Over the last couple of years, Danish design, be it fashion, interior, or otherwise, has been in the media spotlight.
Danish creatives have risen to influencer-stardom, and multitudes of articles have been written on how to achieve the sought after scandi style.
Danish ‘It-Girl’ Perinille Teisbæk even released a book on her tips and tricks, favourite Copenhagen drinks and dinner spots, and a general guide to honing in on the Scandi lifestyle and fashion sense.
On Sønder Boulevard in Copenhagen, just off of the popular shopping street Istegade, lays a tiny little shop called Handcraftedcph. On one corner, the words “Dansk Design” (Danish Design) are written in big letters on the floor to ceiling windows.
The interior of the little store is minimal in classic mid-century Danish style, and there is jewellery in all shapes, sizes, and styles scattered around the shop. On one wall hangs necklaces with the pendants that first gained the store major notoriety, most notably the pendant engraved with “pyt” meaning ‘whatever’ or ‘oh well’.Handcraftedcph does not only sell ready-made jewellery, its main traction is affordable bespoke jewellery. The store does not have a traditional online store and operates only with orders in person, or online through email and Instagram.
Ander Forup, the founder of Handcraftedcph as well as the vintage shop Office & Vintage comes from a long line of goldsmiths. Both his father and his grandfather were goldsmiths and growing up he loved to hang out at their workshops: “The workshop always had a very special atmosphere and feeling to it. It was there I was drawn to the subject [of jewellery making].”
The company started by accident. Forup started by making simple jewellery for his girlfriend, now wife, and for friends and acquaintances, and from there it took off: “The goal has always been to make jewellery and speciality made jewellery at a domestic price point… probably a very danish thought process.”Although jewellery had always been one of his big passions in his life, and through his father he had a special connection to the field, it took him a long time to realise seriously that it was the direction his future was heading. “A couple of years ago I finished my psychology studies and at the time, I thought that was also the direction I was heading. My love for the craft, material, design, and to create a universe around jewellery, made me put my focus on all the things that make up Handcraftedcph, which I have never regretted.”
Jewellery for Forup is about being simple and practical. It should be something that can be used in everyday life and have high enough quality that it can be passed down to younger generations yet still remain timeless and beautiful. “It has become a very big thing for me, as it is after all often an investment to buy a specially made ring,” Forup said.
“It is a little hard to answer [what makes a good piece of jewellery] without getting philosophical. Other than quality, which should of course be in place, a good piece of jewellery is when it speaks to you in one way or another. I am, of course, very aware that all the materials [are] good and that they come from reliable and trustworthy suppliers. What makes a good piece of jewellery is really an individual thing, but we do what we can to make good jewellery.”
He would not call himself a huge design nerd, it is more about the quality of material, however, danish heritage design offers the most inspiration in the everyday life for the designs that are made at Handcraftedcph. The shop has its own workshop which allows for ideas to be tossed around and tweaked very quickly: “Our little team has gotten a lot bigger, and luckily that means it is flowing in with design ideas for our jewellery, which then becomes a collection.”
But most of the jewellery featured in store and online comes from the clients themselves and what their ideas and wants are. The relationship between Handcraftedcph and its customers is not just supply and demand, it functions more like a conversation between the two.
Perhaps it is easier to establish a conversational relationship with customers through social media – @handcraftedcph currently has 81,400 followers and more than 5,000 posts.
Each post, although they never feature his face, still feels personal. In the background of photos, you can see his hands and familiar areas of the shop; other photos feature new items from Office & Vintage and sometimes there are even snippets of his own home.
“I try to make it so you can always feel ‘me’ in the account. I also prioritise being active [on Instagram], either by putting up pictures or by responding to people personally as much as possible,” Forup said in regard to what has made his Instagram such a success. “It is very hard to pinpoint what exactly that does it sometimes.”
Handcraftedcph was quick to jump on the Instagram shop trend, however, they have never actively used an influencer to promote their work.
“Not because there is anything wrong in doing so, just because I haven’t had the time to find any that could be relevant or interesting for us. The focus has always been on a quiet organic growth. Many of the good thing in life happen by accident or by luck, and always organically.”For Forup, money and popularity are not the deciding factors for what he considers to be a success: “Success for me is that I can work as self-employed and support my little family. It is a good combination of freedom and responsibility that I find myself thriving in. I’m really happy to be able to have a small group of dedicated employees that also are passionate about Handcraftedcph.”
However, objectively, Handcraftedcph is a success; wildly popular in Danish media, the go-to jeweller for the danish public, and an Instagram hit. But despite all this, there are still many personal and business related goals that he wants to reach.
“I still have a lot of dreams, which I work towards every day so that they can be realised. I dream of another jewellery store, a shop dedicated to vintage furniture and art, and a café. The dreams are many.”
The right feel and atmosphere that can meet the customers at eye height has always been an important aspect to Forup when opening a shop: “I knew very early on that I wanted to open a shop in one way or another.”
Handcraftedcph is a success specific to Copenhagen, the Danish mentality and lifestyle pace, but would a company like that be able to hold up in an environment like London, or would it potentially be swallowed?
“[London] is a city with very proud traditions in the jewellery making business, so I mostly know the classical pieces. When I have been in London, it is all about experiencing the city, the galleries, restaurants, and shops in different industries, and of course are there some amazing retail spaces in London,” Forup said.
“Denmark could learn a little bit in regards to the ambition level. It is always hard to imagine if your universe can be translated well in a different country. We [Handcraftedcph] are very rooted in Copenhagen, but that could also be one of the reasons people from the rest of the world gets into us and our products.”
No matter the high level of ambition that London holds in Forup’s eyes, Handcraftedcph does not have a foreseeable move abroad in the future: “It is really hard to say what the future holds. I hope that we can continue to grow our brand in different ways. The dream could definitely be opening another shop, even though that would need the company to be a lot bigger. With Instagram and the up and coming web-shop, my focus is not necessarily on a new physical location abroad, and I also really love Copenhagen.”
Featured image courtesy of Handcraftedcph.
Edited by Kesia Evans.