Celebrate Success – Ben Gorham

Ben Gorham
38, creative director

What’s in a smell? Ask Ben Gorham – founder of scent emporium Byredo, entrepeneur extraordinaire, family man and former basketball pro – and you will probably get a rebound: What’s in a dream?

Byredo launched in 2006 with a line of four perfumes. A decade after its inception, the Stockholm based brand boasts 23 different fragrances, close to 150 beauty and body care products, scented candles, a capsule collection of sun glasses and a full range of leather goods, including backpacks and duffels.

But what psyches Ben Gorham the most is not really the products in themselves. It’s their effects. Take Insensatus, his joint project with Belgian-German artist Carsten Höller. It’s a toothpaste. But it also someting that, potentionally, takes your brain to another dimension.

Ben Gorham explains:

– Scents have amazing ways of affecting your mind. They revive memories, paint very vivid pictures. I wanted to create a fragrance that would sort of guide your dreams through the night. Carsten Höller then had the brilliant idea of adding taste to the process.

Et voilà: A toothpaste!

– Research suggests that men, women and children dream very differently. And brushing your teeth is the most mundane ritual of the day. So depending on which of our three toothpastes you use before you go to bed, you also get to choose what your dreams will be. The magic of it is that it actually works.

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This almost existential approach to business seem to be how Ben Gorham operates. Most of his ideas – be it a new fragrance, or a whole product line – come from specific memories or experiences. And a lot of his work is based on relations: family, friends, acquaintances.

Teaming up with Sneakersnstuff was no different. Ben Gorham has known Erik Fagerlind and Peter Jansson since his teens, shooting hoops and yearning for boxfresh kicks.

– We were all part of the late 80’s early 90’s hip hop thing in Stockholm. But you couldn’t really get good sneakers in Sweden then. When Sneakersnstuff opened for business, Erik and Peter created a new segment here.

Sneakers, in a way, is also what led Ben Gorham to where he is today.

– Being so obsessed with something, just an accessory really, but also something that carried meaning and mirrored your identity and culture, was really an eye-opener for me. When I started drawing up plans for Byredo, I brought that with me.

These days, Ben Gorham lives just a few blocks from the first Sneakersnstuff store in the Södermalm district of Stockholm. And in terms of entrepreneurial core values, they’re still on the same page:

– In terms of role models, Erik and Peter are the guys. Their business is a labour of love, and the same goes for Byredo. I really just wanted to create something where, waking up everyday, I could do exactly what I wanted. To me that’s the only success that matters.

So, before going to bed, which toothpaste do you use?

– I’d rather dream like a child.

The adidas Originals Stan Smith ”Tuxedo” is available now at Sneakersnstuff.

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