Stine Dulong | Episode 201
The SkandiHus brand is inspired by a love for Scandinavian design in which beauty is radiated through light colours, the ample use of natural materials, minimalism and functionality. Like many Scandinavian designers before her, Stine believes that quality design should be affordable, stylish and relevant to the modern human being by providing minimal distraction and maximum functionality and beauty. Stine both throws and hand-builds her pieces. It is very important to her to minimise her impact on the world in which she lives, so she reuses materials whenever possible and many of her pieces are made from reclaimed waste clay from her students and fellow studio members. Before becoming a full time ceramic artist, Stine worked in London, England as a lawyer, never quite feeling fulfilled or happy. She says that quitting her job to follow her dreams was the best decision that she ever made.
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What’s the first thing someone should do if they want to start a business?
I think they need to write a business plan. I was given this advice by an individual at a networking event. When he said that my heart sank and I thought ‘I don’t want to do a business plan.’ But I went home and wrote a business plan and it was the best thing I ever did.
How important is it to be a corporation rather than a sole proprietor?
I don’t think it makes that much of a difference if I’m honest. The reason I started a limited liability company was in case anything failed the company wouldn’t be mine. So I was kind of legally separated from my company.
How important is it to get an accountant to help you do taxes ?
I’ve gotten an accountant and I have from day one. But I haven’t needed her that much. It’s been great to have her at times that I have had doubt. I would probably recommend to have somebody there to help give advice. Because it is really important to get it right.
How important is it for you to have artistic photos?
I think that it is almost as important to me that my photographs are beautiful as my work is. Basically when I post my photographs on my website or on Instagram, that’s a window into my products. That’s what people are going to see. If the photographs don’t reflect what the work looks like then of course I’m going to attract the right kind of customer that might like my products. And I think It’s a way of imagining what those pieces would look like in their house.
What is the significance of your followers on Instagram?
I think that when I got into the thousands more than anything it was a confidence boost for me. It spurs me on to continue making. Cause it was instant feed back that there were some people out there who liked what I was making. I think as an artist you’re sitting in your studio making and you have no idea if people are going to like it or want to buy it. In that sense Instagram is an excellent tool for testing the market.
How did you build your following?
There are a couple of tricks with Instagram that I’ve been using. I always make sure to respond to people who have commented on my photos. I think a lot about what time of day I post my photos. I try to post when people are on their way to work, on their lunch break, and when people are one their way home from work. Because when I had a full time office job those were the times that I would check Instagram.
If you could only work on one marketing platform which would it be and why?
It would be Instagram because a lot of my customers and retailers have found me through Instagram. To me that’s clear proof that it works well as a marketing tool.