MEET THE STARTUP: NOVAHEIM
We have known each other for life. As kids, we were all about similar pageboy cuts and play – ignorant of the fact that we would stand by each other’s side and register our own company 25 years later. Today, we have a lot more in common. We are obsessed with design and share the same educational degree in intercultural communication. It is full of ambition and motivation to make a difference that we have decided to turn our common passions, our skills and knowledge and not least our friendship into a startup adventure. We are Emilie and Marie-Louise – founders of Novaheim.
What is Novaheim?
Novaheim is a Danish design brand offering sustainable and customized home accessories handmade by women at asylum centers. The process connected to seeking asylum is often long drawn-out and marked by uncertainty. Without residence permit, the opportunities of keeping busy are limited which means that both valuable time and skills are wasted. With Novaheim, we therefore aim to turn lost time and skills among awaiting women at asylum centers into meaningful activity, learning, and hopes for a brighter future. Our products are purposely crocheted by hand because needlework has several mental benefits. This is a priority to us because many of the women we work with carry traumatic experiences with them.
Novaheim is first of all deeply rooted in our passion for Scandinavian design. However, it is also founded on our desire to make a positive impact in all aspects possible. We have both travelled the world, lived abroad, and we have studied communication in an intercultural perspective. With our fascination for diversity and our concerns about the societal development, we have made it our goal to create common ground across cultures. We want to pass on stories, and we do so by means of high-quality products for the home that takes the world into consideration.
We aim at sourcing sustainable materials for our production, and each product is handmade with great care and accompanied with a story about the women behind it. We do not aim to follow seasons and we include the customer in the design process by providing the opportunity to customize the products. With the customer’s personal investment, the goal is to prolong the life of each product and avoid waste in an industry otherwise marked by mass production.
With our business model, we want to approach design differently than what we often see – more holistically and with greater care for people, environment, and society.
Launching fall 2017
There is always a long way from idea to reality and nothing comes easy. For us, the idea was first sparked over a Skype call back in November 2016. In March, we started a pilot project at an asylum center north of Copenhagen, and at the end of May we made an agreement with the Red Cross about a collaboration starting in September. It has taken us a lot of time and effort to get where we are now, but we feel more energized than ever!
We are currently working on tying up the loose ends in order to prepare for our launch in the fall. We are super excited and cannot wait to provide our customers with beautiful home accessories while making a difference for the Danish society.
Emilie & Marie-Louise // Novaheim