We create beautiful and functional accessories for lovers of unique and timeless pieces.
Our products are made using ethically sourced natural materials and are handmade by small European artisans using elevated craftsmanship and circular design principles to ensure luxurious longevity and the possibility to re-purpose.
How did it all begin?
A native Swedish-Norwegian, Ase grew up close to nature. As a mother with frequent overseas business travel, I was seeking handbags that were beautiful, light and versatile enough to keep up with my everyday life. At the same time, I realised that there was a huge need to transform the way we design and produce products. Together with my business partner, Lisa Niedermayr, a textile expert, artist and designer, we set out to create accessories made with natural materials, designed for circularity.
What sets your business apart?
We are a pioneer in the area of circularity in handbag design. Our mission is to create products that can be re-used and re-purposed to have several life cycles. We use high-quality vegetable tanned leather from small European farms and apply a zero-waste policy to use all raw materials. We believe that circularity is the key to real sustainability.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
The wider concept behind our business is based on creating circular products that feel luxurious at the same time. We offer our customers a sustainable luxury experience at affordable prices. Our minimalistic designs aim to give lightness and comfort to women as they go about their daily lives. Our bags are convertible as you can easily add straps and chains to change a clutch into a handbag or add some extra glamour for the evening.
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
We hope to grow the international visibility of our brand and mission and build a team of people that share our passion for the environment, for innovation as well as for beautiful objects, and the value of local craftsmanship. We are growing our collections to serve the needs of the conscious and conscientious customer, bringing in some fun along the way too.
Ase Elvebakk & Lisa Niedermayr
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
We are passionate about creating an exceptional, warm and welcoming experience for our customers. Luxury can be inclusive, fun and caring. (Ase) I am passionate about craftsmanship and creating objects with care. And I love to be able to embrace my creativity in my daily work.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
(Ase) I learned to trust my instincts and believe in myself from a very early age. Having spent my childhood very close to nature is a true gift of inner peace in a hectic world.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
Shortly after launching our brand and our first collection, Indigo Mood, we were contacted by magazines such as the British Vogue and Vanity Fair. This is how we knew we were on to something good. Shortly after we were accepted as signatories of the Global Fashion Agenda 2020 Fashion System Commitment. We are now part of several platforms offering selected, sustainable brands. We have been lucky to work with incredible talent to create our brand story. Our artisans make an exceptional effort to create the perfection we are looking for. We are immensely grateful to our friends and family who believed in our project from day one and have supported our journey by purchasing and recommending our bags further.
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
Always think five steps down the line, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it and be prepared for the unexpected. The key tool in the suitcase of a business owner is her own resilience and ability to see opportunities where others see issues.
Best piece of advice you have received?
The best recommendation we have received is to work with a mentor from the industry early on in the process. We work with Korie Minkus from Rock Your Product who is a brilliant businesswoman with thirty years of consumer market experience.
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Our advice would be to trust your own ability to create a long-term vision for your company. Make the vision as bold as possible. You will achieve what you can see. Even though you may not communicate this vision as is immediate to the world it is crucial that you believe in your vision.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
We are self-funded now, however we are preparing ourselves for the funding process.
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Being a consumer-facing business we, of course, took a short term hit as a result of the current epidemic. Long term we believe that consumers have become more interested in the need to preserve and give space to our natural resources. We are hopeful that the consumer will seek more information and transparency from brands before making purchase decisions.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
The world needs its female power to get back on track again. Most women are connectors who love to nurture relationships. Very often women will work on a win-win basis. We need to change our economy from a linear model to a circular model, creating more services around existing products. Value creation needs to precede technical solutions. We believe that women have a key role to play in this process. We applaud the fact that there are now more female investors who get involved in helping other women succeed.