Where did you get your ears pierced?
If you’re an American girl that came of age between the 1980s through today the likely answer is Claire’s. The accessories juggernaut has been a bedazzling utopia for young girls over the decades, and certainly was for me. I remember so vividly begging my mother to take me to Chicago Ridge Mall on the southwest side of the city to buy faux-pearl and lace chokers and fingerless black gloves so I could look cool at the 8th grade school dance (hey, it was the 1990s everyone wanted to dress like Madonna!).
All of these positive childhood memories came to the surface when I was asked to help inaugurate the first Claire’s store in Scandinavia. It was a true honor to cut the ribbon for an American company founded in 1961 in my hometown of Chicago.
The first store in Sweden is located in Farsta, about twenty minutes outside of Stockholm, and was where the ribbon-cutting ceremony took place. In addition to the opening, Claire’s revealed a sleek new style. Gone were the thick black carpets and heavy décor, and in its place a lighter, more accessible space that showcased the colorful glitter, beads and sequins dotting the walls even better.
The values that underpin the concept— promoting self-confidence and pride in young girls at an affordable price for all— is compelling and egalitarian. Every little girl and teenager deserves to feel beautiful no matter who she is and where she is from, and Claire’s has helped make that happen for many years. There’s also something special about a brand that can be interwoven into a young person’s coming-of-age story. Every girl remembers when and where she got her ears pierced. And most of those girls will connect that positive experience to a positive brand.
Connecting around shared values of accessibility, transparency, empowerment and sustainability (among many others) are pillars of the U.S.-Swedish commercial relationship which has always been strong, and I’ll argue has never been stronger than it is today.
The trading relationship between our two nations is valued over $25 billion annually. Even more striking are the figures that illustrate our relationship in business investment. Over the years, Swedish companies have invested over $40 billion in the U.S., creating about 176,000 jobs. In fact, Sweden is the 12th largest investor in the U.S. and among the very top investors on a per capita basis!
Business to business connectivity between the United States and Sweden is so vibrant and it’s always a pleasure when we can highlight that. Thanks Bjorn Krasse and the Claire’s Nordic team for including me in the opening! Looking forward to more occasions celebrating U.S-Swedish commercial ties!