MØD HELEN – EN UNG PIGE DER JAGTER SIN DRØM

Walter-&-helene“Hey Martin! Vil du hjælpe en ung pige, der jagter sin drøm?”. En god ven – Mads Marius – er i røret. Han havde lige holdt møde med en gammel bekendt. Til trods for en masse modgang, nægtede hun at give op på sin drøm og kunne derfor godt bruge lidt vejledning og gode råd.

Mads Marius er en helt igennem fantastisk fyr, der på alle måder er inspirerende og fuld af mod på livet. Så da han ringede og fortalte om sit møde, var jeg naturligvis klar på at hjælpe så godt jeg overhovedet kunne. Du kan lærer Mads Marius bedre at kender her.

Ugen efter fulgte Helen mig en hel dag, for at se hvordan livet som iværksætter kan være. Det var en fantastisk dag og inspirerende at møde hende. Herunder har Helen med egne ord fortalt sin fascinerende historie og hendes oplevelser under vores dag sammen.

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Hejsa! Mit navn er Helen.

Jeg er tidligere design elev, med en brændende passion for kunst, kultur og design. Jeg blev nød til at sætte min uddannelse på pause, da jeg pludselig blev indlagt med viral hjernehindebetændelse. Alt hvad jeg arbejdede mod blev tilsidesat, og jeg står nu med et års tid, hvor jeg ikke har andet at lave, end at vente på jeg kan genoptage min udddannelse. Jeg er den slags person, som godt kan lide at have noget at lave og noget at arbejde på, og uden min uddannelse til at fylde min hverdag, står jeg nu tilbage med et kæmpe tomrum. Jeg følte jeg sad fast i livet, og kunne ikke finde ud af, hvordan jeg kunne komme ovenpå igen.

Jeg udviklede slem angst og gik ned med depression, og ville nok beskrive det som det laveste punkt i mit liv. 

For nyligt mødtes jeg med en gammel bekendt, ved navn Mads Marius, hvor vi snakkede om hvordan jeg kunne bevæge mig fremad i livet, indtil jeg startede på mine studier igen. Mads arbejder som iværksætter, hvor han holder foredrag for en masse unge mennesker, omkring det at tage livet ved hornene, og det var lige hvad jeg havde brug for. 

Mads introducerede mig for Martin Witt, og foreslog at vi mødtes, så jeg kunne lære mere om Design by Witt og manden bag det. At høre om Martins virksomhed og hvor han kom fra, lød super spændende, så jeg kunne slet ikke sige nej til muligheden. 

Martin inviterede mig til at følge ham for en dag, hvor jeg kunne opleve det han laver, og samtidigt høre om hvor det hele startede. 

Jeg må indrømme at jeg var nervøs for at tage afsted. At mødes med en person, som laver præcis det man drømmer om, og som ovenikøbet er god til det, kan være lidt skræmmende, men mine nerver forsvandt hurtigt efter jeg mødte Martin. 

Vi mødtes i København, hvor han tog mig med ud at se hans forældres hus og hans fars værksted, hvor Walter the Whale først blev bragt til live. At høre Martin tale om hans design er så inspirerende. Man kan virkelig høre at han har en brændende passion for det han laver.

Walter er et symbol for glæde, og at se Martins barndomshjem og smilene, som befandt sig dér, gav rigtig god mening. Man kan virkelig mærke den glæde, som befinder sig der.

Det var helt eventyrligt, at se huset og området, hvor Martin voksede op. Naturen fyldte en stor del, med højtvoksende træer og grønne bakker. Træværket havde også sat sit tydelige præg, med håndudskårne figurer, som dekorerede haven. 

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Inde på hans fars værksted, var der fyldt med figurer og design projekter, som Martin arbejdede på. Vi blev vist processen han skulle igennem for at skabe hver figur, og hvor meget håndværk der ligger i det. 

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Martin havde også en “praktikant”, som var med ude at besøge huset og værkstedet. Efter vores rundvisning, arbejdede vi på en brochure for Design by Witt, hvor jeg fik lov at deltage i arbejdet. Det var en super fed oplevelse. Jeg følte at mine indslag også blev taget i betragtning, og jeg sætter stor pris på, at kunne have været så aktiv en del af det. At arbejde omgivet af naturen gav et forfriskende og anderledes perspektiv på tingene, og var slet ikke hvad jeg havde forventet, men helt sikkert en oplevelse alle burde have.

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Vi spiste frokost med Martins forældre og bagefter havde Martin et møde med en anden iværksætter, som designer ure. Jeg fik lov til at komme med til mødet, hvor jeg sad og lyttede med. Det gav mig en stor indsigt i hvor meget arbejde, der går ind i det de laver. Jeg fik også lov til at stille mine egne spørgsmål, og var overrasket over, hvor nede på jorden alle var. Hele dagen blev jeg mødt af venlighed og åbenhed. Alt hvad de laver er drevet af deres passion for deres arbejde, men de formår samtidigt at skabe tid til at stoppe op og hjælpe hinanden på vejen.

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Efter at have tilbragt en dag med Martin, har jeg fået nyt vind i sejlene. Jeg ved ikke hvad mit næste skridt bliver, endnu, men jeg er ivrig efter at tage det. 

Efter min kamp mod depressionen, har dét, at møde en mand, der har opbygget sig selv omkring glæde, virkelig givet mig noget at tygge på. Det er vigtigt at kigge fremad i livet, istedet for at lade sig holde tilbage af fortiden. 

Jeg glæder mig til at se hvad fremtiden bringer. 

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Walter & jeg ønsker Helen alverdens held og lykke fremadrettet. Forhåbenligt får vi mulighed for at hjælpe hende igen, når hun får gang i sin designkarriere.

MØD JOAN – HUN ER HAPPY

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En af de fantastiske ting ved, at have et designfirma der sælger happiness, er alle de skønne mennesker man møder på sin vej. En af dem er Joan, som nu skal til at være en del af Design by Witt. Joan er bosat i Jylland med sin mand og deres to dejlige børn. Fremadrettet vil Joan være kontakt-person for vores handlere i Jylland og samtidig være en del af det administrative team bag firmet.

I det her indlæg har hun overtaget tasterne og fortalt sin historie.

Hej jeg hedder Joan.

Jeg har altid haft en stor interesse for design, specielt det stilrene design. Min mand og jeg startede derfor webshoppen www.prikoveri.dk i februar 2017. Hos PRIKOVERi har vi stor interesse for designs som skaber en wow effekt og liv i boligen. Samtidig lægger vi stor vægt på at der er en god historie bag de produkter vi har på vores webshop, da vi mener det har størst værdi.

I februar 2017 var vi så heldige at få en god snak med Martin Witt på Formland i Herning. Vi blev straks grebet af den storytelling der er bag Design by Witt og faldt pladask for hvalen Walter. (Du kan læse om hele starten på Design by Witt her)

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Efterfølgende er Martin og jeg blevet enige om at indgå et tættere samarbejde omkring Design by Witt. Jeg er bosat i Jylland og det er derfor oplagt at jeg kan varetage jyllandsdelen. Martin og jeg har nu mødtes et par gange, men har dagligt kontakt om hvordan vi kan få spredt endnu mere happiness med Walter.
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Jeg har de sidste 2 dage haft fornøjelsen af at arbejde sammen med Martin (og Walter :)) face to face i Århus. Walter har allerede charmeret flere forhandlere i SMILETS by, så inden længe flytter han forhåbentlig ind hos mange flere forhandlere i Århus. Jeg er stolt over at være blevet en del af Design by Witt og glæder mig til at præsentere Walter for hele Jylland. At arbejde med Design by Witt er = HAPPINESS

Vi er på alle måder glade for at have fået Joan med ombord og vi glæder os til at dele en masse happy historier med Joan 🙂 

Følg med i næste post, hvor vi introducere endnu en spændende person vi har mødt på vores vej 🙂

WALTER & THE SHU-BI-DUA LEGEND

WALTER THE WHALE & THE SHU-BI-DUA ROCKSTAR LEGEND

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Sometimes one great thing leads to another great adventure. Sometimes you are just presented with an opportunity, that seems too good to be true. Sometimes you simply feel absolutely humbled and honored about the people, who show interest in your work. But every time Im surprised how fare you can reach and how much happiness you can create, simply by following your heart and your passion.

Ten years or so ago, I was standing in the crowd at some music festival. Preforming on stage was one of Danmarks most beloved national bands SHU-BI-DUA. Lead singer Michael Bundesen and the rest of the band seriously got the crowed going.

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Every time this band was preforming, you would be sure to hear their hit song about Hvalborg the Whale. This time was no exception.

At that time, I had no idea how big an impact this song would have on me and my start-up!

Imagine your self building a concept of happiness based on “Walter the happy whale”, in a country where the entire population, knows the song about Hvalborg the Whale. The first two years all I did, was to tell people that the correct name of my whale was WALTER!

Some years later lead singer Michael Bundesen tragically suffers from a stroke in the brain. Against all odds he fights his way back to a life, keeping his great spirit and good humor intact. Michael is no longer able to preform on stage. But when you have a creative mind, not even a stroke can keep you down. So Michael has started to paint. Now he creates beautiful paintings full of color, life and humor.

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Last week I was presented with the award “Entrepreneuer of the year 2017” in my local community.

After the ceremony, a women came up to me. She just heard, that I got the award for making a start-up in the design business. She told me, that she was connected to an art gallery. Now she was kean on learning more about my design. When I told her my trademark design was a happy whale, she immediately lit up in a big smile. “Can I buy you a cup of coffee?” she asked. She wanted to discuss some super exciting project, that might have my interest.

As it turned out, she was the art mentor of Michael Bundesen. Now I was the one who immediately lit up in a big smile. The woman was Lill-Marlene from Puls Art Gallery. She saw some great potential in a fusion project, bringing art and design together. I totally loved the idea. We brainstormed for a while and two days later, I had the honor of meeting Michael Bundesen him self.

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Meeting people like Michael is truly inspiring. I was amazed to meet this person, who had been through hell and back and still kept his light spirit and good sense of humor. I was super proud to hear, that this man also found my design appealing and that he wanted to make a cooperation with Walter & I. So he generously offered to paint on one of my special editions of Walter the happy whale. Im my opinion Michael truly made Walter even more bright and appealing.

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For now we are storing the whale for display at the Puls Art Gallery. But soon we will announce the purpose of this fusion project.
On the 24th of June, you can come see Walter and all the beautiful pantings of Michael Bundesen at his speciel event – World Premier of Michael Bundesen.

One small step for Illums Bolighus… One giant step for Walter!

ILLUMS BOLIGHUS IS NOW REALITY

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This picture has been my visual goal and motivation every day for the last three years! A simple picture showing Walter being launched at Illums Bolighus. But ever since I started this journey with Design by Witt and my little happy Whale Walter, the only place this picture existed, was in my mind. I visualized the picture and burned it into my mind. Now, three years later, this picture is no longer just a product of my imagination. Today the picture is very real.

But how do you end up in the flagshipstore of Illums Bolighus? The nr 1. interior design retailer i Denmark. Why was Illums Bolighus the main motivation? And now that Walter is launched in Illums Bolighus, then what is the next goal and motivation?

About three years ago, I got this somewhat funny and crazy idea. For some time, I had had the dream and the urge to try to start up a project or a business of my own. On a daily bases I was working as a real estate agent. But I wasn’t completely satisfied, so I made a decision and quiet the real estate business to go start my own design brand. You can read the whole story here. 

My dear cousin was one of the first persons ever to lay eyes on this little design, I had just made. From the first moment she saw Walter the Whale, she told me, it should be sold at Illums Bolighus.

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She was working at Illums Bolighus herself, and quiet an expert on interior design. This statement did something to me. I lit up my motivation like never before.

Quiet early in the process, she managed to set up a meeting with the purchasing manager at Illums Bolighus. I showed up with a good friend, and we actually had a great meeting. The purchasing manager liked my designs and the concept. But she need something more. A concept and a univers surrounding the designs. On top of this she needed some nice wrapping and a guarantee for a serious and stable big scale production.

Two purchasing managers and 2,5 years later, my good friend and I showed up at Illums Bolighus again. We had been working on all the demands the first manager had asked for and once again my dear cousin had helped us set up a new meeting. This time Design by Witt was no longer just an idea of a business based in an old wooden workshop. This time Design by Witt was a serious business, with retailers all over DK and in NYC, London and Cologne. This time we had a professional set up, a unique concept and a happy univers surrounding the designs.
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45 minuets later we walked out of Illums Bolighus. This time we didn’t just have a great meeting. This time we closed the deal!

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Just getting out of Illums Bolighus

My friend and I went to a near by cafe, to just sit down and reflect on what just happened. As we sat there my friend looked at me and said “Martin! You still might not understand what just happen in there. But when you get home, you gonna flip out completely”. And he was absolutely right! The journey from my fathers wooden workshop, till finally being singed up with Illums Bolighus, had been one of the most exhausting experiences for me. So yes, I got emotional.

WorkshopThis is my beloved workshop 🙂

But the thrill of sealing the deal, was in every way worth the effort. At the same time it taught me an important lesson. If you go all in, work hard and fight for what you believe in, then anything is possible. For me personally this is the finally approval and blue stamp to show, that my happy little whale is recognized as a serious design.
Last week the company also won the “Entrepreneur of the year” award.

Walter & Illums Bolighus
So what now? What is next? Well, only time will tell 😉 But I promise you this! Very soon we will reveal our next big project. Another project that will take us yet another step closer to full-felling our main vision – To become the next danish design icon.

Learn more about Design by Witt at our webpage

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 2017, FREDERIKSBERG

“And the winner and is – Design by Witt”.

WHAAAT!!?? Seriously!?? Wait, what!!? I couldn’t believe my own ears! Was this really happening? The mayor of Frederiksberg had just announced the winner of this years prestiges award as entrepreneur of the year 2017.

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What just happened? Why would they choose my start-up amongst these other super competent entrepreneurs? At that moment millions of thoughts exploded in my head.

Two month earlier a good friend of mine texted me on a late friday night. She had just heard that the local community of Frederiksberg, was looking for promising upcoming entrepreneurs to present this years award. All I needed to do, was to sent in my presentation and explain my concept and business. There was just one issue. The deadline was only two days away, and my weekend was totally booked.

To be honest, I was on my way out to meet up with some friends for a drink. I made a quick decision and canceled on my friends – sorry for this guys 🙂 Instead I spent the whole night, making my presentation ready.  Early in the morning my presentation was done and I sent it.

One month later I got an invited to the award ceremony. Again, being honest, I had no idea I even had a chance of winning this thing. Most of all, because these awards are always given to innovative tech start-ups.

So with no expectations at all, I went to the ceremony. I didn’t even invite family or friends. The first surprise hit me, when I was personally greeted by the mayor, when I entered the room. I remember I was thinking, that since he knew who I was, he must have seen my presentation. So maybe, and just maybe, I had a chance of being one of the officiel nominees. If so, this would be super cool.

30 min later Design by Witt was announced as one of the nominees. I couldn’t believe this! This was a great sign of approval! Minutes later I was completely shocked – and happy. Out of the blue, Design by Witt was called to the floor as Entrepreneur of the year.

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After the ceremony I got this funny felling. Last time I had been this surprised, proud and happy, was on my birthday age 11 or so. At a local summer event I was announced as “Athlete of the year”. Not for winning anything, but for being a good sportsman always keeping up the good spirit.

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Getting this award means so much to me on so many levels. The work you put in to your start-up is super crazy! I have never before in my life worked this hard, had so many frustrations and made so many scarifies. This award is a recognition of this hard work, and it means everything. At the same time, this award is special to me, because the comity choose design and concept over tech and innovation. Walter the happy Whale and I are deeply honored and ever so thankful.

A week later Im sitting in a cafe, writing this blogpost and reading the newest edition of the local newspaper

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A special thanks to TimeGruppen and Frederiksberg Kommune for this award.

In the next blogpost, I will share with you what amazing new project this award has already kicked of 🙂

WALTER THE HAPPY WHALE ON AIR

Walter the happy Whale live on air – Podcast

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“Hi Martin. Would you be able to join our radio-show tomorrow?”
Like any other morning, I was checking my e-mails. But this morning one email instantly caught  my eyes and got all my attention. It was from the radio show – “The 6 thinking hats”. A radio show made by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Every week they invite a new hopeful and inspiring entrepreneur to join the show. During the show, a panel of 3 experts evaluate a case, that is presented to them. They use the 6 thinking hats, to get around the case – step by step.

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For sure I really wanted this! To go on air and talk about my happy whale! YAY – This was an amazing opportunity for me and Walter. The feedback you get on this show is to die for, when you are an entrepreneur struggling to survive. But now that the invite was actually right there in my inbox, I immediately felt some chills. Was I ready for this? How should I present my case? Would I leave the show, being judged as a guy with a great idea or just the crazy guy with a happy whale?

The odds for the last outcome was for sure present. These guys in the panel would for sure be super critical and hit me with skeptical and difficult questions. The pressure was on! Not only because of the short notice, but also because the audience –  People I highly respected! Fellow entrepreneurs.

I cleared my schedule and started preparing for the show. Basically I was just supposed to show up and have a nice and friendly chat about my concept and my idea. Like any straight A student, as an entrepreneur, you are supposed to be able to deliver a perfect pitch any time, any where. Never the less I started all over and worked on my 2 min pitch. And for the rest of the day, the only thing coming out of my headset, was the previous podcasts from the radioshow.

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The following day I showed up at the radiostation carrying my big jumbo sized Walter. When the girl at the reception saw me and big happy Walter, she immediately lit up in a big smile. But at the same time she looked at me a bit skeptical… “You know its a radioshow right? Not television”. I knew, I knew. But anyways, Walter & I always go together 🙂

I met up with the host. It had been years since I´ve saw him last. He used to be some grades above me at primary school. I remember him as a super cool and fun kid. Only on one or two occasions, I remember he gave my a good thorough face wash in the snow. It might have had something to do with the fact, that I had just hit him from behind, with a perfectly made snowball… Well, it´s all a bit fuzzy now 🙂

Half an hour later we were it the studio recording the show. “So Martin! You are an educated real estate agent. You´ve been in the business for years. Then one morning you decide to quiet and start you own design company making happy whales…”
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This opening remark sets a happy tone in the studio. The host continues “When I give advice to people who wants to start a new business, I always advise them to start in a field of their expertise. So how come you didn’t start a business in real estate? Instead you chose a business that you knew absolutely nothing about?”.

So the show is on, and the first critical question is presented. But I truly loved this question. Cause in the answer lies the whole reason why I did what I did. I off course agree with the host. It would be perfectly wise, to choose an area of you expertise. But – and this is my whole point – it is even more important, to choose something you are passionate about! To me passion is the secret ingredient for succes. Passion will be your inexhaustible resource for energy and drive. Passion will make you creative. Passion will make you stand out. And the truth is, I wasn’t passionate about real estate. To me real estate was just a job. Where as now, Im extremely passionate about creating Denmarks new design Ikon – Walter the happy Whale 🙂

The show went on and I learnt so much from listning to this super competent panel of entrepreneurial experts. They had some intersting points, some great feedback and some critical questions for me to answer.

So… Was I the crazy guy with a happy whale or the guy with a great idea?
In this podcast you can judge for yourself 🙂

Podcast – Design by Witt

Find Walter & the Tokens of Happiness here:
Webpage: Design by Witt
Facebook: Design by Witt
Instagram: Tokens of Happiness

How to adopt a whale

“Martin, you should adopt a whale”. Im at a meeting with the leading manager at the Go Grow accelerator program at CSE – Copenhagen School of Entrepreneurship. Dorthea was the person who put this fantastic idea into my head. In every why this idea made sense to me. How cool would it be, to actually adopt a real whale! But how do you adopt a whale? And is it even possible?

Since I carved the first little happy whale, the idea was to create a concept of happiness. A concept that would not just include a happy design, but also happy actions and happy deeds.

Learn how Design by Witt started in this first blog post: From real estate agent to entrepreneur

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Thats why we´ve been supporting organisations like the WWF – world fund for nature, from the beginning. We want to give something back to the beautiful nature that surrounds us.

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So what to do, if you want to adopt a whale!? First natural thing for me to do, was to ask google what to do. Apparently it wasn’t so difficult as I first thought. My search online quickly let me to a fascinating organisation called the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. They actually offered the opportunity of adopting a whale.

I immediately wrote them about my concept of happiness and the story of Walter the happy whale. I was pleased to read their responding email. They loved my concept and was pleased to hear, that Walter and I showed interest in their adoption program. Over the next couple of weeks, I had some inspiring skype meetings with the organisation.

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Not only did Walter and I end up adopting the most beautiful Humpback Whale Salt, we also found other ways to support this amazing organisation and the work they do. One way was to launched a speciale WDC Shop to Support edition of Walter the Whale.

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But we are also working on a new product in store. A new product that will be released in the fall. We cant say much more right now – but it´s all about Whales & Happiness 😀

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Thank you for reading this blog. Sign up for our news letter at: Design by Witt