Danish watch and accessories brand Mermaid Stories is inspired by creative women, cool Copenhageners and creative souls. Each of their timepieces has its own name and character, referencing a Danish woman by whom the watch was inspired.
The watches are light, sleek and playful; a perfect watch for those who aren’t sure they’re into watches.
We spoke with co-founder and Creative Director Victoria Weber about Mermaid Stories and what kind of research goes into starting a watch brand:
Tell us about the inspiration for Mermaid Stories
Mermaid Stories was founded to create accessories that not only look nice, but also have a lot of personality and bring joy to their owners. The studio was born out of the love for Scandinavian modern design with the addition of feminine details. For us, luxuriant quality is really important. We think that when you buy one of our products, it should become your long-term favorite. The thought and mission behind Mermaid Stories is to design objects of beauty, and to deliver what we call a “confetti feeling” – meaning that we really care about the packaging and the holistic brand experience.
What was the process of starting your company like?
We launched our watch collection in November 2016, but of course there were many things that had to be taken care of before that. There’s all the administrative parts of founding a company. The design and product development took about a year; there were many details for every of the watch.
For the leather, we had to look at many, many samples. I travelled until I found the right one in Germany. It was clear very early on that not only the product, but also the packaging and a seamless online order experience would be extremely important for us. So we spent a lot of time on the wrapping, the colors, the scent and generally making sure everything looks beautiful. We were focusing just as much on creating our universe as on the products themselves. We are so happy that we have many customers – “mermaids”, as we call them – who now buy our watches as a gift and refer us to friends.
When we launched, it started with a webshop only, but after the first few fairs were very successful, we saw that people liked to touch our watches. It was great for them to feel the special vegetable tanned leather, which is much softer than many traditionally tanned ones, and to see how the different models would look on their wrist. So this spring, we decided to also sell the watches through physical and other online stores. Right now, we are present in more than a dozen shops and the number is growing.
Why watches? What is it about timepieces that inspires you?
During my first years in Copenhagen, I noticed that many of the women I found very stylish and well-dressed did not wear watches. But they liked other jewelry! So I inquired why that was the case. What I found out was that that many of them couldn’t identify with the heritage or very male brands on the market. So at Mermaid Stories, the angle we take is different. Instead of a very technical watch, we want to look at the poetic and dreamy aspect of time. The mermaid on the back of our watches, which is drawn by the young Danish artist Mathilde Friis Olsen, embodies this.
Another important thing for the women I spoke to during the research phase was comfort, something I had not thought of before. It turned out that they did not like the feeling of wearing a watch. Too heavy, the step was too stiff, too “sweaty,” as they put it.
As an answer to that, we designed our watches to be very light, with super soft vegetable tanned leather straps that develop a nice patina, smell great and adapt to your wrist right from the start.
Tell us about your sourcing practices for both the watch and strap. Where do the materials you use come from, and how have you come to find those sources?
For the straps, we only use vegetable tanned leather and have managed to get about half of it certified as organic. As mentioned, it was actually quite difficult the quality and texture we wanted, and we are currently working on increasing this percentage of organic leather as much as possible. At the moment, we work with leather suppliers from Germany. Our watch movements come from Japanese Seiko, who have an amazing commitment to quality.
The name Mermaid Stories is so unique; tell us about it!
When it all started, we had the question: is it possible to connect Scandinavian simplicity with dreamy, and even philosophical notes? Our name describes the core of what we do. It includes both the love to Copenhagen, to minimalism and the details, the playfulness and the magic touch, and the stories that lie beneath the obvious.
The design of our logo reflects our love for minimalism-meet. magic. If you look closer, you recognize art déco elements mixed with the cleanness and simplicity of Scandinavian chic.
What is your perception of Scandinavian style or aesthetic?
Many people think that Scandiinavian chic always has to be this clean, simple aesthetic. But there are so many different styles these days. In between the super-simple and the more bohemian ends of the spectrum, you can find exciting brands and styles for many tastes. This makes the Scandinavian fashion and design scene so dynamic!
Do you believe Mermaid Stories fits into this aesthetic? Why or why not?
With our “urban poetry” aesthetic, we try to work at the intersection of minimalism and magic. While being inspired by Scandinavian style, we want to add feminine details that create a dreamy touch.
What’s next for Mermaid Stories?
Our first watch collection was only the beginning. We are dreaming big! The vision is to create an entire Mermaid Stories universe, to develop more accessories. The next products are already in the making…
Shop the collection from Mermaid Stories!