This week's profile:

Name: Maria Engström

Role in the company: Founder and CEO of Reunion and Soulsisters.

Age: 59 years

Family: Yes!

Pets: Three dogs ALVA Icelander 13 years, MALTE chocolate lab 2 years, ZOE Russian street dog 2 years. Two farm cats KLING and KLANG, almost 1 year old.

Hello Maria!

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I started Reunion in 2003 – we're celebrating our 20th anniversary this year! It started when I found a cinnamon soap and an ant-shaped faucet at a resort in Thailand. I took these products to Sweden and then we were up and running!
I am a marketer from the ground up. Has worked for many years in the advertising industry in Stockholm and Malmö. Around the year 2000, I left the advertising industry and entered the start-up world. I had to both build and dismantle companies before I started my own in 2003.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?

As a self-employed person, you get challenges all the time. There may be difficulties in production, delayed or missed deliveries. Current challenges that we are in the middle of right now are pandemics and wars, which affect people's private finances and freedom of movement. Keeping the finances in balance in a large company like Reunion is perhaps the biggest challenge. Both hardest and funnest. You must never ever settle down.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There are probably no typical days hahaha... I usually start by driving to Reuniongården or our warehouse in Borrby to take care of orders that need to be packed and gone. At the same time, I work in my head with interior design of new environments at Reunion Farm. I talk to my producers in Italy and plan collections, visits, deliveries, colors. I order goods from various colleagues around Scandinavia to fill Reuniongården and our webshop with beautiful things. I plan food economics and raw material deliveries for our café and I make sure that Reunion Farm stays nice and tidy. If I need help with that, I call Kenneth, who is our property manager and my right hand when it comes to all the properties. Some days I go in and work actively if someone on the staff is sick or off. One week a month I go to Italy and our production there. My job is incredibly varied and I really love every minute.

What is the most memorable thing you have experienced in the company?

There are so many memories that have etched themselves. We have a lot of fun and that permeates the business. A memorable moment was when we were named Store of the Year 2021 by Magasinet Skåne. It was a fantastically nice grade for my entire staff and all the hard work we put in together.

What interests do you have outside of work?

Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. 24/7. The thoughts never stop spinning. There is always development potential to grasp. At the same time as I think about the future, I like to cook or bake. It's my relaxation. I love cookbooks and I love cooking together on the weekends. It is the height of happiness to enjoy all the chopping, the conversations and to enjoy a good wine in the meantime. I read quite a lot and I love my dog ​​walks every day. Nature is a great source of replenishment for me. And long lovely conversations about just about everything, with my loved ones. Art and interior design are also close to my heart. Seeing a theater performance or an art exhibition can give me energy for weeks.

How do you describe yourself in three words?

Oh so hard. Loyal, driven, loving.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned in life?

That everything will work out. That everything boring, stressful or nightmarish passes. Believe me. Even when you think you have it figured out, give that last push a chance, everything will work out. Everything will be fine.

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