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.
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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.
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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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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.

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 🙂