How to combine ancient, traditional sustainable, green, knowledge, wisdom, expertise with smart, cutting edge technology

Submitted by Kristiina Libe on 26 June 2023

Kollage Alder Olmai kopiera

Many want to improve the world, and some are passionate about it. One of those is Linda Magdalena Jonsson, who, with her company Alder Olmai Supernaturalcolours, has decided to make the textile and fashion industry more sustainable.

"My main goal is not a commercial success but to make a difference and to work for the good of the planet," she says. Linda Magdalena Jonsson currently divides her time between freelancing as an art director and participating in Dalarna Science Park's incubator program with her green tech company.
She first contacted Dalarna Science Park in the autumn of 2021. Then, she also met Jörgen Bond, her business coach today.

– Linda Magdalena's ideas are some of the most strategically creative ideas we have seen here in the incubator. We are impressed that she is about to create something that could change an entire industry. Linda Magdalena is a very driven innovator with her heart and brain in the right place, says Jörgen Bond.

Since Sweden's foremost experts in textile development are located at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås, Dalarna Science Park has arranged a collaboration with the incubator Borås Ink which takes care of all parts related to the development and testing of the method. At the same time, Dalarna Science Park supports Linda Magdalena in the financing, brand, business model, etc.
Linda Magdalena says that the incubator program has opened many other doors in addition to the ongoing support from Jörgen and the other coaches.

– Dalarna Science Park's incubator is a great environment; the coaches are invaluable. They share their knowledge, encourage and inspire in a way that opens new paths and thoughts for me.

Dyeing in a natural way
Linda Magdalena has many years of experience in the international textile and fashion industry. She has lived and worked abroad, including in South Africa, where she has seen parts of the dirty side of the industry. – Business is often done in a way that completely lacks respect for human health and our planet. It was shocking to have that realisation.

During the years in South Africa, the idea was born of dyeing textiles with methods that do not require tons of hazardous chemicals combined with the desire to change the industry. Linda Magdalena began to read, ask around and explore the plant colouring of earlier times while maintaining her employment. But eventually, she got to a point where she felt she needed to drop out.

– There and then, I decided to continue to work only for the good of the planet and be true to my values. And so it has been.

To realise her ideas about natural colouring, in recent years, Linda Magdalena has continued to immerse herself in subjects such as botany, chemistry, history and psychology.
– Among other things, I have learned more about the natural plant dyeing methods used in different parts of the world. I have added modern, green technology to this ancient, traditional knowledge.

The method can be used in the textile and fashion world and become a quality label for dyeing with natural pigments. Thus, the Alder Olmai-brand would complement the manufacturer's brand in the same way as, for example, Gore-Tex. – Maybe getting a patent for my method is possible – maybe not. We are looking into it, and I hope it will work out. I'd rather focus on making the world better with serious producers than discussing who has the right to the innovative product.

Names from Sami mythology
It is clear that Linda Magdalena reflects a lot and that she has a humble and holistic view of life. She often thinks before answering a question or commenting, then formulates herself carefully.
The company's name, Alder Olmai Supernaturalcolours, has also been carefully thought out. For Linda Magdalena, the word mix stands above all, for the connection between past and future.
She has Sami ancestry on her mother's side and has taken the word "olmai" from Sami mythology.
"Olmai is a force that lives in a tree and invites us to the forest, while “Alder” is a tree common to northern climates. – I wanted to include Alder because the tree's bark has historically been used to dye clothes and as camouflage for hunters. Just like olmai, there are many myths around Alder.

The challenges strengthen
So far, Linda Magdalena is a solo entrepreneur, but she still doesn't think she's alone. In addition to the support in the incubator, she has several people close to her for support and help, she explains.

Currently, laboratory tests are being done on the dyed fabrics where they are exposed to wear, washing and light, all based on international standards. – I want to use natural materials as far as possible, so the results I'm now waiting for could be a milestone in the process, says Linda Magdalena, who likes the constant challenges she faces.
– Developing the company means I must experiment and explore new ways of thinking to move forward. So what's most challenging is also what's most rewarding.

Cluster organisation
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