Lagom (lah-gum) is a Swedish term that means “not too little, not too much”: it’s all about balance, and it’s infused throughout Swedish culture. We see it in our own Guide, Emi, whose Swedish family’s influence can be seen in the grounded, balanced energy she brings to everything she does. And we see it in every one of the Swedish brands we carry:
M Picaut is one of the best selling skincare brands in Sweden, where it’s beloved in luxury spas and skincare clinics due to its utterly elegant, results-focused formulations — and their less-is-more approach is all about lagom. As its founder, Swedish model Mette Picaut, puts it, “Fewer products, loaded with the finest ingredients, will do more for the skin.”
Stockholm-based Manasi7 has a deeply thoughtful approach to makeup, insisting upon planet-friendly packaging and ingredients in its versatile, performance-focused products. Its creator, makeup artist Susanne Manasi Persson, also insists upon shades that cater to all skin tones; as she tells us, “This should be the norm rather than the exception.” And she does this — magically, refreshingly — without making you sort through billions of different shades. Lagom, indeed.
And Bollebygd-based MyHavtorn was our first Swedish partner and can be credited with igniting our love affair with this culture. Since the family behind it (pictured above) lives on a farm where they grow their own hero ingredient — sea buckthorn — lagom is built into everything they do: we’d be hard-pressed to identify anyone who lives in greater harmony with their surroundings.
As we prepared to put together a celebration of lagom for our email newsletter, we asked MyHavtorn’s co-founder, Robin, to tell us his thoughts about the concept. As always, he was happy to share his perspective, and we loved it so much we thought we’d share it with you, too.
Hej! I’m actually in Hamburg, Germany this weekend with my dad (in the photo above) as well as my partner Ingrid’s dad and brother. We’re running the Hamburg Marathon tomorrow, so we are doing our best to get in good shape for the race.
Lagom, what a nice theme. Running a marathon is probably not a good example of lagom, but one of the world’s largest half-marathons is in Gothenburg every year. A lot of Swedes run that race and it’s probably a better example of lagom — not going to extremes, but not doing as little as possible, either. It’s about finding something in between, in the perfect amount: not too much, not too little.
I would say lagom is well connected with a common rule of sorts here in Swedish culture called jante law. Everyone here knows not to try to put ourselves on a pedestal or act in a way that’s condescending, and lagom can be the concept that helps us follow the jante law.
So by choosing things that are lagom, you get the just right amount of all kinds of things: you can brag about yourself, but in a lagom amount; you can eat a lagom amount of food. Or you could avoid running a full marathon (I would say a half-marathon is much more lagom).
love from Hamburg!