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Studio visit SWIMS

What is it like to work as a creative in Norway, today?

It's a great time to be a creative in Norway. Post-Covid, I think one of the new global megatrends will be how people appreciate the outdoors and how they interact with nature. They will also appreciate a more balanced work/life combo. So why is this relevant to being a creative in Norway? Well, because this global megatrend reflects the Scandinavian lifestyle, so this is very much what we design for.

Why are sustainable practices so important to Norwegian designers?

I believe our close relationship with nature is key here. It's very much expected from us to act cautiously and responsibly. We've been taught from early on to clean up after ourselves. It's simply part of the Scandinavian model of respect and decency towards other people and our blue planet.

What is your view of Norwegian design in a global perspective?

We're slowly catching up to our Scandinavian sisters and brothers who have shown us that it's very possible to build big global brands, despite very small home markets. I also think our aesthetic is timeless, with our "less is more" philosophy. At the office, we've discussed what Norwegian design means vs. Scandinavian, a thousand times. If anything, I think Norwegian is more exotic to most people, and maybe we are a little bolder in our approach. We applaud the new wave of Norwegian creatives in everything from architecture to food and music that have made a name for themselves internationally, and thereby paved the way. Norway definitively has momentum these days. We now have a couple of contenders in world sports such as golf and tennis, which I think is very cool.

What motivated you to join Swims?

I was always fascinated with brands and how loyal customers become to their favourite brands. When working for Voss Water and living in New York, most of my colleagues had their background from beverage brands; Dom Perignon, Roederer, Pernod Richard, etc. It's interesting how people are willing to pay three times the price based on this romantic dream of success and happy living. In New York, I met my future business partner Johan Ringdal who attended Parson's at the time. He had this crazy idea about reinventing the galosh, a product associated with old men in bowler hats. I thought the idea was brilliant. Totally niche, very narrow demographic and thereby very marketing efficient. He moved back to Oslo and started Swims. When I moved home a year later, Johan asked me to join, and the rest is history.

What does a day in the studio look like for you? 

Most days start with a coffee in the local coffee shop by the office, before we have our morning check-in at 0900 with a completely open agenda, except Tuesdays that are more formal, where we review numbers for all channels together. No agenda can mean anything from an urgent request from sales to a new restaurant in town where someone had dinner the night before. This routine brings us closer together as a team and ensures that we have some interaction even under Covid. You never know what will come out of those sessions, and often we have a good laugh together. Then I usually look through my BoF feed to see if there’s something I should read before I start on my emails. If I have calls with Asia, I try to do them before 1100 at the latest in respect of their time. After lunch we have our smaller meetings before our meetings with the team in New York. I try to be home by 1700 so I can start my second job as a private driver for my kids for their activities.

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