It's hard to believe that it's been half a decade since Helena Carlberg and Anna Lukins, founded The Ode To. They've come a long way since their early days of FINE-COMBING flea markets and thrift stores for hidden gems, and they're thrilled to be able to share their journey with you today.
In this interview, we'll be sitting down with Helena and Anna to discuss their experiences as female entrepreneurs in the art world and to learn more about their vision for The Ode To. We're excited to hear about some of their favorite moments from the past five years and to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process that goes into curating their collection.
"OUR AMBITION WAS TO CONNECT PEOPLE WITH ARTISTS IN THE DIGITAL SPACE. FIVE YEARS LATER I THINK WE'RE PRETTY GREAT AT IT."
How did the idea for The Ode To come about?
We’re old friends and our common interest in creativity brought us together. We simply love art but never felt at home in the traditional gallery world. At the same time, we found most of our inspiration online, but when we wanted to click and buy it was nowhere to be found.
In our previous careers we both have been working close with the creative community, and we know how brilliant they are but also saw their everyday struggles. On the other hand, we noticed this unsatisfiable interest in original art. Our ambition has been to bring these worlds together and connect people with artists in the digital space. Five years later I think we’re pretty great at it.
"ONE BIG MILESTONE WAS HIRING OUR FIRST TEAM MEMBER. TODAY WE CAN WALK INTO THE OFFICE AND THERE'S PEOPLE THERE, THAT FEELS DIFFICULT TO GRASP SOMETIMES."
What's your favourite milestone SO FAR?
There is a long list of firsts that makes us happy looking back. Anything from the first web shop visit, Instagram like, press feature, award won, opening of a showroom, US launch, to Facetiming with the Swedish Prince. One big milestone was hiring our first team member. Today we can walk into the office and there’s people there, that feels difficult to grasp sometimes.
"WE'RE HERE TO DISRUPT, DEMOCRATIZE AND CHANGE THE ART INDUSTRY AND THE ENTREPRENEURIAL LANDSCAPE FOR THE BETTER."
What are some mistakes you wish you could have avoided?
It would be the overall naivety, but it’s also required otherwise we probably wouldn’t have done this. The biggest struggle is the learning that hard work is not enough. We’ve always though that hard work pays off but as a female founding duo we’re a minority and it doesn’t really matter how great results we deliver; we still won’t get the same opportunities as our male counterparts. At the same time it functions as a major motivator. We’re here to disrupt, democratize and change the art industry and the entrepreneurial landscape for the better.
"THERE'S THIS UNDERLYING CONFIDENCE THAT 'WE GOT THIS', ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, BUT WE WILL WORK THAT OUT TOO."
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BIGGEST "AHA-MOMENT"
Sometimes it strikes us, this is our job?! Today we’re entrepreneurs and leaders who have built a business and brand that is appreciated and liked by many – that insight is sometimes difficult to wrap our heads around and awesome at the same time.
There’s also this feeling that we can do anything. We’ve learnt so much and today nothing can be thrown at us that we can’t solve. There is this underlying confidence that we got this, anything can happen, but we will work that out too.
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE NEXT FIVE YEARS FOR THE ODE TO?
Our ambition is that The Ode To has played an active part in transforming the art industry for the better and that we are considered a key player in an artist’s career. We’re selling art in more markets from more artists and maybe we have hired a dude!
MEET THE ARTISTS
As The Ode To continues to grow and thrive in the art world, we have had the privilege of collaborating with a diverse range of talented artists over the past five years. These artists have not only helped to curate our collection but have also enriched their own artistic careers in the process. We are proud to share their insights on how working with The Ode To has impacted their artistry and overall professional growth.