Creative minds have a gift of seeing things others tend to miss
Bergthora Gudnadottir studied at The Icelandic academy of the arts and graduated with a major in Textile design in 1999. In 2005 Bergthora founded her own clothing brand "Farmers Market Iceland" together with her husband, musician Joel Palsson. Joel had been working as a freelance musician for over 12 years and was therefore used to work within the creative fields.
What do you do and how did you get started within the creative industries?
I started off with my own brand where I designed a small collection of clothes in Icelandic wool, but shortly after I got an opportunity to lead the design department of an old Icelandic outdoor brand which I did for 6 years. That was quite an experience. In such a company you really need both creative minds as well as other talented people in other fields in order to run a successful company.
Why did you start your own creative company?
At the time we started our brand we felt a bit tired of the "globalization" that seemed to be the alfa and omega of all things and we felt the urge to make an icelandic brand that was more "close to home" mirroring our roots and environment. So, I designed a small collection to start with made up of hand knitted sweaters for women, men and a few pieces for kid's as well and had it produced.
The basic idea was to utilize one of the most organic materials available, the unique Icelandic wool, along with other raw natural materials such as silk, cotton, linen and leather, to create a line of multifunctional clothing and accessories.
Now, six years later we have a quite big collection of clothes and we produce around 40.000 pieces per year selling both here in Iceland as well as in some design shops here and there around the world. The company is 100% ours (Joel's and mine) and we are totally independent financially. For us this has been really important since all our savings has gone into building our brand the way we planned from the start, and have been very careful not to grow too fast.
What can the traditional industries learn from the creative industries?
In my opinion it is very important that both creative and traditional fields work together especially nowadays when the world is faced with totally new challenges economically as well as environmentally. It has never been as important to come up with new ideas, new companies and new possibilities for people to work with. Creative minds have a gift of seeing things others tend to miss or ignore in life and have the knowledge of working out new ideas. However it is not always the creative people that are best in e.g. selling their ideas or running a company and organizing things, so in those jobs you need other kinds of skilled people. I really like the thought that our small design company has created quite a lot of jobs for others then ourselves, both actual jobs at our company as well as other derived jobs all around us.
Why do you work within the creative industries?
What I find fascinating of working within the creative fields is that there are really no limits to what you can do, the only boundaries are peoples minds. We (Joel and my self) have always been strongly tied to the music-, design- and art scene here in Iceland so working within that environment is our normal life.