How Jessica Lingonstierna Is Making A 70’s Fashion Cool Again And Building A Global Luxury Footwear Brand Just Out Of Passion  And Hard Work

How Jessica Lingonstierna Is Making A 70’s Fashion Cool Again And Building A Global Luxury Footwear Brand Just Out Of Passion And Hard Work

Jessica Lingonstierna is an entrepreneur and the Owner and CEO of ACQUO of Sweden, a company that makes wonderful boots. She has been working with ACQUO since 2009 when she first came in contact with these amazing boots from 70’s. Now, six years later her company is finally producing them again and working hard to take it to the world.

At ACQUO Jessica looks after and guides the ACQUO team and works with marketing and sales. She also takes care of design and web presence of the company. She is also one of the ACQUO’s fashion models.

I don’t let myself be intimidated by what I don’t know. That can be my greatest strength, because then I do things my way. Not like everybody else. When obstacles come, I just change our direction towards our goal, but I will still reach our goal.

Future Startup: Please briefly tell us about yourself and your passion. Have you always been fascinated by boots and design?
Jessica: My name is Jessica and I am an entrepreneur. I love business and I love to work with a great crew like I do in ACQUO of Sweden. ACQUO of Sweden is my passion. I am totally focused on my business and I am more than determined to succeed.

I have not always been interested in boots, but I have always been interested in design, business and running my own company. My passion is to work with what I love, at hours that fits me and I love to work hard.

There is only one boss. And that is not me. It is the customer. I try every day to please our customers. I do my best to be myself first and the CEO second. I am a happy easy going person and I think (and hope) that people like to work with me. I trust my ACQUO crew and we have fun. It is important.

In December 2015 I was in China for two weeks together with our Sales Manager and Sourcing Manager to inspect production and sign paperwork. It was a wonderful experience for us and for the company. We had a great trip with a lot of fruitful business meetings.

We decided to use a factory in China as the old Tretorncompany in Sweden where they were made in the 70’s moved abroad a long time ago. We had carefully searched for a manufacturer since long and in many different countries before we decided on this one as the most suitable to fulfil our requirements.

FS: Describe your path to becoming an entrepreneur and what you are doing today.
Jessica: I have always been an entrepreneur. I don’t know where it came from. I bought my first little store/shop when I was only 17 years old. I like to be my own boss and I like to run a company and work for myself.

Today I am the owner and the CEO of ACQUO of Sweden. We are planning to grow big in the world, not only in Sweden.

I also think that life is fragile. We’re not guaranteed a long life so I like to live every day to the fullest.

When I innovate, I prepare myself for people to tell me that I’m crazy. These boots are soft, shiny and are made of 100 % natural rubber. I do believe in this wholeheartedly. And there is a growing demand for the ACQUO boots.

FS: Please tell us about ACQUO of SWEDEN. What ACQUO of SWEDEN does?
Jessica: We sell and make soft rubber boots. ACQUO rubber boots is a Swedish brand founded in the 1970’s.

The ACQUO boot has a history of innovation and sensuous design and is extremely popular. The boots are made of 100 % natural rubber.

I have been working with ACQUO since 2009 when I first came in contact with these amazing boots. Now, six years later we are finally producing them again! I started this company spring 2014.

ACQUO Of Sweden

ACQUO Of Sweden

FS: Talk a little bit about growth and the size of your business and the challenges you are facing with growth.
Jessica: I plan on growing globally fast. Our goal is to have ACQUO shops in many of the big cities in the world.

I am also interested in investors in the future. Right now we are producing our boots and will start selling over Internet on our own web site in April or May this year, 2016.

2015 has been a fun, hectic and challenging year for both me and ACQUO. I work both nationally here in Sweden and globally with the company ACQUO of Sweden.

We have invested in lasts and soles to have the new exclusive ACQUO product in 4 different shaft heights and 2 heel lengths. If the market requires other or new versions of the boots, we will also have the goal to respond to that, and are considering new colours and models for the future generation of ACQUO boots to meet the emerging needs from our customers.

I also think we can be successful because I love what I do. I think that no one can be successful, unless you first love your work.

FS: Tell us about entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sweden.
Jessica: Sweden is economically a very stable country and the government is very supportive about entrepreneurship but the cost is high, especially the tax rate.

We believe that Sweden is the next startup capital of Europe.

FS: How big your market size globally and how do you plan to grow over the years?
Jessica: The demand for luxury footwear is increasing day by day as the number of new riches is growing.

We don’t have the exact data about the overall market size of the rubber boot but the overall market size of footwear products is around $48 billion and I believe soon we will be a key player in this industry.

We will grow because we have a great product and our market survey showed very promising result about the demand.

We are also working with short commercial movies, working continuously to improve our website, we are producing ads and things like that to grow. Soon we will expand our business in North America, Asia and Australia

It’s about having the right people on the team, having a good crew that together with me works towards our goal with a good strategy.

AQUO Boots

AQUO Boots

FS: Tell us about few major obstacles and challenges you faced and the way you outperformed those obstacles.
Jessica: One obstacle we have had is that we had a hard time to find a good production plant which can produce these stunning boots.

We have been working with 3 different factories and it has taken a long time because they did not do a good job. Now we have found a factory that can make the perfect ACQUO boots. That was a big problem at first, but I just kept on working and looking for more factories with great help from our Sourcing Manager Bappy Sharker.

I also don’t let me be intimidated by what I don’t know. That can be my greatest strength, because then I do things my way. Not like everybody else. When obstacles come, I just change our direction towards our goal, but I will still reach our goal.

FS: It is incredibly hard to build a company. Particularly, the journey of building a company from scratch is hard one for the CEOs and founders. Many entrepreneurs referred it equivalent to eating glasses. Let’s talk about your personal challenges as a CEO.
Jessica: It’s about having the right people on the team, having a good crew that together with me works towards our goal with a good strategy.

It’s also about the right skills, tools and resources. I love what I do and it would not work if I didn’t have the passion to lead a company.

I also have another job on the side, so I have another income. That is important in the beginning if you don’t have a lot of money to start with. Some business you start doesn’t cost a lot of money, but this one really does.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Failure never lets me down. Maybe for a day or so, but then I am back again.

FS: Was there a point in your life when you decided to take a risk to move forward?
Jessica: I don’t see it as a risk. To me it is fun and to work with what I love. My passion is to have a big company.

I love fashion and I love working online. I also love traveling and being a model so this was never a risk to me, more of a chance. I thought, if this does not work out, I have at least tried.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Failure never lets me down. Maybe for a day or so, but then I am back again.

Fulfilling work is not really about the money to me. When you feel a big passion for what you do, you just continue to do it!

FS: Have you had any mentor along the way? Do you think everyone should have a mentor?
Jessica: Yes – different people that I trust. For example Bengt who is the founder of the boots in the 1970’s and also Kjell who is our Sales Manager.

But I also have a very strong belief in myself. Sometimes I think: Set realistic goals. Setting realistic goals will help you to believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish things.

But I don’t always follow that. I really set high goals also, and I love to do that. So I am also my own mentor.
I think that high expectations are the key to everything. I love this quote: ”If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”.

And I love what I do, and I do what I love. Every day.

Fulfilling work is not really about the money to me. When you feel a big passion for what you do, you just continue to do it!

FS: Have you ever failed throughout your journey? What do you think about Failure?
Jessica: No, I have never failed, but some “downs” along the way. But it just makes me stronger and work harder.

Somebody said: “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves”

Well, I never spent any time feeling sorry for myself.

FS: 5 lessons from your journey as an entrepreneur.
Jessica:
• Don’t quit. Success is not achieved overnight.
• Do what you love to do. Important, you must love what you do.
• Be nice and support the people that work with you. And give them a lot of credit.
• Be prepared to work hard and all the time. Make a commitment and stick to it.
• Don’t try to do everything that others are doing, believe in yourself!

FS: What does a typical day of you look like?
Jessica: It always starts with coffee with milk and my computer where I check all my e-mails. After that, every day is different.

I do different things such as arrange meetings and photoshoots (I also work as a model within my own company).
I also try to work on our web site and keep in touch with the crew.

Right now I am also spending time trying to find a good place here in Norrköping (where I live) to have ACQUO’s warehouse and maybe also our first little boutique.

FS: What advice would you give to a young person starting out?
Jessica: Believe in yourself and be prepared to work hard.

Images by ACQUO

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