Yes, this is about my grandfathers entrepreneurship!
And his trade? Flowers! He peaked while selling carnations that he grew in most of his many greenhouses before moving on to grow and distribute roses. He passed in his late 80’s with one of the best nicknames in Sweden. “The Rose King” :)
I know there are neither carnations or roses in the pictures above, just some other flowers I found on my walk the other day.. Sorry!
So what did I learn from grandfathers entrepreneurship? He passed away before I was mature enough to understand all the lessons he could have taught me. But I do know he inspired me. He was the first to tell me that “You are going to be a fine businessman my boy” before I could walk.
Anywhoo. He did really well at times. He owned big gardens and greenhouses in Sweden and France. He lived a comfortable life and socialised with a lot of interesting people. He traveled the world and installed one of Swedens first private swimming pools
after flying over mansions in L.A. All this and more was paid for with carnations. From what I heard carnations sold like butter back in the day and a lot of people made good money from it. Giving my grandfathers skills in the garden and as a salesman, he was one of the biggest distributors in Scandinavia.
However, clever logistical systems and increased heating costs lead to decreased margins and he had to change his business model. This is when he enters the kingdom of roses. This business was a lot tougher and he sold many of his assets, including the properties he owned in France. He never got back financially. Rather the opposite if I’m honest. But his reputation and network stayed intact. He became a great influence and a source of wisdom for the flower-growing community and ended his days that way. Low on cash, but rich in respect and love.
I love the story of his life. He went to the top (was very wealthy at times) then made some mistakes in managing his assets before dying where he started.
It’s easy to say he should have diversified, invested in real estate and stocks or something, but life works that way. He was an entrepreneur with a passion for flowers. He didn’t want to buy houses, he didn’t want to learn about the stock market, he wanted to do flower business. That attitude is a must to succeed as an entrepreneur even though it sometimes ends up killing you. The only thing that could have changed his destiny is a person strong enough to win his trust and then investing part of his assets. But I’m not sure such a person exists. He had a strong mind and a strong will. Getting him to alter his path would have been hard for anyone.
I loved my grandfathers entrepreneurship. He was one of the most charming men you’d ever meet and he inspired a lot of people to live more, love more and do better. Good man!
You can read more about my grandfather HERE (in Swedish)