Three inspiring female founders from Aarhus
Ditte Højland and Emma Hostrup – Textile Change
Textile Change was founded in 2020 by Ditte Højland and Emma Hostrup alongside their fellow student Simon H. Rossen. Their technology recycles textiles into new raw material and by that, cut down emissions from producing new textiles and from the transportation of products. A technology that is taking us a step closer to a sustainable and circular future for textiles.
The team developed the idea back in 2019 while studying to become engineers at Aarhus University. Beginning as a hobby, they were experimenting in the lab looking for new and better ways to recycle textiles. And now, Textile Change has won prizes such as the Achievement Award by Grundfos in 2021 and AURA Energy’s Green Prize in 2020.
Ditte Højland’s tip for female founders is to convince yourself that what you have to say is important, even if it does not always feel that way.
“It shouldn’t be confused with putting on a fake facade or excessive self-confidence. I see it as a huge strength to be able to show insecurity, vulnerability, and to ‘work from the heart’. There can easily be weight and relevance to your perspective, even if you do not have all the answers yet.”
She follows up with another tip useful to all founders.
“If someone says they would like to help, spar, hear more about your idea, or create contact – then follow up on it! People usually want to help and if they forget, they are probably just busy – just call again (and again).”
Trine Hansen – Party in a Box
Trine Hansen founded Party in a Box on her own in 2017 and she is currently based in Egaa, outside of Aarhus. Through her webshop, Trine Hansen sells convenience in a box – specifically, decorations for themed parties. Trine Hansen developed the idea for the startup when she realized the stressful process of planning children’s birthday parties. Therefore, Trine Hansen turned a time-consuming project into something as easy as the click of a button.
When it comes to being a woman in the entrepreneur world, Trine Hansen doesn’t find herself being treated differently than her male co-workers. In fact, she feels that people have a lot of respect for her. “I feel very endorsed.” But she points out, that you need a lot of the masculine traits. And that she does not allow herself to be rolled over.
Trine Hansen’s best tip for women dreaming of starting a business is to believe in yourself and not focus on whether you are a woman or a man.
“I think you just get really far with self-confidence.”
She also encourages not to be afraid to look at what the men in the business are doing.
“I think we sometimes scold men and think they come in with elbows first and own it all. But I find it interesting to look at what the men do so well. After all, they do achieve goals that women sometimes don’t. That’s where I say, let’s learn. Let’s look at what they do. And I think part of it is, that men really believe in themselves.”
Mathilde Mackowski – Sinful Group
Mathilde Mackowski founded Sinful back in 2008 together with Tonny Andersen. Scandinavia’s largest webshop for sex toys has left the startup stage long ago, but Mathilde Mackowski’s entrepreneurial journey is worth a mention.
It all started when Mathilde Mackowski and Tonny Andersen recognized, that many sex toy shops easily could seem too vulgar. It sparked the idea of creating a shop that was appealing to the general public. Initially, the pair worked many hours and also had other jobs on the side. But soon, the company started growing rapidly. Now, Sinful Group is based in Højbjerg near Aarhus has webshops in all of Scandinavia, France, and the UK.
Mathilde Mackowski’s tip for entering the startup world is for everyone regardless of gender.
“Follow your dreams and follow the thing that energizes your world. The thing that inspires you. The thing that inspires others. Follow your gut feeling. Never think too much of the title, but rather what energy and joy your job or perhaps non-job give you.”