The Story of DANISH REVEAL
Photo from danishreveal
Originally Posted On: DANISH REVEAL-The Story of Helga Andersen Building a Fashion Marketplace
The name DANISH REVEAL becomes a true declaration of intentions.
What do you intend to reveal with your creation?
DANISH REVEAL was born from my own personal experience as a woman, as an international executive, and as a mom. DANISH REVEAL is born from the desire to contribute something deeper to today’s woman through fashion and beauty, inspired by society, the Danish, and in a digital context. At DANISH REVEAL we have a mission for which we are working every day and which essence is who we are. We want to provide tools to the woman of the XXI century that help to unlock personal power and well-being. We want to help her to feel strong in order to pursue her goals, whatever they may be.
I firmly believe in the Transformation Economy, which in the current situation caused by COVID-19 has become more relevant, and for which consumers seek experiences that go beyond a mere acquisition. We wish for authenticity and meaningfulness, some call it the ‘soul’ of the business, where we can connect on a more personal level and in doing so experience a true sense of transformation. This is exactly where we are working at DANISH REVEAL. We feel even more responsible now to contribute with much more than a product, a service, or an experience. We have all had opportunities to reflect during these difficult times, and I believe that in every company today, we have an obligation to create even more value for our customers, or partners as I prefer to call them.
My name is Helga Andersen and I was born and raised near Copenhagen, having a normal Danish childhood, with my Danish father, Spanish mother and my two siblings. As I grew-up I nevertheless realized that having been broad up in a family with two cultures had given me a wider perspective to culture, and I was fascinated by how different your life could be in one country from your life in another. I decided that I wanted an international career, and I left behind the law studies that I had initiated in Copenhagen, as I perceived this as leaving me with a more narrow national scope to my professional journey. This decision you can say became one of the first building blocks to what today is DANISH REVEAL.
I decided to study Economics and International Business Administration in Copenhagen and in Madrid, and I did a Master of Science in Copenhagen – Strategic Market Creation, and another in Milan in Marketing Management.In Milan I decided to take a Fashion and Luxury Industry course at the university, as the industry fascinated me on a personal level, and I wanted to understand the dynamics better. My goal was however not to work in fashion, but I wanted to work in an industry that had a purpose beyond selling a product. I wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry where I felt that I could make a difference by improving the quality of life of patients, or with renewable energy improving environmental conditions. But my real hidden dream was one day to be able to start a company where I could focus on quality of life, but I still did not know what that would look like. This dream became a second building block for DANISH REVEAL.
Before starting my journey as an entrepreneur, I ended up developing my professional career for more than 8 years in the pharmaceutical industry, in a Danish company in different parts of Europe. During these years, away from my home country, I realised that Denmark was experiencing an increasing international attention on various fields which caught my attention. I found that the country brand Denmark had great potential within lifestyle based on the modern country values, high level of equality, and their strong design heritage. This observation became a third building block for DANISH REVEAL.
During my years of corporate career, I realized that fashion and beauty represented something much more profound for me than dressing to follow a trend. For me it was always a tool to express myself, and to feel strong in my daily life and thus be able to pursue my goals. When you feel good about what you wear, you radiate self-confidence and your day just becomes better, I think it is as simple as that. This fashion perspective became a forth building block for DANISH REVEAL.
I have worked with the purpose of improving the quality of life of patients for many years, and I believe that nothing is as rewarding as knowing that your product changes lives. When I was 34 years old and with a daughter less than 5 months old, I was promoted to marketing director and business unit director in the Spanish organization of the pharmaceutical company where I worked. It was a very hard period, trying to balance the professional career that excited me so much, and which I had worked so hard for, and the fact of being a mother for the first time. I wished to be a present mother in my daughter’s life. In Denmark, maternity leave is almost a year, and I always had a bad conscience for not being able to spend a lot of time at home with my little girl, and at the same time, I felt bad for not being able to give myself 100% professionally, as I had done before giving birth. After a very intense period at work, with many changes at a corporate level strategically, politically and culturally, which led to stress, I decided to change my life completely, and pursue that dream I had; to start the journey of entrepreneurship! This experience as a woman, and an executive in corporate life, became the final building block that made me realize a need for change, and my wish to pursue tools for personal power and well-being for the modern woman, in order for her to pursue work-life balance and her dreams at the same time!
What we do today in DANISH REVEAL is closely linked to wanting to provide quality of life, but for the women of today, through feelings of strength, inspired by a society (the Danish) and through simple lifestyle tools, like fashion and beauty.
What is DANISH REVEAL based on?
DANISH REVEAL is a lifestyle marketplace inspired by a country and its society – the Danish – and its way of life. I dare to say it is the first of its kind. It is the multi-brand destination that unites brands from the recognized Copenhagen fashion scene with modern women around the globe.
Denmark is a country that has been nominated, several times, as the happiest country in the world, where women play a prominent role in business or politics, and men in raising children. As examples, we have a Queen and a President of the Government! Denmark is causing increasing international attention on various fields, and is positioned as a country with modern values. Denmark is known for its strong welfare state, and for being among the countries with the lowest level of corruption in the world and with high levels of equality. We believe it is a country that in many aspects can provide inspiration for today’s women, on how to feel strong in order to achieve our goals on a day-to-day basis.
Denmark is known, apart from its minimalist interior design and its fairytale appeal, for its capital Copenhagen, which has become a “European capital” to visit. Copenhagen has become a fashion reference and Denmark sets trends in beauty, with natural ingredients and high transparency within beauty products. We are fascinated by how Denmark has achieved an iconic status within the global fashion scene, mainly because of the country’s great designers with timeless values, focusing on sustainability, and empowerment, but also because of the fantastic work that Copenhagen Fashion Week (CPHFW) is doing.
Scandinavian fashion has always been characterized by handling other production times with respect to those used by the textile industry in general. What benefits do you see in the concept called ‘slow fashion’?
The Danish fashion mindset does not focus on passing trends or fast-fashion but focuses primarily on quality over quantity. A piece must be destined to last year after year and to become part of one’s life. Unlike trend-driven production, Danish designers create more basic, yet fun, pieces, focusing on more sustainable production. Danish customers buy quality pieces less often. They have small closets that they prefer to fill with perfect garments for any occasion that lasts year after year.
The global fashion industry has become one of the most polluting industries, responsible for a high percentage of the waste generated on the planet and one of the important causes is fast fashion. This is based on creating garments continuously, with less quality and in large volumes in order to win through the economy of the scale model. On the contrary, the Danish model focuses on timeless fashion, through quality pieces that help people to express themselves.
I would place Danish fashion within the accessible luxury space, where you invest in the quality of the product. If we compare the cost of those cheaper garments in the fast fashion industry and the few times they are used, versus a more costly garment that lasts, we get to the conclusion that what seemed cheap ends up being more expensive. I think it is a simple cost/utilization equation. Slow fashion undoubtedly becomes a more sustainable option which also promotes fair trade. Smaller productions not only promote these values, but also provide the consumer with the satisfaction of a more exclusive garment. We believe that society is increasingly aware of this. We have the possibility to choose how we want to change and transform the world.
What values does Danish fashion defend? How related is your way of dressing to the culture of the area?
Apart from the values of slow and timeless fashion as we discussed above, there is no doubt that the values from the Danish society are also reflected in the fashion industry of this country. The Danish style is known for:
1) Minimalist Expression “less is more” – Danish society is very homogeneous and minimalist, there are no major social divisions and even the president of the government rides a bicycle. As I have commented, Denmark has high levels of equality as regards women professionally and regarding men in parental matters envied by some other countries. Danish fashion is also known for being
2) Androgynous – Fashion leaves it to the consumer, whether it is a man or a woman, to choose the garments with which they want to wear, without distinguishing too much between sexes, and it is very common for women to use garments with a masculine and oversized touch. Danish fashion is also recognized for being
3) Casual – It is undoubtedly a country that works the balance between the professional and personal life.
4) Looks With Many Layers – I think this comes from being a Nordic country dominated by a harsh and very changeable climate.
5) Daring – The style, however, has evolved, and has also ended up being defined as daring with the arrival of recent designers, who are betting on new mixes of fabrics and colours. I believe that Danish society is very committed to individual development and personal motivation. It offers great support for self-realization reflected in the strong welfare state.
At DANISH REVEAL we work with partners, Danish firms, which we select with the criteria that they share and raise the values that we have been commenting on. Our current partners are all part of CPHFW and are the following: Baum Und Pferdgarten, Designers Remix, Lovechild 1979 and Stine Goya, and with respect to the beauty section, we have the brand Tromborg. The selected brand partners have in common that they distill the essence of their own creators, empowering contemporary women. Each firm stands out for its timeless minimalism and high quality, its comfort and its masculine features, highlighting fun and daring looks. All of them are firms that work their designs with the intelligence of timelessness, made from excellent and increasingly sustainable materials, and containing an unmistakable design that makes them truly special, keeping with the values that prevail in Danish culture.
What reception do you expect the marketplace to have on the global market?
We launched the DANISH REVEAL project a week before the confinement by COVID-19, hence we are still in the initial phases and at a time with uncertainty, but also with growth opportunities within online shopping. We know that there is a growing international interest in Danish fashion and in Denmark as a “country brand”. More important than this, we believe that more and more, consumers and women are looking for products with their own personality from which they can extract their values and an extra learning from the mere object. We believe that we provide something different compared to other multi-brand marketplaces within the fashion and beauty sector, and we believe and hope that it may be well received on the international market.
Our mission is to unlock the personal power of modern women inspired by Denmark and the values of this society. We hope that this project can offer women of today some simple tools to make them feel strong on a daily basis, balancing their professional and personal life, and thus be able to pursue their goals, while we as a company wish to form part of that process.
During recent years empowering women has been on the agenda and projects like ours, that seek the empowerment of women through simple tools, are necessary. For us the important thing now is that women who identify with the project get to know us for us to start the DANISH REVEAL movement together.
How do you define the Danish Reveal woman?
The DANISH REVEAL woman sets high standards for her life, pursues her dreams and has ethical principles. She is always looking for maintaining the difficult balance between her professional and personal life. She is intelligent and brave. Not afraid of making mistakes because she transforms her mistakes into learning and personal growth. A woman who wants to invest in time, and quality objects, rather than in quantity. She is interested in fashion and beauty and uses both tools as a form of expression. In short, a woman of the XXI century who faces and questions the society of today and does not stand still, a woman who takes action.
What advice would you give someone with an entrepreneurial dream?
I am still in the initial stages of entrepreneurship, but obviously, I have already learned a lot in order to get here.
First of all, I definitely believe in the great value of having worked in corporate life before starting the entrepreneurial marathon. It is obviously not a must, and a lot of people have got to amazing success without that. However, in my opinion, as challenges appear, which they will, corporate life gives you important tools, experience, and a network in order to handle situations. I learned many important lessons during my corporate life on how to run a business and a team, and what works and what does not. A lot of expensive learning that I would not be able to afford when building my own company. I learned work discipline, structure and processes, the importance of a balance between strategy and execution, and a winning environment with high expectations where you push yourself to the next level. I also learned the important lesson of office politics, which I am obviously not fond of, but after all this is very linked to social intelligence. As an entrepreneur, you will find yourself in delicate situations where you have to solve smoothly and with foresight, and here you will need your social intelligence. As a young college graduate, we rarely have those skills developed, but we follow our tember and beliefs which sometimes places us in complicated situations. Through corporate life, we learn that our beliefs obviously matter because it does, however how we communicate is what makes us more capable leaders.
Working in a bigger organization you experience how difficult it is to move a team and individuals in the same direction. Hence, when building a company I believe that your mission and goals must be very well defined for the team to understand your path, and in order to get them to work towards that. In my corporate life experience, I have learned many things that I definitely bring to DANISH REVEAL, but also a lot of things that I for sure will try to do differently.
I think that when initiating entrepreneurship in my humble experience yet, regardless of the sector where you start, is having your purpose and value proposition one hundred percent clear – what are you going to contribute with, to whom and why? Having this well-defined, success is undoubtedly more likely. Your project has to motivate you above all, and you should never stop believing in yourself and your idea, although there will be days when you will doubt everything. Listen, learn, do not be afraid to make mistakes, and take advantage of all this to improve every day, with self-confidence as your engine.
From my point of view, if you have a mission that moves you, giving up in difficult moments is not an option, because you will be “fighting” for something that is above you and your personal dreams. You will fight for your customers/partners and finally for your values. This is my experience, and this is the basis for DANISH REVEAL.
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