Makers

Sirius Hunde - A passion for Dogs

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Sirius Hunde

A passion for Dogs

Where are you from?

Sirius Hounds’ shop is located in the vibrant Vestergade, more precisely in number 56a, 8000 Aarhus C.

· What is your background?

We are a family business, founded by Thor Las Holtet and his oldest daughter Astrid Holtet. Thor has a PhD in Biochemistry and Astrid is a Veterinarian and dog-trainer. The family’s youngest daughter also works for Sirius – Emma Elisabeth Holtet, who recently came home from Northeren Greenland where she owned and drove a pack of 21 sled dogs. 

· When did you start working with Dog accessories? 

We have always had many dogs in the family, and naturally, through Astrid’s work as a Veterinarian and dog trainer, dogs have always been a popular topic around the dinner table. Astrid was distressed by the number of dogs that came to her surgery with plastic and other anomalies in their stomachs. This was often the result of dog toys made from unnatural and potentially damaging materials. To avoid this happening to our family dogs, we started to look for toys made from natural and safe materials. Failing to find this anywhere, we decided to make our own, and this is how we started creating our range of all-natural chew toys. The Company was officially founded 3 years ago when we opened the shop in Vestergade.

·       What was the project/product that you enjoyed working with the most?

It’s always exciting to create new toys, leashes or collars, but we really enjoy dealing with the customers – like when we are creating harnesses for dogs – it’s a job that requires tailoring, so the dog must come to the workshop and have a fitting – this means that you meet the dog and its owner. It’s also rewarding if a customer comes in with a problem that we can help them with – people care so much about their dogs – they’re like a family member, so it means a lot if you can improve their quality of life in some way. Mostly, it’s just great to know so many dogs in Aarhus – we can’t take a walk in the area without meeting one of our four-legged customers– and that’s always super “hyggeligt”.

·       What do you think is the biggest challenge for a maker in the 21st Century?

It’s definitely a challenge to compete with the big co-operations and chains that have seemingly unlimited resources in terms of marketing etc. – whereas we, as a small company, rely almost entirely on people discovering us through word-of-mouth. However, there is a great amount of support in Aarhus for local businesses and entrepreneurs, especially for locally made products. Instead of being overwhelmed by the big players, you need to focus on differentiating yourself – seeing your small size as an advantage. As a small company we are much closer to our customers and their pains and needs - this sets us apart from our big competitors and it allows us to give our customers a unique experience and a level of service that they cannot get from our big competitors.

· Why did you decide to join Aarhus Makers?

Because we think it is a great idea, that the local designers and makers join forces in an effort to help each other. Aarhus is already a great city for small entrepreneurs, but we believe initiatives like Aarhus Makers will make it even better.

· What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become a maker?

You need to think about you customer –  what are you doing to help them, or to make them feel special? - how do you provide them with something unique and different compared to what’s currently on the market? The relationship you have with your buyers is crucial, so this should be at the root of any decision you make.

Visit Sirius Hunde here.

Makers

Cille Mortensen - My work is my hobby with a built-in job

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Cille Mortensen

Graphic artist & Illustrator

My name is Cille Mortensen; a North Jutland graphic artist, Illustrator + idea-magician, based in central Aarhus. 

I studied graphic design at the Aarhus Media and Design School, and I am a media graphics engineer at IDdesign.

I have worked with graphic design, layout, advertising, illustration and marketing since 2009.

Since 2014 I have worked as a freelancer, as an independent graphic designer, Illustrator and idea-magician.

My customers are both small and large well-established companies, but also newly started and entrepreneurs, who need a little bit of illustration, a logo, "a kind of jewelry display in wood" for a trade fair or self-esteem in the form of a delicious visual identity, which sends them well into the world.

All tasks are taken onboard with enthusiasm and a sneaky pencil.

Philosophy

I do not understand the phrase "No, you cannot." I love challenging myself and my creativity, I'm not afraid to take chances and explore big ideas, then scale them down to a manageable size.

When I work, I like to take the closest detours and change and correct if the assignment requires special attention to a detail or expression.

Thank you for the time you've taken to read my story!

Visit Cille's website here.

Makers

Urban Code - Aarhus Souvenirs with a Nordic Twist

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Urban Code

Aarhus Souvenirs with a twist

Where are you from?       

We are two partners (and friends). Jandira is from Guatemala and I am from Poland.

What is your background?  

Jandira has business education and experience in working in marketing and promotion. In Denmark she works for a relocaton company. Joanna has an academic background and experience in teaching at university.

When did you start Urban Code? 

We established Urban Code IVS in September 2015, but started the project half a year earlier (with assistance from StartVækst Aarhus, going to meetings with lawyers, tax people etc, AND meeting artists and graphic designers).

Why did you founded Urban Code?  

We founded Urban Code because we were disappointed with Aarhus souvenirs and gifts in the city (their quality and selection). We saw potential and didn’t understand why the choice of such products was so limited. Also we didn’t have a full time job, so we decided to create jobs for ourselves.

What is your favorite product? 

All our t-shirts and Smilets By Mug. We also love computer cloths.

What is the biggest challenge that you have faced with Urban Code? 

Lack of support or interest from institutions promoting the city and tourism in it.  Also, the lack of opportunities to rent a stall and sell our products in the Welcoming Area for the cruise ships. The last challenge is the high prices of the shop rents or stalls rents at various Aarhus markets

Why did you decide to work with Aarhus Makers?  

It is always important for us to have alternative places and ways to promote and sell our products. We have a webshop, since March 2017 we are a part of a collective shop in the Latin Quarter.

Being a part of the collective, we can afford paying our share the rent. We would never afford it being on our own.

Therefore, we strongly believe in the collective effort so to empower us to do more things.

What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become an Craft/Art Entrepreneur? 

If you have a talent to make or create crafts and arts, just do it!

In Denmark you can get professional and free assistance from companies/consulting firms supporting start-ups. Good luck!

Makers

Lene Nortoft, Danish Fashion Designer, Social Entrepreneur

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Lene Nortoft

Welcome to the theTextStyle

Where are you from?

I am from a small village at the west of Jylland close to Tarm and Skjern.

What is your background?

I have a MA from Aarhus and Copenhagen University of Middle Eastern Studies / Anthropology. For a decade I have worked in private businesses with sales and marketing. When I was young I was volunteering in the fair trade movement and kept this interest close to my heart throughout the years.

When did you start designing clothing with African fabrics?

Recently I got the chance to travel to Ghana and when a small artisan in Accra was complaining of struggling with having enough customers I decided to take action and use my online sales skills to help him out. We now have a collaboration of designs. And I have since then expanded my team of artisans there.

What was the project that you enjoyed the most?

I enjoy every minute of this adventure. Fashion is such an accomplishing creative endeavour. You get to play with colours, shapes, culture and trends in society. All of which makes my heart tick. On top of that I have met the most incredible and talented people both here in Aarhus and in Accra, Ghana.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for a designer in the 21st Century?

The biggest challenge today for a designer, I think, is fast fashion. It is built to make a huge company function. The way it produces and encourages an unrealistically high consumption is not sustainable for the workers in the producing countries or our planet. But it takes time for people to decide to pay more and buy less. And to choose ethically made products. I am optimistic though. What we do in theTEXTstyle is, we make sure the manufacturers are paid a good salary, and also we are using the small left-over pieces in other designs. To have zero waste. We are looking for organic cotton and will use it as soon as it is available in African print.

Why did you decide to join Aarhus Makers?

Aarhus Makers is very much in line with slow fashion with a focus on small artisans and creative people, who don’t have the advantages of a big business. Together we are stronger - and when it is built as a coop platform also - we really are all together in making it a success for everybody. And for our customers we make it easier to find our often quite unique creations. Hopefully everybody will enjoy the beautiful artistic products.

What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become a maker?

My advice to someone who wants to start making their own designs? Get started - don’t think too long about it. Just do your best, develop along the way and start networking with like-minded people. Always keep a positive spirit and be patient.

Makers

Karolina Pleczyńska a passionate Interior Designer and Painter

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Karolina Pleczyńska

Visual Artist and Interior designer

Where are you from?

Poznan, a beautiful city in Poland.

What is your background?

I have a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Poznan University of Technology . I have completed 2 semesters of this degree  at Politecnico di Milano.

When did you start career as Interior Designer/Painter?

I have always been in love with interior design and have always been doing little side projects  for my  friends and family, but my professional career has started in March 2016 with internships in two great interior design studios in Poznan. Afterwards I chose one of them and worked in there for another year.

My first professional experience as a painter was  when I participated in an exhibition here in Aarhus that took place in August 2017. I have attended various art courses since I was 4 years old, but that was the first time I have painted something not for a grade.

What was the project that you enjoyed the most?

Oh that's the most difficult question here :) I have a couple of favorite ones, each due to its own reason but I guess the one that is the most unique is the kids room "Boys 3&5 yrs". I designed it while I was already in Denmark and it was the first time I had a chance to realize the project myself and see what happens after handing out the technical drawings to the construction crew.  Together with my boyfriend we constructed and assembled all the furniture, painted the walls, built the hangers and cut a lot of new shelves using pieces of old closets, spending hours in Godsbanen wood workshop. Not having anyone  to supervise our work was quite a scary experience!

What do you think is the biggest challenge for a painter/artist in the 21st Century?

I think it's the constant obsession of challenging ourselves that went slightly too far in our society. Thinking that what is difficult is automatically better. I have found myself a number of times feeling bad or guilty for doing something I know and I am already good at (thanks to years of mastering it)  instead of reaching for something new, unknown, magically "challenging". The more it doesn't fit my natural predisposition, the better.  For most of my life I haven't even considered using my manual skills as my potential career because it always seemed too easy and not enough. I spent 3.5 years studying Architecture rather than Interior Design just because The Academy of Art didn't seem as challenging as The Technical University.

Something coming easily to us today doesn't mean anymore that we have found a way to use our natural potential and that we have reached a certain level of ability in that particular topic that allows us to actually enjoy what we are doing.  Today it usually means that we are in the cursed "comfort zone", which we should escape from as fast as we can, best into a fresh new topic that might not suit us at all, and it's only advantage might be that it's new.

I think it's already difficult enough to find our true self under the mountains of information that we are flooded by every day, we really do not need  that illusion in the way. The simple, easy thing that is growing in us since forever, that might seem boring and "nothing special" for us, can be something out of this world for someone else. And if it comes easy to you and you like it, it might just mean that you are made for it.

Why did you decide to join Aarhus Makers?

To be honest you were the first ones mentioning "interior design" since I am in Denmark. This profession does not really seem to officially exist here, so once I saw it on your presentation I already knew I will do anything to join! And of course it is also a great opportunity not only to promote my art but also to make some very useful and very enjoyable contacts :)

What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become a painter?

Just do not let the pressure of becoming an Artist with capital "A" get to you. Instead of looking around trying to understand what people expect from you as a painter, look inside of yourself and just transfer whatever you find there.  When it comes to art, I believe that honesty is the key to success!

Visit Karolina's Portfolio here.

 

Makers

Ida Marie Lebech, Visual Artist

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Ida Marie Lebech

Visual Artist

Where are you from?

I live in the south of Aarhus, in Fløjstrup Mark.

What is your background?

I graduated with a degree in urban and landscape architecture from Aarhus School of Architecture in 2008.

When did you start working in the arts?

I have been always painting. At the time when I was at the architectural school, I developed my own style that seems very characteristic and recognizable in my works and projects. The so-called red thread.

What was the project that you enjoyed the most?

My projects and works vary greatly in scale. I enjoy celebrating the the projects where I collaborate with others, or when I find myself learning, those projects are fun and inspirational.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for an artist in the 21st Century?

There are many challenges to be an artist. They help drive ideas forward. Therefore, if there was no resistance, the art would not be there. We are not more challenged than before, it's just that you have more to navigate in.

Why did you decide to join Aarhus Makers?

Aarhus Makers is a fantastic new initiative that creates a framework for an inspirational and new way to be an artist. The fact that it is an online platform and a close network with others within the field of work, creates a foundation for dynamic development. And that we can jointly spread the knowledge of creative souls in Aarhus is very strong.

What piece of advice would you give to anybody that wants to become an artists/maker?

Do you want to be an artist? Just do it! With all of your heart and who you have around you. Do it!