until this day, and I will probably make more mistakes in the future. But in the end, I think it is important to pick yourself up and learn from these mistakes. It sounds like a cliché, but it is true. Try to make the best of it. I don’t think I would have been where I am today if it weren’t for learning from the mistakes I have made. Being bold enough to take chances If I had not, I am sure I would not have been able to create a whole new confectionery category.
Initially, for me, finding the balance between family, downtime, and work was 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. But now, I have learned the importance of balance; I spend time with my family, playing football with my children. Giving myself the space to clear my mind energizes me and also allows me to make better business decisions.
How do you envision scaling your organization’s services and operations in 2022 and beyond?
Next year, we plan to open our first standalone store in the United Kingdom, in the heart of London. This expansion strategy is in line with our mission. 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.