Recently signed as CEO at By Malene Birger and quite freshly new to the city of Copenhagen, Ellen Dixdotter is busy between exciting meetings, and trying to explore the famous Danish ‘hygge’ as much as possible. But if there was a Swedish hygge we are pretty sure you could find the origin of it in Österlen, in the summer house of Ellen and Jacob, and their children Ava, 6, and August, 3.
INTERVIEWED BY KArolina borg. PHOTOGRAPHED BY nils odier/Agent BAUER.
Hello Ellen, how are things?
“Good! Even though it’s Tuesday. I am not a fan of Tuesdays, February or two o’clock. When that combo strikes – stay away. But having that said, I’m perfectly fine almost all the other time of the year!”
How do you spend your time nowadays?
“Just signed as the new CEO at By Malene Birger so these days my calendar is crammed with meetings. But very exciting meetings with way too many cups of coffee. I’m also trying to explore the city and to chase the famous danish “hygge” as much as I can!”
Congrats on your new job. Tell us about your vision.
“My vision is to create a brand that delivers a sustainable and unique offer within our heritage of being ‘contemporary bohos’. I want to build a modern company that stands for inclusivity and where creativity and entrepreneurship is the guide to growth.”
Who are you?
“Always a tricky question to answer about yourself. I’m a very dedicated and passionate person – in everything I do. At home, at work, with the people I meet and surround myself with.”
Tell us about your move from Stockholm to Copenhagen.
“Life has become more concentrated and focused now in a way. After 10 years in Stockholm, with two kids, a full-time job and a part-owned restaurant, I had a very hectic social life. With the move to Copenhagen my every day life is more focused and, in a way, calmer. And the relationships I have is mainly through my job, since I have the pleasure of working with the best people in the world. So, here life is concentrated like within a bubble.”
Your summer house is amazing. Can you tell us about the journey?
“It feels very arrogant to say that this was a spontaneous purchase, and it’s not that we were financially equipped for spontaneous house buying. But this old place, even in terrible shape, instantly felt like a friend. And coming from the crazy Stockholm real estate market it kind of felt like it was almost for free. Almost. So during these two first years of owning this little gem we have spent thousands of hours chalking walls, changing windows and shopping in fleamarkets to create our version of a humble and cozy paradise.”
Do you have any advise on how to create a relaxed yet stylish environment?
“It’s all about the color palette and the textures. Make sure to find a balance and a harmony without losing the warm and personal vibe. I actually try to only buy nice pieces, regardless if it’s a kitchen towel or a frying pan. You can always make an aesthetic decision; it doesn’t need to be more expensive. I also buy almost everything vintage, if things feel too perfect or new, I get uncomfortable.
“It feels very arrogant to say that this was a spontaneous purchase, and it’s not that we were financially equipped for spontaneous house buying. But this old place, even in terrible shape, instantly felt like a friend.”
What makes you smile?
“Life is all about jokes and conversation. Fill your days with it, dare self distance and tell stories, laugh at other´s and make time for your friends.
“I can easily get absent-minded if someone is boring in a conversation. On a bad day, the time limit I allow before judging that person can be terribly short. What happens is that I find myself thinking about what to cook for dinner or an idea for an upcoming project, and mentally leave the room.”
What are your boundaries?
“Limitations and boundaries aren’t really my thing, so I constantly feel I’m worth it all. It’s a bit problematic, and expensive – but I also feel that everyone else is constantly worth it all, so I’m still a pretty pleasant partner and friend to hang out with. I hope.”
What is motherhood to you?
“A complete ‘I give up’ perspective. In a good way. And a distanced viewpoint on almost everything. It has also brought a bottomless fear of death. The first time with Ava, my oldest, was everything but happiness. I was just terrified most of the time. And a bit pissed off that no one had told me the dark side of parenthood and the anxiety that hit me, which luckily faded away after some months. With my second child it was luckily something completely different.”☮