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, I 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 products are designed, produced and consumed.
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 a platform for 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. We are passionate about craftsmanship and creating objects with care. And we love to be able to embrace creativity in our daily work.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
We learned to trust our instincts and believe in ourselves from a very early age. Having spent our 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.
Ase Elvebakk & Lisa Niedermayr
My inspiration is...
(Ase) nature and the interesting patterns it creates. I also get very inspired by people who are successful and still keep their feet on the ground. (Lisa) Art and the constant discovery of amazing and breathtaking works of art and craftsmanship from all cultures and times.
My greatest fear is...
(Ase) the current polarisation of the world. We need to keep together. (Lisa) The ability and willingness to preserve and maintain the landscapes, air and water for all living beings of this planet in their power and beauty for future generations.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
(Ase) surfing where there are sharks. (Lisa) swimming against the stream is my passion and challenge.
(Ase) weekend sips of Barbera and Sassicaia. (Lisa) far too many, of course they remain my secret :)
Mantra you live by?
(Ase) what goes in also comes out again. This is true for food, materials and matters of the mind. (Lisa) Optimism and Serenity, always see the half-full glass, not the half-empty.
Female role model?
(Ase) Sara Blakely of Spanx. Her communication is really refreshing! (Lisa) In art and design, the separation of men and women is no longer true. These are a few of my "stars“, Sheila Hicks, Louise Bourgeois, Nick Cave's "Soundsuits" he transforms the person inside into something fantastical.
Women-led brand you love?
(Ase) on a conceptional level Eileen Fisher, a brand that has been a very stable advocate for zero waste and sustainability. I also like the approach of the new head of design of Chloe. (Lisa) it is almost impossible to name just one! Stacy Flynn, CEO and Co-Founder of Evrnu. Research in regenerative fiber technologies is one of the most important for truly circular fashion.
Top productivity tool?
(Ase) my new remarkable writing pad, my bike and my sketch book. Plus listening to podcasts while cooking. (Lisa) Music!
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