A conversation with Cissi Nilsson
"Everyone deserves the right to live their lives without fear. As long as that right does not exist, we will exist."
October 9th 2023
Safety by Cilia was founded by CEO Cissi Nilsson, who six years ago had an insight that changed everything. After an unsettling incident in her own life, she decided to take matters into her own hands and gave birth to the idea of combining safety and design through jewelry-style personal alarms.
Where did you find the inspiration to combine safety and fashion?
It all started 6 years ago when I went through something that really shattered my sense of security. I started living very restricted and was afraid to do a lot of the things I took for granted before. About 2 years of living like that I started writing down things that would make me feel safe again and then I tried finding that product, but I never did. I only found big assault alarms I didn’t want to wear and none of them had any of the features that would make me feel safer. That’s when I decided to create Safety By Cilia, because it’s what I would have wanted myself to have that night.
In what ways do you take care of your mental health to nourish your creativity?
Since I’m really passionate about what I do it can be quite easy to burn out since you want to do all these thins and have big plans. So I try to set up boundaries for myself. I’m off my computer at 19.00 (sometimes I don’t follow that rule hehe”, I try to get 8 hours of sleep and workout 4-5 days per week. As long as I sleep, workout and eat well I’m pretty okay.
Altho all of our features are based of real cases of assault so that has been a bit roguh to go throughl especially since I’ve been through something myself but I talk a lot with the people around me and share my emotions which I think is very important.
I also buy fast food and watch reality shows all night with my friends, sometimes you need that too.
Something that’s kind of fun, when I started my company it actually really started after I watched the movie “Yes man” with Jim Carrey you know? It’s a movie about a guy that’s been saying no to his life and things around him for a long time, but then he goes to a ‘yes’ gathering and starts saying yes to everything instead and quite quickly his life started changing.
I got very inspired by the movie so I started doing the same thing, I said yes to literally everything for 2 years. I said yes to go to an event on one of the storms day’s in Sweden, the train got canceled so I had to take a cab to tekniska, the bus got cancelled so I had to walk to the event in the storm. I had just got off work and really didn’t want to go, I even forgot my suit so I had to get one a H&M just before. Any normal person would have cancelled, everything was telling be not to go.. But I did, and then I met out investors, at that exact event.
What I want to say about this is that me saying yes for all that time got me here, got our company here. But now that we are here I have learnt to say yes to the things I really want and feel the need to do but I have learnt to say no as well. What I’m trying to say I think is that it’s not sustainable to say yes to everything as well as saying no to everything. My mental health feels the best when it’s a little bit of both.
What is your most important learning throughout your journey with launching a brand new product?
That you have to be flexible and open to learning new things. In a startup things can change in an hour, you might have to solve an issue you have no expertise in and also with a deadline on top of that. Everything is 3 more times expensive than you thought it would be, it will take time and it will be twice as hard as you thought. You have to be passionate and want it with everything you got, cause it will be hard, it will feel hopeless at times but then you fall down and get back again. The big difference I think between a successful business and a non successful business I think is the people behind it and their willingness to keep trying, and learning. I mean I didn’t even now half of the things I now today last week, but that’s kind of the fun of it?
What is next? Can the concept work for other kinds of jewellery?
Right now we are working on creating assault alarms masked as earrings, we are the first in the world to do that so it’s quite exciting!
Also we have started to tailor our electronics for b2b sales which has been a very exciting journey.
Other than that our main focus right now is reaching out to more customers to increase awareness of our brand. When triggering an alarm your emergency contacts and all app users close to that person is notified, our goal now is to expand the amount of app users we have so that someone is always close.
Our bracelets are available on our website right now with a 16 week delivery time and our App will be launched in November. Other than that we have some new exciting collaborations with partners coming up. We are very excited for 2023.
Which one of the A house principles speaks to you the most and why?
The community is our most creative tool
I agree with this statement, our community is a powerful thing, I believe in it so much that I based one of our key features of it. People are willing to help others in need, we’re just providing them with a tool so that they actually can. So if you’re out there and want to help when someone’s friend, sister, daughter or son is in danger, we’re here. Cause everyone deserves the right to live their life without fear. As long as that right dosen’t exist, we will.