Short Film | 09.10 MIN

Portrait of

Johan Damgaard


Stockholm, Sweden

Still photography by

Adam Morris Philp

Interviewed by

Katrine Philp

Johan Damgaard

To do good and be a sustainable entrepreneur

What is the story behind Lykke Kaffegårdar? What do you do well and different in the coffee industry?

The difference is that we run our own farms in collaboration with the farmers, who are also owners with us at the roastery. Usually, roasters buy coffee for a low price, leaving nothing to the farmers and the environment. With this economically circular model, our vision is that no one and nothing (the environment) gets harmed when we enjoy a cup of coffee.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you look for in a business when you consider investing in it?

You can’t do business on a dead planet, so I try to find ideas or people with businesses that make a difference and leave a positive footprint. And the people behind the idea are of course crucial for success. Doesn’t matter how good the idea is or how much money you invest if the leader of the company isn’t great!

What should be considered when creating a sustainable business? What are your top tips?

Age: Most people with great companies start before they get too old and tired. 12-hour working days aren’t going to work with kids and when you’re no longer young.

Competence: You have to be the best at what you do. Or add people with competence.

The fact that more companies need to act. That we can’t do everything – but everybody can do something. And maybe influence others or bigger companies to do something.

I would say that all of our companies – LYKKE, Rscued etc – do more to promote and influence others than actually selling themselves. That’s the best impact of our sustainable ideas.

What’s behind the name ‘Lykke’ (the Danish word for happiness)? And why did you decide to name your youngest daughter that as well?

My friend and I found ourselves in quite a sad period after we sold Johan & Nyström and the new owners changed everything and people started to leave. So we sat down and asked ourselves what we all wanted, what’s the most important thing in life? To be happy and feel joy!

So the first name in Swedish was glädjekaffe. Then we worked with Lyckakaffe, but Lykkekaffe had more flow, and the two k’s is typographically nicer.

We ran into some problems when we wanted to register the name and had Olykke as an option. I like taking something bad and making it good. Then we had a daughter, and I liked Lykke as a name.

The importance of storytelling – why is the story we tell about our product and business so important?

People buy your story and why you do what you do. Not the things you sell. We have plenty of stories and know how to tell them with pictures and words.