In 2014, Thomas Brixen and his wife Ina Luise Brixen founded ENIITO, an online marketplace that offers its users with a one-stop-shop for exclusive and original Scandinavian designs. From the Latin root ab initio, this platform was established to help the young designers to develop his or her unique designing cycles and have an opportunity to let their distinctive talent be seen by a wider range of audience. In the past three years, ENIITO, with its thought to help all the designers to realize their full potential, has provided them an opportunity to let their craftsmanship to be seen and used by those that appreciate it. In May 2017, ENIITO has traveled to Shanghai participating in the “New Danish Modern — Reflections of Danish Design” in Shanghai PSA. The show has attracted a large amount of Chinese audience. It is a great honor for Tezign to have an opportunity talking to Mr. Brixen after the show.
A= Thomas Brixen
Q: You have worked in the industry of design, marketing, photography, and communication, how do you see the similarities between all these fields? Is there a particular connection among these subjects?
A: I think the main connection among all these subjects is creativity and passion. I have worked in many areas within the creativity business. I like design; I like color; and I like everything that is out of the ordinary. Most importantly, I need to be passionate about my job. This is the reason why I know I belong to the world of creativity.
Q: Is there a particular person that you look up to as your role model? Or is there any type of style that has inspired you the most in your work?
A: This may be a bit surprising, but my role model is the famous American actor Steve McQueen. Besides an actor, McQueen was also a dedicated racer who actually won many races incognito. At the same time, he also had his own style as well as his unique charisma. He was known as the “king of cool”, and I like him a lot because I also like classic sports car and racing and style. Also, I really admire a Danish architect, Bjarke Ingels, who had done a lot tremendous work related to Danish design and architecture. What he had done is incredible and brought notice worldwide, and he is recognized as one of the most influential architect.
Q: How do you see the field of design has changed in the past several years with the coming of new technology?
A: I agree that technology has made a lot of new projects available and possible. However, I have to admit that I am a fan of simplicity since I do pay a lot of attention to good material and great craftsmanship. These are actually the key ingredients in Nordic design. No doubt that technology has made new ideas and projects available; sometimes it turns out fantastically especially within architecture. However, sometimes you can see that modern design has been done too complicated due to all the new technology that is available right now. I think one of my favorite new technology is 3D printing, which has done some fantastic things that might seem unreal just a few years ago.
However, I think a lot of designers, especially in the Danish design area, are going back to the old school format. For example, many young design students are showing interests in studying furniture making and classic watchmaker. I think as technology has made some extraordinary things, it is also important that we need to have storytelling skills because it serves as a link between the designer and the production. It is hard for mass production to have any stories behind it, but with the individual designers they would always have a story behind each of their design and products.
Q: What has been the biggest obstacle for you pursuing your career? How did you overcome it and what have you learned from it?
A: Actually, I think the biggest obstacle is myself and I think it is quite common among our generation because there are so many possibilities and interests for us to choose from. When I was young, I was always attracted to new ideas and new businesses, which means that I started from scratch a couple times to pursue a new career. This however, might also be one of my strengths since it means I have a broad background and therefore have good knowledge of the different stages and levels within the world of design.
Q: What would be your one piece of advice to the young designers who want to continue pursuing careers in this industry?
A: I think my biggest advice would be never give up. However, if we are only talking about the design industry, I think it is important for young designers to know how does the business work at first place. There are a lot of great designers on market, but that is not enough for you to be successful in this industry. I think one has to know how does the business run before continuing his or her career in this field. You have to be smart and pay attention to the new trend looking for new opportunities before everyone else discovers them. The market for designer nowadays is highly competitive; therefore, I think you need to stand out in order to compete in this field of business. Do remember: never give up.
Q: As one of the Danish Design Award finalists 2017 falling into the BUSINESS Employment Growth category, what do you see the biggest advantages of ENIITO?
A: Right now, we have seen the popularity of Danish design as well as Scandinavian design worldwide. However, the most famous ones are still these big brands; it is quite difficult for smaller brands to break through that barrier especially if the brand wants to go internationally. For most designers, it takes a lot of money, time, and luck to break through that barrier. Therefore, instead of branding each individual Scandinavian designer, we are branding ENIITO as a platform where you can find all the best Scandinavian designers as well as the best products from them. I believe all of our products have the potential to become the classics of tomorrow. We are building ENIITO so that if people want to have a taste of the Scandinavian design, they can immediately visit our website for any products that they are searching for. Also, we are trying to go beyond the mainstream because right now we are seeing the current trend in the coming years; however, people want to be unique and stand out from the rest, thus ENIITO is the perfect solution for this because we don’t have any mainstream products. The problem we have right now is the accessibility because how can the consumers find these products when they go shopping in a big mall? Since the mall has products that are mostly mass produced, it is hard for these unique products to stand out. Therefore, ENIITO is going to be the platform where you will find all the creative and unique products that you won’t see in those big malls.
Q: ENIITO also has helped present “New Danish Modern — Reflections of Danish Design” in Shanghai PSA, where do you see the potential of Danish Design?
A: I think we have already seen a rising interest in Danish Design from the US, other European countries, and Asian countries, and Scandinavian design as a whole has a big momentum as well. The other day, I just found out the Danish word Hygge, which means a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality, has been listed in the English dictionary. Moreover, Hygge has become a trend in the design world because it is strongly associated with Scandinavian design. Here is an article that we have written in relation to Hygge: https://blog.eniito.com/what-hygge-is-and-how-to-do-it/
Q: ENIITO is pretty like Tezign in serving designers and bridging creative talents with businesses. How did you first start thinking about creating such a platform?
A: I have always loved the idea to go beyond the mainstream and have something unique and special, and I started designing furniture because I wanted to have something that others haven’t done before. However, one thing that I have noticed during that time is the huge existence of mass production and the overwhelming numbers of products that you can search for. For example: if I am looking for a table on the Internet, then there would be 5000 tables shown. Thus, it created difficulty for people to choose. Therefore, I wanted to create ENIITO as a platform and a focused marketplace on Scandinavian design so that when people visit our website, they would know what to expect in terms of the quality of the product and the service we provide.