She is the co-founder of an interesting, luxury, second-hand enterprise in India- VRTT vintage. Meet Hanna Strömgren who hails from Sweden and is a brand strategist by profession. This column unravels Hanna’s journey and how she encourages women to make a genuine connection and uplift each other through WAC (Women About Community).
Wedding- A Beautiful Affair That Brought Two Cultures Together
Throughout the planning process, we were a very involved couple (Hanna and Saif Khan). Having a professional background in wedding planning myself, I had mood boards ready for my white wedding for as long as I can remember. From invite design to venue decor, food, transport vendor, sound setup and pool floats – I stuck my nose in everything. While I probably drove a few people mad in the process, it was important for us to work closely with our planners and vendors, to ensure that the wedding was very personal and something that our guests as well as us ourselves would enjoy and remember always.
Our vision (for our wedding) was to ensure that it would exemplify who we are as people – our story and life together. Knowing we had so many foreigners coming to attend our wedding from overseas, we also wanted a well-organized and comfortable wedding for our guests, so logistics and hospitality was always at the centre.
First Meeting- A Love Story!
We met a couple of times in passing at events and parties in Mumbai, but eventually spent time together during a weekend in New York, when we had both traveled there for some work, and after that we just kept in touch. A couple of months later, I was supposed to leave India to take up a job elsewhere. Saif went off to Amsterdam for a week, and because I had told him that flowers and candles make me happy (sometime in passing), he returned with 200 multicolored tulips and my favorite scented candles.
Honestly, Saif never really needed to do much to sweep me off my feet! There was something about our energies that just connected since the first time we met. We were drawn to each other, and always had a lot of fun in each other’s company.
Fundraiser Rather Than Gifts
Saif’s mother tragically lost her battle to cancer a few years before we met. I sadly never had a chance to meet her. We wanted to do something to honor her memory, and in honor of her, help others battling the same disease. Ahead of our wedding, we reached out to our guests and asked them not to get us wedding gifts. Instead, we set up a Ketto campaign to raise money for St Jude’s Children Research Centre and their incredible work with childhood cancer treatment. Our guests had the option to donate to the campaign on https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/hswedding. After the wedding, we spent time at the St Jude’s Center with the children, and donated the funds. St. Jude’s brings cancer-affected children from all over India to large cities where they can receive treatment at little to no cost. It is an incredible platform that focuses on their patients beyond just their treatment, all to make sure that each child can gain strength back to full recovery.
Women About Community (WAC) – Vision Behind The Initiative
WAC was born out of the idea that when we are openly vulnerable, share and dare to be our authentic selves, true bonds of trust and support are formed. And vulnerability inspires vulnerability – it’s like a domino effect. WAC is a platform where women can share resources and advice, and ask for help openly without feelings of fear or worry. Sweden is a society which is very independent, but also very open in terms of sharing problems and concerns. I find India quite the opposite – a society where people are physically closer to friends and family than in most cultures, but where it’s less common to talk about things like mental or sexual health. With WAC, we are changing the narrative of what it means to be a young woman in today’s India – and offering a platform where women dare to be their true selves.
VRTT vintage- A New Enterprise
VRTT vintage is a platform co-founded by myself and my two partners, where consumers can buy and sell pre-owned luxury goods. We focus on curating collections of pre-owned, high-quality products, to promote and spread a conscious, fashionable lifestyle. The concept was really founded on the idea of passing on your personal culture – to extend the lifecycle of products we no longer use or wear, by passing them onto someone who will love them the way they deserve to be loved! The concept is close to my heart, being from Sweden, where the movements of buying second hand and living sustainably are crucial parts of society and culture. The concept is fairly new in India, but the Indian culture is also way more familiar with the idea of passing on personal belongings than most Western cultures are.
Quite Scandinavian, I would say! Practical, chic, comfortable, functional. Maximalist minimalism!
Concealer from Charlotte Tilbury, a light foundation from Anastasia, eyebrow pen from Bobbi Brown, bronzer from Nars, mascara and a matte nude lipstick from Two Faced. I like to keep my look natural, and on special occasions at most I will add a colourful, dark lip colour to spice things up a little.
Your workout routine
I do a mix of functional crossfit inspired workouts, combined with boxing and pilates. I also swim a lot. I like to mix things up a bit in order to not get bored – otherwise I am someone who quickly loses interest in things that become monotonous.
Byredo’s Slow Dance and Gypsy Water, and Monocle’s Scent One, Hinoki
Who is on your speed dial?
My mom and my sister! Both are in Sweden so it’s a mix of speed-text and speed-dial, but we are always in touch with each other despite the distance.
Can’t pick one. I love food. Japanese and Italian cuisines are my favourite, but I eat everything. I also love Scandinavian food, which mostly consists of local produce – lots of protein, fish and meats and carbs. I could live the rest of my life without another bite of sweet, but carbs, my biggest weakness.
Your spirit animal
Cat! Without a doubt.
Favourite holiday destination
Tokyo, Stockholm, London
TV shows you binge watch
Chernobyl, Succession, Dark, The Handmaids Tale, and The Crown. I am more of a documentary person than a TV show person though. I tend to get super addicted to a great show and I feel it wastes too much of my time that could be used towards other things. I do love a good show though!
Jonny Johansson, founder of Acne Studios
What makes you laugh?
Cat videos, My husband, Game night with friends, and Swedish comedy – there’s something special with enjoying comedy in your first language!
High waisted or oversized jeans, a tee, an oversized blazer, sneakers or heels depending on the occasion. 90% of the time sneakers, though.
Most treasured item on your wardrobe
My new Rick Owen x Veja sneakers. And all my oversized tees and sweater babies.
A cause that you feel strongly about
Cancer awareness and prevention