Founded by CEO Lasse Pedersen when he was just 17 years old, NATURES Collection has quickly risen to prominence as a beacon of Danish design, ‘slow’ fashion, and business excellence. In October 2017, the company won for the fourth year in a row Børsen’s coveted Gazelle Award, given out to the fastest growing companies in Denmark.
Now, NATURES Collection is branching out across the Atlantic and landing in the United States with its impressive home interior design collection and a mission to hygge-ify American homes spanning from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. #DenmarkInNY caught up with founder and CEO Lasse Pedersen for a quick chat about his brand, its ambitions and the importance of hygge in one’s life.
DNY: A little bit of background — how did it all begin? How did you come up with the idea of creating NATURES Collection? How many employees do you have today?
Lasse Pedersen: It started as a hobby outside high school, where I sold sheepskins to local furniture stores. Today we are approximately 25 people.
You were only 17 years old when starting the company. What was it like to be such a young entrepreneur and what prompted your desire to start NATURES Collection?
Being a young entrepreneur is a great experience! You basically know nothing about doing business which means that you are also not aware of all the potential problems. You just solve it along the way when problems occur; instead of worrying about them. Since I saw my first sheepskin rug I’ve been in love with skins, hides, fur and all other natural materials. The feeling of working with such beautiful, natural and sustainable products is a dream come true. That is what prompted my desire to start NATURES Collection. And still is.
What are some of the challenges of being a young entrepreneur? And what are the perks?
Naturally there are some hesitations from customers when they meet with a 17, 18 or even 25-year-old guy for the first time. But once you prove your worth my experience is that it is an advantage to be a young entrepreneur. You can easily adjust to the circumstances or changes in the market and you do not have any prejudiced ideas about how things should be done.
Today, you attend around 30 international fairs yearly and are present in more than 90 countries. Why do you think NATURES Collection has been so successful?
Our biggest strength is that we do not ‘just’ sell a sheepskin (or other products), we sell people a feeling. A feeling of being close to nature, a Nordic way of living and we somehow function as a contrary to a world of plastic.
In the US, everyone associates Denmark with hygge. How does NATURES Collection embody hygge?
We are hygge! The corner stone of NATURES Collections is hygge and we have since day one tried to spread this concept — through our products, marketing, — to our customers.
How can one’s interior décor make his or her life more hyggelig?
Add NATURE(S)! Make sure that you surround yourself with beautiful, sustainable, natural and stylish products that add warmth and hygge to your decor. Furthermore, products must have a meaning; a function, and it must be comfortable. It is not ‘hyggeligt’ if it is not comfortable. Even the most beautiful, Nordic designed, natural material chair is not ‘hyggelig’ if you do not add a sheepskin.
How has the American market welcomed NATURES Collection?
Overwhelmingly well. We are amazed and surprised about the welcome we have received in America. Not only by the number of new customers, orders, etc. But more importantly by the reaction towards the brand which — truly — has been a dream come true.