Joel and Cecilia live in a villa in Ostvik, just outside Skellefteå. They have been renovating the house since 2016, and recently finished repainting the exterior in a gray-green color. Inside, the walls in the entrance hall have been scraped and the couple plan to hang new wallpaper. Joel Olsson says he got the inspiration for the shop from the renovation of their villa.
– I was trying different colors to find better and better alternatives. We will sell paint and cleaning products such as linseed oil soap. Everything will be free of toxins, he says.
Aren't there already a lot of eco-friendly paints? Like those that have the Nordic Swan eco-label?
–The Nordic Swan label is adapted to the market. It does not mean that the paints are harmless, only that they are less harmful than other paints. For example, acrylic paint is a petroleum-based paint that contains microplastics, which are already abundant in nature. These microplastics are released into nature when you rinse off the brush or scrape off the paint.
The plan is to build a small store next to the couple's farm. They have applied for a building permit from the municipality of Skellefteå.
The sales and daily operations of the store will be handled primarily by Joel. Cecilia's plans include teaching gardening classes.
My vision is to help people design healthy, sustaining gardens. Finding out how you can heal your small patch and what you can do for the climate. I also want to offer classes. We want people to be able to relax in the store and get information about garden, growing and wellness.
How did you become interested in gardening?
It started a little while ago when I was renovating my parents' house when I lived there, but it wasn't until we moved here that I was able to express it.
Joel is currently working as a teacher, but the plan is for him to reduce his working hours to 40% this autumn so that he can run the store. Cecilia works for LTU. Joel says the plan is to open the store sometime next year.
–The idea is for it to be open and ready by February. Then we'll see what happens, says Joel.
Isn't it a bit off the beaten path to have a store in Ostvik?
– Well, it's two kilometers to the E4. So it's quite close in that way.