Caroline Lenner from Sweden brings innovative concepts to her father’s gravestone business after years of study and experience in many industries
The young lady in the photo above is Caroline Lenner, in charge of business, marketing, and economics at her father’s stonemasonry company Orsa Stenhuggeri AB, and she had said in a portrait in the magazine “Sten“ (1/2022) that she wants to “expand the image of the stone industry and show how much excitement, fun, and potential it has after all.“
We, who read the quarterly magazine of the Swedish Natural Stone Association with the help of an automatic translator, naturally wanted to know immediately what she meant in detail. Because worldwide, not only in Sweden or Scandinavia, the stone sector has big problems with the new generation.
And likewise, although natural stone as such has a very positive image worldwide as valuable, and recently also, pollution-free material, the industry does not encounter large demand from young people.
So, we asked Caroline Lenner what she meant by “excitement, fun, and potential“.
About herself: her “dad’s“ company, as the translation goes, was never an option for her in life. The business, with its focus on gravestones, had always seemed somehow boring and old-fashioned to her.
She preferred to study economics with a focus on real estate and housing, then added a qualification in business management, worked for some time as a real estate agent and partner in a company in Gothenburg, and finally gained experience for 2 years as a project manager in the construction industry in the national capital Stockholm.
After 10 years she came back to Orsa where her father’s company is located. She writes, “Suddenly I saw the potential. I realized, the enormous possibilities of the company and how I could exploit my experience there.“
She outlines starting points: Specifically, she wants each employee to have precisely defined responsibilities. “We have to move with the times and complete customer orders faster and reduce costs. We cannot continue to work as before,“ she says as her guiding principle.
This also includes the use of modern technologies such as CNC machines, etc., she said. “After all, these technologies are part of all areas of our everyday life – we also have to use them in our work.“
At the same time, she also wants to emphasize in recruiting young talent that her company uses these technologies in the workplace.
And then how does she feel about traditions, which have a very high value among stonemasons in particular?
She does not see traditions as an obstacle to modernization, but rather as the foundation of the stone professions. “Traditions and history have been important to humans at all times, and I think it’s important to keep those parts to show how genuine our work is.“
In other words, she is concerned with adapting the work on stone to the present without losing tradition as a source of identity.
This naturally raises the question of the products and services her company offers. “When I entered the industry, I was struck by the fact that there are so many opportunities. We have a solid material from which we can create fantastic products and there is not much that limits us,“ she writes in response to our question.
She is also thinking about new product ideas. The Swedish association has just held a competition for young students on product design with natural stone. We add: from Brazil to Italy and Turkey to China there are similar initiatives in the stone sector.
On Orsa Stenhuggeri’s webpage, there is an interesting aspect to this, which shows a whole new self-image of the company towards its customers: “We invite you to present your ideas to us, to produce something that no one else has besides you.“ This can refer to gravestones, but also everyday objects.
Orsa Stenhuggeri AB (Swedish)
Magazine “Sten“, 1/2022 (Swedish)
Photo: Sara Lansgren
(20.06.2022, USA: 06.20.2022)