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Perspectives

Pearlfisher Copenhagen – a brand of brothers

Jonathan Ford, Founding Partner & Chief Creative Officer

Today is my birthday and I get the best of presents, which is the birth of something, very special: Pearlfisher Copenhagen has opened today.

Last night we hosted a fantastic launch event on a sunny and very cool, redeveloped shipbuilding waterside area of Copenhagen, in our new house – a home to a very special brethren of creative minds waving the Pearlfisher flag in our new port of call.

Since we announced our intentions to open what is after London and New York, our third creative presence, we’ve had many a compliment but understandably some people have askd: “of all places, why Copenhagen?”

Well, I can understand that phrases like “strategic expansion, growth objectives in developing markets blah blah blah… ” might lead others to consider different cities as a base to extend, maybe on business grounds first and creative standards second. But we don’t think like that here.

At Pearlfisher, independent of location, we look for a like-minded potential for creative and design quality, and even those with the most scant knowledge of Denmark will know that this is a culture defined so much by design that it is everywhere. So to me the “why Copenhagen?” question is a bit like asking, “Why would you open a high quality sushi restaurant in Tokyo?” Ah so!

Having established then that an environment, which fosters high design standards, is one in which we want to grow, perhaps the better question to ask is: Where did the idea come from?

Like all good ideas, inspiration can come from moments of randomness, ignited by the simplest of things – in this case a bonding of friendship. Jesper Von Wieding a leading and strategic creative Danish figurehead is taking the helm of this venture, and the idea to launch Pearlfisher in Copenhagen can be traced back to special moment when another star forged this idea out of a bond that now burns bright, and he knows when that was.

So friendship is the cornerstone of our expansion, which also flies in the face of current conventional thinking. Many a time I’ve heard the phrase; “never go into business with your friends”, but whilst I understand that things can be risked by doing so, it also seems counterintuitive to me. If you have shared skills, aspirations, and implicit trust – plus something contrasting and complimentary – then friendship can actually be the bond that strengthens and liberates opportunities. Also on those not so bright occasions it allows you to square up to adversity, united in arms.

I feel this because I’ve been in business for nearly 25 years with two partners who I consider to be best friends too, and together we’ve built something that may not be perfect but is very special. I often visualise Pearlfisher as tall ship, crewed and cared for by the many talents on board and who sail us on through thick and thin.

Mike and Karen, my co-partners are navigators and explorers respectively and in many respects the new Danish team come on board as partners or brothers alike. Alongside the captaincy of Jesper, we have Thomas Kjær, an award-winning brand design creative director, with an eye out for crafted detail, Tobias Wandrup, maker and creator of some of Denmark’s finest industrial design, Tim Lacombe, a path finding strategist and last but by no means least, the experienced-beyond-his-years, David Ramskov who will be taking the wheel as MD to steer the Scandinavian channels.

For me, looking out over the brilliant waters to a beautifully sculpted city horizon, I have a great feeling – that this extended brand of brothers will continue to do great work and wave the Pearlfisher flag. And I know that because of this – that inside the word Copenhagen, is the word ‘open’ – and for design business in Scandinavia, Pearlfisher is.

Originally published on Jonathan’s LinkedIn series, Something for the Weekend.

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