I am Terese Alstin, 35 years old, industrial designer and entrepreneur from Sweden, one of the two founders of Hövding – Airbag for Cyclists. I’ve spent the last ten years developing a product that people thought was impossible and building a successful company and brand.
In February this year I left the company to start a new business on my own. After being told ’No’ by male ”experts” a few times too many, I decided to launch a new brand called NO SIR – showcasing Kickass Female Designers . No Sir is a commercial platform in the field of interior design including an independent online store, a permanent showroom in Malmö, Sweden, and a pop-up shop that will go on tour and appear in different cities in Europe. The range is an exclusive selection of emerging designers mixed with an exciting edit of established brands.
Design: Anitha Schulman
This might sound like a cliché but it’s not. There’s nothing as inspiring as working with creative people who want to change the world and make an imprint by creating things. And my own experience of how tough it can be to make it as a female entrepreneur makes this project very close to my heart.
Planet Lamp, Design by Mette Schelde
The design industry – like many others – is very male dominated. Female and male designers don’t share the same business opportunities. Laziness, old habits, prejudice and systematic exclusion stand in the way of a level playing field.
Cashmere Veil Beanie, Design by Bernstock Speirs
Female students dominate the design educations, but unfortunately this doesn’t translate into carriers. If you take a look at the designers that the big international brands employ, the gender balance is very askew. Women rarely become appointed as design geniuses in the same way that men do. A successful product designed by a woman may be referred to as a lucky shot rather than drawn from a talent. Sadly in a subjective field like design it’s very easy and devastatingly effective for decision-makers to raise arguments like ”She’s not as talented”.
Kristjana S Williams
Starting No Sir was a way for me to make myself independent from the system and hierarchy. I make the decisions, I chose the people I work with and I’m free to speak my mind. I have the power to influence and make a change.
Not only did I become independent, I also became part of a very powerful community. I believe that women helping women plays a really important role in the pursuit of equality. In a world where most leading positions are held by men competition easily grows between women, thinking that we need to fight each other for those rare and desired opportunities. But the solution is the opposite. Together we become stronger. The connection I have with the designers I work with is quite special. There is a mutual understanding and an effortless humility and acknowledgement between us, creating a perfect basis for collaboration. Just as destructive as being underestimated or ignored can be, equally empowering is being supported by others.
Design: Kristjana S Williams
I chose to include female/male design duos in the concept. The reason is simple. No Sir is about showcasing women designers – not about excluding men. No Sir is my contribution to more equality and diversity in the design business and a wider range of alternatives on the market, allowing customers a freedom of choice.
It’s a tribute to all female designers who, on top of being innovative, creating amazingly unique things and running their companies, must fight for recognition and prove themselves over and over again. Thanks for being my inspiration. You’re all rock stars in my book.
Terese Alstin, Founder Hövding & No Sir