Being an entrepreneur and small business owner, I love to hear success stories of talented people who started companies, with the goal to make a difference and to to bring something new to the market; people driven by a vision, a passion, a curiosity, and a determination; people with a mission.
Today I would like to introduce you Louise Fischer. She recently launched her US-based online store, Kontrast, for which she carefully selects and imports Danish home accessories. She also offers special order furniture. She sells amazing brands such as Louise Roe, by nord, By Lassen, and Ferm Living, among others.
Q: What inspired you to start your shop?
A: “I worked in the New York advertising industry for 20+ years and have been fortunate to work with iconic brands and wonderfully creative people. But I wanted to start something on my own while leveraging as much of my background as possible, including my exposure to, and love for, great design. In the beginning of 2014 I had a big branding project in Scandinavia and during my travels there I discovered new home accessory designs I had not seen before. That was the inspiration for me to make the leap and quit my job to start Kontrast.
Q: What sets your shop aside from it’s competitors?
A: I only select what I love and what I believe will be beautiful within all types of interiors, not just interiors classified as ‘modern’. The products suit a number of styles and can add an unexpected contrast to a home (hence my brand name, Kontrast). Kontrast is for the design-conscious individual who seeks something unique that can’t be found at the usual U.S. retailers. And only products from Denmark. I know that also may limit me but I do think the Danish ‘look’ is different from the other Scandinavian countries’.
Q: Who or what influences your style? To what do you attribute your wonderful aesthetic?
A: Well, a combination of things: first of all my advertising background – I have been so fortunate to have my aesthetic ‘honed’ by creative people and great brands. I learned a lot working with art directors and designers. And, my mom – she has her own style that is different from mine but with a great eye and attention to detail. Last but not least, the notion of Danish HYGGE (it’s a hard to translate concept but has to do with togetherness, conviviality and being in the moment with loved ones). I love to entertain and to create those moments..being surround by beautiful accessories and preferably lit candles, helps craft that HYGGE! That is a big influence.
Q: How do you find the pieces/products for your store?
A: A combination of trade fairs, visits to Denmark and now people have begin to contact me, which of course not only is flattering but it also makes it easier! I am very selective though, I only choose what I love.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face with running your own store?
A: I guess what other entrepreneurs say: wearing the many hats, and forcing yourself to do the stuff you are not so keen on (i.e. book keeping!) because none else will do it for you. And when to switch it all off and be a mom, a wife, a friend…when it’s your own passion project it’s easy to have it take over your life.
Q: What do you love most about having your own store?
A: Making all the decisions myself and being solely responsible for success or failure. It’s scary too. Working from home and deciding when I wear yoga pants or heels (mostly, its the former :-)). Seeing the kids more, of course, that is a huge benefit.
Q: What are you proud of?
A: All the incredibly encouraging and positive feedback I have received so far.
Q: Do you have any special projects in the pipeline or exciting future plans?
A: Yes. I would like to offer products unique to my store that fit the American measurements better, without compromising design and style. I am also considering collaborations for special order furniture.
Q: What are your favourite pieces/products at the moment?
A: Har – the obvious answer is of course ALL OF THEM! But I have a special affinity at the moment for the adorable By Nord baby pillows especially the baby jackdaw and hedgehog. And the By Lassen candle holders, they are so classic and structured yet add such warmth to a room. And the Louise Roe pillows, they have a unique look, her background as a fashion designer and her sense of structure and fabrics really comes through. And…the list goes on.”
Visit Louise’s shop today!
You can see my own favourite picks from Kontrast here.