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.

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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 🙂