Pretty florals, polka dots and lace prints have become the signature of Danish brand, GreenGate and are forever a favourite with the Houseologists, so we were thrilled to catch up with GreenGate founder Mona Bjorn Christiansen to find out more about the inspirations behind her nostalgic designs…
Q: Where did GreenGate begin?
I started my career working in marketing and PR for H&M. After having children, I realised how difficult it was to have such a demanding job so I started freelancing as a retail agent for British companies like Jane Churchill. I developed a love for textiles and colour and after getting to know the textile business, I realised there was a gap in the market for stylish, homely and affordable fabrics; as most of them were quite expensive and sometimes really difficult to use.
Soon after, alongside my husband Jesper, we created the initial GreenGate collection in 2000 and made a small textile collection which, from the start, was very successful. At the time there was a trend for flowers, checks and spots and we were very lucky, the timing was perfect. From then on we started to exhibit, at first in Scandinavia and Germany and France, it was great to see that the pieces were liked all over Europe. And now our children work with us to continue to grow the brand today.
Q: Where does your passion for design come from?
What made you want to create your own pieces? I was travelling a lot as an agent and I really felt that there was such a gap in the market for fabrics that are easy to use that can be easily interchangeable depending on your mood or the season.
I wanted my own pieces to fit seamlessly into family life. Finding a work, life balance is so important to me and I think it's really important to enjoy precious moments with the people you love most. For me, GreenGate products make my most cherished moments even more enjoyable; from family trips to the seaside or lazy afternoons surrounded by blooming summer flowers in the gardens, the collections are designed to bring joy to the everyday and set the scene for the most treasured memories you make.
Q: How would you describe the GreenGate look?
Our look was very Scandinavian from the start and was very bright and girly. But now, as the company grows, the designs are expanding. In the beginning there were pieces for the beach, garden and children's room but now we fill the whole house and it's a little bit more grown up. We develop five stories for every collection and have different girls in mind when we create each story. We also go to fashion shows to see what colours are in fashion, we don't always follow the trends but it's nice to know what's going on.
Q: Where do your inspirations come from?
We work a lot with the moodboards and that's how we start the collections. We get inspired from travelling, magazines and we listen to our customer's too to find out what they'd like to see in our collections. Recently we invested in some old fabric books too. The patterns are over 100 years old and all of the patterns are illustrated and painted by hand. We often look through these captivating prints when we start a new collection and we become more inspired every time.
Q: How do you want people to feel when they introduce a GreenGate product to their home?
All of the products have a wonderful cosy feel about them and so I'd love to think that through our products, people can take some time out of their busy lives to stop and savour the moment a little longer. Every GreenGate product is steeped in nostalgia and we often find that when people first hold a GreenGate product, they are immediately reminded of the nostalgia of childhood. Some people remember a dress they wore as a child or something their grandmother loved to use in her kitchen. We also like to give people the feeling that they have time to stay in the kitchen: cooking, baking and enjoying themselves.
Q: Can you tell us about your personal interior style?
I love using our textiles when I'm decorating. I like the fabrics that I use every day, such as tea towels, napkins, tablecloths, to be beautiful. It's difficult to choose a favourite print but I think that the Lace design is so beautiful. We have used this in our new house. I think we really hit the trend as lace is everywhere in fashion right now too, it's very much our style but it's modern too. I love the more subtle grey tones too, it can be good if there is a man in the house as they aren't always comfortable with too much pink!
Q: What do you love most about working with Houseology?
Houseology really understand GreenGate through new eyes. The website is an inspirational interior design destination brimming with beautiful products and I find it really inspiring to see how the Houseologists work with our products. I also noticed that we've proved a hit with your guest bloggers too!