Pernille Hvam Pedersen and Ninna Rahbek Schou

‘Modern boheme and ultra feminine’. That is how the two young entrepreneurs, Pernille Hvam Pedersen and Ninna Rahbek Schou describe their brand, Ellies & Ivy. What began with a single hairband, has turned into a successful business with both accessories and clothing that is being sold in more than 50 carefully selected stores in both Denmark and Germany.

29 year old Pernille Hvam Pedersen is an educated purchaser and Ninna Rahbek Schou aged 37 is an educated designer. They met as colleagues in a big clothing company, but one day they decided to do it by themselves.

"It all actually started with me sewing a hairband for myself. The attention it got was overwhelming and people wanted to buy it. Suddenly I had sold the first ones to a clothing store in Aarhus, but I was frustrated because I could not see how I would learn everything about entrepreneurship on my own", Ninna Rahbek Schou explains about the beginning of the brand.

Ninna Rahbek Schou

Pernille Hvam Pedersen who also had been thinking about the independent worklife, was therefore as sent from heaven.

"I simply asked Ninna if I could join her. I asked because Ninna is the most wonderful person, but also because she knows quality. It is never coincidental what is made from by her hands", Pernille Hvam Pedersen explains.

Ellies and Ivy - the new brand

Without hesitation, one became two and Ellies & Ivy was made. But the two women quickly realized that even with four shoulders to carry the weight of the company, it is hard to be a start-up business. In the beginning they had to settle with a stockroom in a shower cubicle and a sewing room in the guest bedroom, and even though the Ellies & Ivy products radiates glamour and high fashion, life as entrepreneurs has been far from that world.

"We have brought lunch boxes with us on the ferry to Zealand and has dragged clothing racks all over Copenhagen from store to store in pouring rain. For a long time everything was kept on a minimum", says Ninna Rahbek Schou and Pernille Hvam Pedersen continues:

"But we have also continuously been selective in our selection of stores and it has been a challenge to say no to stores, that were not on the path we wanted to take."

Pernille Hvam Pedersen

Sustainable beauty

For Ellies & Ivy beauty and quality is everything. The two owners has chosen a style in which they use Indian vintage sarees of pure silk or cotton, and each make up bag, dress or bag is unique - even though it demands extra work.

"We want to make something so beautiful, that people cannot help themselves and need to buy it. It has to be a mix of aesthetics, practicality and of course profitable, Ninna Rahbek Schou explains. The quality is everything. We handpick all sarees and no matter how big we become as a company, we will still be the ones handpicking each silk sari", Pernille Hvam Pedersen states.

The two entrepreneurs therefore do not care much to cheap mass production. But that all styles from Ellies & Ivy are unique and made of vintage sarees is more of a aesthetic choice than due to environmental concerns.

"Sustainability does matter, because it adds something special to the product. We are not rescuing the planet by making a make up bag of vintage sarees, but we have taken a stand. We like that you don’t need to make something new, in order to create something new", Ninna Rahbek Schou explains.

Article by Dorthea Dittmer