“I make accessories in salmon skin completely by hand in my studio in Stockholm, in a small area called Siberien,” said Daniel Ankarstrand.
The Swedish entrepreneur has named the brand and company after the place where he grew up. The area got its name at the end of the 19th century, when it was remote from the capital city center at the time.
“It all started with an Ipad case I received as a Christmas present from my mother-in-law in 2011. It did not suit me, so instead of just getting another one, I wondered how difficult it would be to make one myself? In 2016 I established the brand Sibirien Stockholm and from 2018 I have done this full time.”
“My aim has always been to make products of the highest quality. I do not want to compromise by skipping steps in production or using materials that aren’t top of the line. But when competing with the biggest brands in the world, it takes some time to convince the customer that they should choose a Sibirien Stockholm wallet instead of one from Louis Vuitton,” he admitted.
The company is still in an early commercial phase.
“Working with a new material such as salmon skin has put me in a niche in the luxury segment that is growing in public opinion about sustainability – and it is becoming more and more important.
But to answer your question, I am still in the establishment phase. It takes time to build a luxury brand. But now I have the Swedish Fashion Council that supports me. They are as convinced as I am that this is the way to build a luxury brand in 2020,” explained Ankarstrand to SalmonBusiness.
“The plan was to make it profitable this year, but when the pandemic took over the world, I had to rethink my strategy. Half of my products are related to travel, which is not the most important thing these days, so this autumn I am launching indoor slippers in salmon skin that have received a fantastic response. Salmon skin as a pure by-product from the fishing industry is the future of high end fashion, and I will be damned if Sibirien Stockholm would not be profitable when this year ends.
Marketing via Instagram is central to the strategy. The company has well over 13,000 followers, and frequently posts both photos and videos.
Ankarstrand will differentiate his products from durable salmon skin with a Scandinavian minimalist design. Sibirien Stockholm’s vision is to be at the forefront of sustainable luxury consumption and show the unique properties of salmon skins to produce a high quality product.
“Through a strong focus on sustainability, Siberia Stockholm works for a better world in luxury accessories. Therefore, the company manufactures its products from a durable material that has total transparency around the production. Salmon skin is a by-product of the fishing industry. It comes from farmed salmon in the Faroe Islands, the skin is tanned in Iceland and contributes to the circular economy. The material is not a substitute for other exotic materials, it has its own values and is of the highest quality,” he said.
The craft is an important part of the business.
“I work according to the French tradition in crafts, and Hermès is one of my great sources of inspiration. For me, it is important to create a sustainable product of the absolute highest quality. I will never compromise on that.”
“The salmon skin is a fantastic material, and I have made it my goal to show the world how beautiful and unique this skin is. With ever-increasing requirements for sustainability and transparency in product production, there is an increased demand among consumers to find products that meet these requirements. I am very proud to work with a sustainable leather that is Nordic made all the way through. The exquisite material combined with the craftsmanship gives the products a unique feeling,” he added.
Ankarstrand is both ambitious and visionary in his pursuit of success in a demanding and highly competitive market.
“I want Sibirien Stockholm to be bigger than just a luxury brand. I want Sibirien to be a symbol of the conscious consumer. The Swedish Fashion Council is helping to take my brand to the next level. They are convinced that our way of building a luxury brand is the way into the future. And building a bridge between the fashion industry and the fishing industry would be fantastic. Making a fashion product out of a pure by-product is a visual way to show how effective a circular economy really works.”