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21 November 2022
When Formland opens its doors for the Formland Spring trade fair, Creators Community will be there once again to give new design talents that little extra help they need when taking part in their first trade fair.
By Eva Sofie Anesen
To be considered for Creators Community and the mentoring scheme it offers, there are certain requirements that must be met and the eye of a needle to pass through. Participating brands must have been around for between one and five years and must not have attended Formland before. The brand’s portfolio must also be reviewed, as well as how much progress they have made in the process of becoming established, along with an evaluation of whether they will actually benefit from participating at Formland, which can be seen from the customer segment represented by the trade fair.
The brands selected for Formland Spring 2023 will meet for the first time in Herning in November for a kick-off gathering, where they will be introduced to each other and to their future mentors.
The three key questions
Why, how and when? These are the three most important focus areas for Senior Advisor Kurt Sommer, a mentor at Creators Community, when he has to advise entrepreneurs and business startups. So, why initiate an activity, how should it be done and when should it be done?
Kurt Sommer has been a mentor at Creators Community since the project was launched in 2015. 28 companies have passed through his hands, and a large proportion of them have gone on to achieve excellent results.
“Most of the brands I meet know their products inside out, but when I ask about production, prices and sales, many of them fall short,” says Kurt Sommer.
Many business startups take care of production themselves, but 'what if a customer comes along and orders 200 items at the trade fair?’, as Kurt Sommer asks hypothetically. Do they have a production plan in place? Rarely, according to the experienced mentor. The same applies to pricing – i.e. calculating a sales price based on production cost, purchase price and overheads.
“It’s hard to price your very first product because once you’ve taken care of producing the prototypes yourself, it can be almost impossible to price other people’s work and production,” says Sommer, adding that many people think that all you need to do is create a website, and then sales just take care of themselves. But it’s rarely that easy.
“In my experience, a physical shop is the best showroom, because that’s where buyers can feel and study a product to a much greater extent than they would be able to digitally, and that’s a must for new products,” he says.
Sommer has collated his best pieces of advice for the brands he advises at Creators Community, including many tips that might seem basic, but that many newly started brands overlook when taking part in a trade fair. He's happy to share a couple of them: Arrive on time when the trade fair starts. Keep track of your core narrative to buyers and the press, and learn to read your visitors: Is there value in the visit?
One of the brands that participated in a Creators Community and mentoring scheme at the last Spring trade fair in 2022 is the design company Moud Home, run by Malene Kristensen and Rehne Bomholt Petersen.
From equine hospital to design and interiors
Malene Kristensen always wanted to be self-employed. At the age of 10, she dreamt of an equine hospital, but since then the dream has evolved in other ways. She was Purchasing Manager at House Doctor for many years, but when she took maternity leave with her first daughter, her creative streak and the desire to do something new took hold. She joined forces with Rehne Bomholt Petersen, founding their very own webshop, from which they sold home accessories. But after a few years, they came to realise that this was not what they wanted to do. They wanted to create products in their own name instead, and that dream really took shape and gained momentum when they had an advisory board behind them in January 2020.
“The advisory board believed in us. They said, ‘Go ahead and do it – you have the skills’, and in May we had the first samples that we could put to the test,” says Kristensen.
The system of bringing in product samples for testing has been followed since the beginning. In its infancy, the brand had one single lifestyle webshop as a dealer, but as the ideas and the portfolio grew, the desire to reach more dealers also grew.
“We wanted to create something that can withstand general wear and tear. We wanted to make something that we could vouch for 100%,” explains Kristensen.
Ready for Creators
As the volume of products at Moud Home increased, they looked for pastures new. Marie Graff from Kodanska made Kristensen aware of Creators Community and encouraged them to apply. They succeeded in passing through the eye of the needle, and Moud Home attended Formland Spring in January 2022.
When you are part of Creators Community, you have a mentor with industry knowledge to help newly launched brands get off the ground – in terms of building a collection and participating at trade fairs.
Thanks to her job at House Doctor, Kristensen was not exactly a beginner when it came to building and understanding a collection, but it was still useful to gain another perspective.
“It was great to learn from our mentor’s experience, and we picked up some good tips,” says Kristensen.
“It was a versatile mentoring process, giving us things we can use,” she adds.
Moud Home is now back with the original advisory board, which is still keeping a close eye on the company and preparing for the upcoming Formland trade fair.