If you havn’t already heard, we at NSM believe Danish brand FINDERSKEEPERS is by far one of the most exciting and innovative concepts in the design, fashion & art industry we have come across in a long time. In short FINDERSKEEPERS is a design market based in Copenhagen, Denmark where new, upcoming or individual designers & artists can showcase and sell their work. Founded in 2011 by the fierce design student & entrepreneur, Herle Jarlgaard Hansen, who had a dream to create a central market where all ideas, projects and designs could come to life and be connected with customers looking for unique & handmade products.
Today the company has seen immense popularity amongst both local & international visitors, growing to several other market events around Denmark as well as opening an online shop with the various creations. We were so excited when we caught up with Herle herself to find out more about this important initiative.
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1Q. How did you get started with the concept of FINDERSKEEPERS? what inspired you?
There are many different reasons that made me choose to start FINDERSKEEPERS. But the starting point was actually myself. I was attending The Royal Danish Art Academy and my plan at the time was to become a designer myself. Which is why I though it was such a shame that there wasn’t a specific physical space where you already as a design student could display your ideas and products before having graduated. In my class alone there were 25 students, who all came up with their individual ideas to design projects. Some ideas were bad, while others were super sharp and deserved to be further developed. However sadly nearly all these ideas and products were either stored away or forgotten. It was so unfortunate! And what about all the other design departments from my year such as interior, furniture and visual communication and all the other design schools in Denmark along with anyone not even in design school? This is why I started FINDERSKEEPERS.
2Q. What is the core essence of FINDERSKEEPERS?
FK is a platform for upcoming designers, artists & creative entrepreneurs. A specific space where new talent from both the design- and fashion industry get the opportunity to showcase their ideas and projects. A big physical market where these designers, artists and creatives can test their ideas, sell their products, expand their network and learn from other artists. Simply put FINDERSKEEPERS helps these upcoming talents to bring their ideas and products to life.
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3Q. With such a huge support from visitors, buyers & designers, what do you find they love most about FK?
I think for the visitors, it’s about a lot of things. Firstly I personally believe that they enjoy being in direct contact with the designers and artists – to see who is behind the product they buy. To hear their stories and be a part of the process. Moreover I think a lot of people come to FINDERSKEEPERS in a quest to find something special, unique, limited and something that won’t be so assessable that they could go and buy it at any shopping mall in Denmark.
For designers and artists, I believe that they truly appreciate the value of getting direct feedback from the customers. To ditch the middle man and be able to sell and showcase the products themselves. Also I know that many of them really appreciate each other, become inspired and share experiences with each other. They create a huge network by being at FINDERSKEEPERS and I personally am super excited every time I see a new collaboration emerge from artists meeting at FINDERSKEEPERS.
4Q. What has been most challenging for you starting Finders Keepers?
I think there are a lot of challenges, when you decide to start your own business. In my case, the most challenging was that I had to do everything myself. I had to learn everything, from accounting to meetings with all kinds of people. It was really exciting but it also took up all of my time, so I didn’t really have time for a social life.
Moreover I had to constantly exceed my own boundaries and others’ as well. I put all my effort into letting everyone know what I was up to and what FINDERSKEEPERS was. As it was really important that a lot of people came. In addition I had to learn very quickly not to take things too personally. In the beginning it felt as though all the criticism I received was directed at me personally, so I had to separate those two things.
6Q. Do you think perhaps concepts such as Finders Keepers may have changed the way we shop?
That is a very difficult question. I think many of our customers find it amazing that they can get an insight into how the product was created. That they as consumers can stand by what they buy. I think they appreciate that many of the products at FINDERSKEEPERS are handmade and not mass produced. Giving it a greater authenticity. I hope FINDERSKEEPERS has contributed to people becoming more aware of what they spend money on, where the products are from, which material they are made of and that quality is at the essence over quantity.
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7Q. Is the recent development in the design industry with people heavily using electronic platforms a good thing?
With FINDERSKEEPERS we could never have existed without our social media platforms, like instagram, facebook & pinterest. Of course above all it’s about having a really great concept and I think FINDERSKEEPERS is just that. In the research we have done, facebook, instagram and word of mouth has clearly spread the word about us. We have designers and artists from Berlin, London, Korea, China, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway ect. And they would never have heard about us if it hadn’t been for social media.
That being said, obviously as a physical market, we much rather that people come to our events and get a great experience than sit at home buying the market products online. But as long as we keep renewing ourselves to maintain FINDERSKEEPERS as a desirable market to visit, then I don’t think the internet will be our competition but rather an advantage.
8Q. What can we expect in the future from FINDERSKEEPERS?
A lot! I always have so many ideas that I want to try out. I would especially like to work more internationally. I think we have so many talented Scandinavian designers who could be really an exciting input to markets abroad. Further I would like to work more on the concept of POP-UP Shops, where we represent different artists in various setups. Like a gallery, showroom, shop, exhibitions, installations ect..
9Q. Any upcoming designer or artist we should keep an eye on at the moment?
This is really difficult, as there are so many!
Amanda Hurup has long been at FINDERSKEEPERS with her illustrations, but actually she is almost finishing her degree as a furniture designer. I have seen some of her designs and think that she is pretty awesome. So for the first time she is bringing her furniture to FK.
Haeng is a company started by Jakob Forum, that designs unique lamps. A super cool concept. They have been at FIDNERSKEEPERS for the second time this year.
Victoria Mingot is a jewellery designer to her core. She challenges the minimalistic jewellry trend, which many designers follow at the moment. It is so wonderfully liberating. And she too is a new edition to FINDERSKEEPERS.
I could go on!
10Q. Any advice for the upcoming designers & artists seeking to pave a way for themselves?
Just go for it! Talk about your ideas, show off your products, get all the feedback you can to help you step back and decide what to go for. It is always fine to be inspired but make your own path and don’t let yourself be dictated by a certain trend. And most importantly it has to be fun. The day I don’t feel like FINDERSKEEPERS is fun anymore, I will find something else. When you put all your energy, soul and passion into a project, then it just has to be fun!
We wish Herle the best of luck in the future with this ever so cool concept. Should you be in Denmark be sure to drop by their next market event on the 26th-27th of September, see more here.
Also check out their Facebook & Instagram for more information about upcoming events & designers.
FINDERSKEEPERS Market photography by WDV STUDIO
FINDERSKEEPERS Apartment photography by Anne Mie Bak Andersen
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Tags: FINDERSKEEPERS, interview
Editor & Coordinator studied in London while loving the multi-cultural fashion scene. Still armed with her love of live concerts and stylish things, she is now currently based in Copenhagen.
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