2017 – Hard beatings and loving, supporting hugs

2017 was a wild year! A crazy wild year! A year full of amazing unforgettable moments, but also a hard that gave the me the hardest beatings. A year, where I on several occasions had to pinch my arm, just to make sure, that it all wasn’t just one happy dream. At the same time, it has been a year with countless sleepless nights. Nights were I found my self starring into the wast air, just hoping that it was all just a bad nightmare, and that I would soon wake up. But for better and worse, the year of 2017 has shaped Walter & me as entrepreneurs.
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When you are standing there, at the beginning of the year. Holding your fragile little start-up company in the hand. Just gazing upon the year that lies ahead, it is impossible to guess what awaits you in the new year. Basically you can only see a few weeks ahead. After that the road becomes unclear and takes a sharp turn around a corner. From there on, you can only guess what will happen and you just hope for the best.
Walter&Witt
2017 seemed to start very nice and gentle. Instead, it hit me hard in the face with a cold and wet slap – or maybe it was more like a fist.  My financial fundament was pulled away from right under me. As an entrepreneur, one must typically prepare oneself to live under the concept off “boot-strapping”, as they call it. At first I did not fully understand what that meant or implied.

But as time went by, I got to learn the full understanding of the concept. Basically it means, that you have to cut down on your expenses… You have to cut down on everything! Revenues are small when you are a relatively unknown up-coming design brand. At the same time, it costs money to run a business – a lot of money. As a certain colleague in the real estate industry once told me “You have to burn money, to earn money”.

So to make ends meet, I helped a good friend a few days a week to keep his business flying. But on a cold January day, he announced that, from that day on, there would be no money for wages…
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It was a tough and unexpected message to get, but that’s how it goes. And as little Walter always says so happily “there’s always a reason to smile” And sure there was! A good friend and I got behind the wheel and drove across the country. Soon we had built a solid network of retailers. At the same time, there is nothing like a solid financial crises, to kick the creative boost.
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Never before had I started so many creative projects as in the first quarter of 2017. Particularly one project had potential and ended up being our biggest investment since Walter the happy little whale was born. A project we are looking forward to launch in spring of 2018.
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The hard beatings was soon replaced by a huge loving hug, when Design by Witt was voted Entrepreneur of the Year in Frederiksberg. It was a completely surrealistic experience and it was a huge boost on the self-confidence. The loving hugs was then followed with another huge loving hug from Illum’s Bolighus, who took on Walter and the other Tokens of Happiness. Getting Illums Bolighus on the retail list had been an main goal from Day 1 in Design by Witt.
Walter & Illums Bolighus
Summer and Autumn offered some tough months, which, as a matter of fact, had shaped me as a person and given both Walter and I some extra hair on the chest. Life as an entrepreneur is not always easy. It is basically about facing challenges and overcoming them. It can be exciting and fun in itself. But when the challenges come unexpectedly from people who are close to you, it’s in every way uncomfortable and ugly. It puts things in perspective and forces you to be more carefull about who to deal with. On the upside you do learn a lot of these challenges and become more hardened and professional.
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Fortunately, 2017 was not done showing off its good side. We had an amazing cooporation with Micheal Bundesens and in the autumn, it happened quite unexpectedly that Design by Witt won yet another prize – This year’s entrepreneurship-stand in Tivoli. I can honestly admit, that it was a bit of a chock to me. Luckily I was happily unaware of how much work it would really require, to get a retail stand in Tivoli.
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It meant 25 days straight in Tivoli with min. 12 hours working days. But it was 3 fantastic weeks and every day was nothing but adventurous. It was great fun meeting so amazing many sweet people. At the same time, it helped develop a whole new concept – namely the Walter machine. It became a huge hit. Again, I my dear parents gave there help and support.
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Tivoli gave us a beautiful fairtale ending of the year 2017. We are now in every way ready to cheer on an exciting 2018.
Once again, it’s not to say what the year will offer in advance. But Walter and I are really looking forward to making It a little bit extra happy. See you out there 😀

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2017 – Tørre tæsk & kærlige skulderklap

2017 – et år med tørre tæsk og kærlige skuldeklap

Martin-&-Walter

2017 var et vildt år! Et crazy vildt år! Et år der har budt på de vildeste opture og de grimmeste nedture. Et år hvor jeg flere gange har måtte nive mig selv i armen, for at være sikre mig, at det hele kke bare var en happy en drøm. Samtidig har det også været et år, der har budt på utallige søvnløse nætter. Nætter hvor jeg bare har stirret tomt ud i luften og håbet på, at det hele bare var dumt mareridt, som jeg snart vil vågne op fra… Men på godt og ondt, har året været med til at forme mig og Walter som iværksættere og min start-up som virksomhed Design by Witt.

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Når man står dér på startlinen, med sin lille skrøbelige start-up virksomhed i hånden og kigger ud på året der ligger foran én, så er det nærmest umuligt at forudse, hvad det nye år vil byde på.
Man kan stort set kun se et par uger frem, hvorefter vejen bliver meget tåget og så svinger hårdt rundt om et skarpt hjørne. Herefter kan man kun gætte sig til, hvad der venter forude og så håbe på det bedste.
Walter&Witt
2017 så ud til at starte lækkert. I stedet fik jeg serveret en syngende kold og våd lussing lige i fjæset, da mit økonomiske ståsted blevet revet væk fra den ende dag til den anden. Som iværksætter, skal man typisk indordne sig under en tilværelse, hvor man “boot-strapper”, som det så fint hedder. I starten var jeg ikke helt med på, hvad det betød eller indebar. Du kan også læse om iværksætterlivet her: En dag som iværksætter

I bund og grund betyder det, at man må spare… Som i at man må spare alle steder! Indtægterne er små, når man er et forholdsvis ukendt upcoming design brand. Samtidig koster det penge, at drive en virksomhed – mange penge. Som en vis kollega i mæglerbranchen engang fortalte mig “You have to burn money, to earn money”.

Så for at få det hele til at løbe rundt, hjalp jeg en god ven et par dage om ugen, med at holde hans virksomhed flyvende. Men en kold dag januar meddelte han, at der fra dags dato ikke var råd til lønninger…
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Det var en hård og uventet besked at få, men sådan kan det jo gå. Og som lille Walter altid glad siger, så er der altid en grund til at smile. Og det var der! En god ven og jeg satte os bag rattet og tunerede landet rundt og fik på kort tid bygget et solidt forhandler netværk op. Samtidig er der nu heller ikke noget så godt for et kreative boost, som en god solid finansiel krise.
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Aldrig før havde jeg fået sat gang i så mange kreative projekter, som i første kvartal af 2017. Særligt et projekt, tog for alvor form og er endt med, at blive vores største satsning, siden den lille glade hval Walter blev født. Et projekt vi glæder os helt vildt til at lancere i foråret 2018.
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Den syngende lussing blev dog hurtigt erstattet af et kæmpe skulderklap, da Design by Witt i foråret blev kåret til Årets Iværksætter-virksomhed på Frederiksberg. Det var en fuldstændig surealistisk oplevelse og en anderkendelse, der gav et enormt selvtillidsboost. Du kan læse om hele oplevelsen her: ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Skulderklappet blev så fulgt op med en kæmpe kærlig krammer fra Illums Bolighus, der tog Walter og de andre Tokens of Happiness på hylderne i den spæde start af sommeren. At få Illums Bolighus på forhandlerlisten, havde været et altoverskyggende mål fra dag 1 i Design by Witt. Du kan læse om lanceringen i Illums Bolighus her: One small step for Illums Bolighus… One giant step for Walter!
Walter & Illums Bolighus
Sommeren og efteråret bød på nogle hårde måneder, som mildt sagt fik modnet mig som person og givet både Walter og jeg lidt ekstra hår på brystet. Livet som iværksætter er ikke altid nemt. Det handler i bund og grund om at stå imod udfordringer og overvinde dem. Det kan i sig selv være spændende, sjovt og udfordrende. Men når udfordringerne uventet kommer fra folk, der ellers er tæt på dig, så er det på alle måder ubehageligt og grimt. Det sætter tingene i perspektiv og tvinger én til at være mere bevist om hvem man vil omgås. Omvendt lærer man også vanvittigt meget af disse udfordringer og bliver i bund og grund mere hærdet og professionel.
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Du kan læse om samarbejdet med Michael Bundesen her: WALTER & THE SHU-BI-DUA LEGEND
Heldigvis var 2017 ikke færdig med at vise sig fra sin gode side. Vi fik et fantastisk samarbejde med Michael Bundesen og i efteråret skete det igen ganske uventet, at Design by Witt vandt endnu en pris. Nemlig årets iværksætterstand i Tivoli.
Jeg skal ærligt indrømme, at det kom lidt bag på mig. Jeg var da også lykkeligt uvidende om, hvor meget arbejde det egentlig ville kræve, at have en stand i Tivoli.
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Det betød, at vi fik 25 hæsblæsende dage i Tivoli med min 12 timers arbejdsdag. Men det var 3 helt fantastiske uger i Tivoli og alle dage var intet mindre end eventyrlige. Det var super sjovt at møde så fantastisk mange søde mennesker. Samtidig var det med til, at udvikle et helt nyt koncept – Nemlig Waltermaskinen. Som blev et kæmpe hit. Igen skylder jeg mine kære forældre en kæmpe tak for deres hjælp og støttet.
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SE WALTER-MASKINEN HER 😀 WALTER-MASKINEN
Med Tivoli fik vi samtidigt bundet en stor flot sløjfe på det herrens år 2017. Vi er nu på alle måder klar til, at tage hul på et spændende 2018. Igen er det ikke til at sige, hvad vejen forud vil byde på af udfordringer, opture og nedture. Men Walter og jeg glæder os helt vildt, til at gøre vores til, at få spredt lidt ekstra happiness. Vi ses derude 😀

Pro Rege et Grege (For Konge og Folk) 

“Pro Rege et Grege” – Det giver en helt særlig følelse, at sige det højt.

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Enhver Garder – tidligere som nuværende – kender dette motto. Et motto, der tilhøre Den Kongelige Livgarde og emmer af stolthed og ære. Det forpligter at være Garder. Det forventes, at man til hver en tid yder sit bedste og fremstår som et godt eksempel for sine omgivelser.

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Det gør noget ved unge mænd og kvinder, at blive uddannet ved Livgarden. Det giver en helt særlig ballast, som man tager med sig videre – Og nej, men lærer ikke kun at pudse sko og stryge skjorter… Selvom man bliver pokkers god til det!

Man lærer også nye sider af sig selv at kende og man lærer at presse sig selv til det yderste. Derfor er det også en sand fornøjelse at se, når Gardere gør det godt.

I dag blev to tidligere Gardere hyldet, ved en reception i Livgardens Officersmesse i København. I den forbindelse skal der lyde en stor tak til Chef for Den Kongelige Livgarde, Mads Rahbek, som i dagens anledning åbnede op for netop officersmessen.

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Som tidligere Garder, er det igen en fantastisk ære at se Design by Witts fortolkning af Den Vagtgående Garder, blive tildelt som en del af hædersbevisningen for de to prismodtagere.

Garder

Traditionen tro, modtog prismodtagerne også en graveret sabel. Sablen er en tro kopi af den udgave, som de vagtgående Gardere stadig bruger den dag i dag.

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Gardernetværk står bag de tog priser, der blev uddelt ved dagens reception. Henholdsvis Gardernetværks Erhvervspris og Gardernetværks Hæderspris.

Årets Erhvervspris gik til den danske erhvervsmand og tidligere Nordea topchef, Christian Clausen. Christian Clausen tegner sig som en af dansk erhvervslist største profiler, både når der ses på den danske og international karriere. Gardernetværks Erhvervspris gives til en topleder, der har skabt fremragende resultater i en privat eller offentlig virksomhed. Det er naturligvis en forudsætning, at personen har været eller er tjenstgørende ved Den Kongelige Livgarde.

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Årets Talentpris gik til Julie Rømsing, der siden at hun blev trådt til civil i 2001 har gjort lynkarriere, først på den danske og nu også tyske erhvervsscene. Gardernetværks Talentpris gives til en tidligere Garder, der her skabt eller taget initiativ til en nyskabelse, forandring eller på anden måde gjort en forskel.

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Det var tydeligt at mærke på de to prismodtagere, at deres tid ved Den Kongelige Livgarde har haft stor en betydning for dem. Begge lagde de vægt på værdien af, at kunne sammensætte det rigtige hold eller team.

Garderpris

Uanset om man skal lede en kæmpe virksomhed, eller om man er en del af en lille militær gruppe, så er det afgørende at kende teamets styrker og svagheder. Her har begge igen og igen kunnet trække på deres praktiske erfaring fra deres tid ved Livgarden.

Dagens reception og prisoverrækkelse har således været både fascinerende og inspirerende. Som Gl. Garder bliver man også bare mindet om endnu en skøn erkendelse. Nemlig at Livgardens motto vil følge en Garder gennem hele livet!

Selvom det måske er ved at være en del år siden, at man selv aftjente min værnepligt, så ligger værdierne fra den tid bare så dybt i én – En gang Garder, altid Garder!

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Læs også blogindlægget – En gang Garder, altid Garder!

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