"To us, it is important that our products are handmade and made to last by using quality materials
and working with skilled artisans using generations of knowledge
to create uniquely handcrafted products."
With a passion for design and craftsmanship Pernille and Pierre wanted to learn how to backstrap weave directly
from skilled artisans and came across a local foundation that offered full day courses with artisan master weavers.
This course is where Collective-Stories came to life. A full day of weaving and laughter with talented artisans was all it took for them to know that they wanted to work with them and share their talents with the world.
As passionate designers they wanted to offer products with a contemporary feel and timeless appeal, but embrace
the traditional skills and knowledge from artisans from not only Guatemala but around the world. They spent lots of time learning the possibilities and the restrains that comes from the art of backstrap weaving, brocade and hand dying natural materials. These are all features that we at Collective-Stories have come to love and are the heart and soul of our products.
From our adventure in Guatemala we have set out to explore traditional craftsmanship around the world to bring you a variety of products all handmade by local artisans and help local communities by providing artisans with opportunities for economic independence and strengthen their entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Collective-Stories was founded by Pernille Brodersen and Pierre Luc after a trip to Guatemala, where they were inspired by the country's beautiful handcrafted textiles and impressed by how fundamental weaving still is to the Maya culture today.
Pierre Luc // Co-Founder
My love for creating products started at a very young age when I was sketching planes & cars with my brother and was dreaming of what I could build with my dad’s tools. I realised that it wasn’t that straight forward to translate drawings into reality, which led me to study product design – this resulted in working for some of the most renowned brands in the luxury and sportswear industry. I find the creative process really interesting and have been lucky to work with, and learn from, various experts along the way.
Following our trip to Guatemala we realised that we could unite our knowledge for products and business development with skilful artisans’ craftsmanship to create design-led homeware products that we would have in our own home. Since then, every time we have met new artisans, touched the natural materials they use, discovered how they dye, their traditional ways of weaving, stitching or assembling, it is like being a child again when I was excited by all the possibilities in front of me.
Having worked closely with factories over the years, I have a great understanding of the impact that manufacturing products can have on our environment. It is very important for me that through collective-stories we are addressing some of these issues. To be fully sustainable, one could argue that we shouldn’t produce anything, but we believe that there are definitely measures that can be taken to improve current manufacturing processes for homeware products. Ensuring that workers are paid fairly and work in safe conditions should be the standard for any business. For us, it is also important that our products are handmade and made to last by using quality materials and working with skilled artisans using generations of knowledge to create uniquely handcrafted products. For that reason we only create small batches and some might find our price tags high, however this is simply the price it costs to have handmade products made by people who are paid fairly for their skills.
Pernille Brodersen // Co-Founder
My interest in design started while I was working in a small interior shop in Copenhagen, while i was studying at Copenhagen Business School. The store focused on nordic design and I ended up spending half of my salary buying some of the new things that came in every week, which made my small apartment a playground for trying out different interior styles, some more successful than others... My interest in design, art and architecture grew and when I finished university I ended up only applying to jobs at design-led businesses. I was fortunate to get a job at a British design brand in London, which gave me ,and still does, give me the privilege to work with contemporary design everyday.
Both Pierre and I enjoy exploring different types of art forms and we attend all kinds of creative workshops to learn and have fun and often have a side project in the making at home. I think we both enjoy working with our hands and making something out of nothing. When we were planning our holiday to Guatemala, we were researching if we could do any creative workshop there, as we thought it would be a great experience learning a new skill from the locals. We found a backstrap course, which turned out to be a great experience. It wasn’t easy, but the artisans were so patient and helpful that we left the workshop with a whole new appreciation for craftsmanship. They made it look easy, and I can tell you it definitely wasn’t!
I think i always had a strong opinion about the concept of what is fair and ended up writing my masters dissertation about fair trade. It is unfortunately not as black and white as one could hope, and i think the same can be said for sustainability. I don’t think that there is a perfect solution to either unfortunately, but I don’t think that should keep us from trying to do better and change the ways that can be improved. We are all humans, and we want to ensure that we are doing our best to have a positive effect on the makers. It has to be a collaborative process that benefits all parties to ensure long-term success.
"It has to be a collaborative process that benefits all parties to ensure long-term success."