It all started in Paris
We (Esben and Karsten) met in Paris when we both worked for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Paris was awesome and we had some amazing times there!
Working at the OECD was great too... but somehow we both knew that we wanted something more. To do something different. To contribute with something meaningful, and something that was close to people. But we didn't know exactly what!
Google Docs to the rescue
One of the things we did was to create a Google doc where we shared all our ideas and thoughts. Karsten had been working on several sustainability projects at the OECD and saw a potential for better consumer information - and we both wanted to do something to help push our consumer society in a different direction.
We didn’t like where it was heading.
It took some time for the the project to develop though. Esben moved back to Denmark but we continued to meet regularly to talk about our ideas and make plans for the future.
At some point we decided we had to do something if our plans were to become more than... well plans. Karsten moved back to Denmark and we started working more committed on the project - although we had a LOT to learn about startup life. A defining moment for us was reading the book “Getting Real” (but we admittedly still have a long way to go).
What's wrong with our consumer society?
We started out by building amiiko - a site that shows the consequences of our consumer society.
As consumers we are often alienated from the consequences of the stuff we buy. We don’t see the sweatshops that produce our clothes, or the forests that are cut down to produce palm oil for our food, makeup etc. With amiiko we wanted to create increased transparency about the consequences of the stuff we buy.
Working on amiiko also made us realize even more that BIG changes are needed in our consumer society. But amiiko is not very action oriented - it shows problems more than solutions. So we turned to FirmHugger to create a place where people can find ethical companies and products with great green stories and be inspired to take part in positive change!
Startup life is great! It’s a lot of long nights working, eating pizza, getting a beer... and then working again. In other words, completely awesome :)
A startup is also filled with uncertainty, but that’s just a fact you have to live with. It comes down to how great it is to work with friends, and on something you really love.
Steve Jobs said it well:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Neither of us would miss those late nights working, eating pizza, and watching inspirational films and documentaries for anything!
Working on FirmHugger has also meant that we have met some incredibly great and talented people, and gotten to know lots of cool companies that are passionate about using their business to create positive change.
This has been a big inspiration and has definitely increased our own passion and determination.
Another great thing about startup life is that you get to go on working holidays to for example Berlin and Sicily. We can highly recommend that :)
What’s in the future?
Oh boy! There is so much we want to do! We have a Google doc called “FirmHugger - upcoming features”. It’s 5 pages of bullets with stuff we want to do. Another doc (even more pages) is called “BIG ToDo’s”. It’s ideas for new projects, new ways to develop the concept etc. etc. So we won’t run out of stuff to do anytime soon! Good thing we have a great team :)
That’s our story so far.
We hope you’ll stick around, and we’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments - or just want to say hi.
Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org