We catch up with Hua Hua Copenhagen’s founder, Sofie Baun Schmidt
We love speaking to inspirational business women here at YCB magazine, and this week we had the pleasure of catching up with Sofie Baun Schmidt, founder of the beautiful Scandinavian floral lifestyle brand HuaHua København taking Instagram by storm.
If you’re not already familiar with HuaHua København, let us get you acquainted. Designed in Copenhagen, HuaHua is a lifestyle and fashion brand producing absolutely serene floral accessories and bespoke hoops using dried flowers. These wonderful works of flower art are perfect for those who love bespoke pieces in their home, each one unique and elegant.
We were lucky enough to spend some time chatting all things business, daily routines and professional life with 26 year old Sofie Baun Schmidt, so let’s find out a little more about this truly inspiring businesswoman.
Coffee or tea?
Definitely coffee – I could drink coffee at all hours of the day.
Describe your brand in one sentence?
HuaHua København is a floral universe driven on aesthetics, craftmanship and a desire to celebrate the small things in life.
What inspired the name HuaHua København?
The name HuaHua København was inspired by my love for China. I am majoring in China Studies in one year and I have been inspired by the Chinese aesthetics during my numerous trips and stays in the country in the past eight or so years. Hua translates to “flower”, and by using the Chinese character for flower, I find that I am able to combine my love for China and my passion for floral design.
What led you to set up your own brand and business?
I have always had a feeling that I was supposed to create something and work as my own boss, but I have been struggling finding out exactly which way to go. Having this in mind when I started creating floral design as a hobby, it didn’t take much to go from thought to action and start my business.
How did the idea behind HuaHua København spark?
I was given a bunch of dried flowers from a previous boss and flower artist a while ago. The flowers were just placed in the corner where they were gathering dust, and this led me to wonder if I could use them in a somehow creative way – other than traditional floral art. My friends and family started to take an interest in my creations, which led me to test my idea on Instagram. From there it went pretty quickly, and I decided to get serious about it.
What inspires your creations?
I am usually inspired by the flowers themselves and the people whom I’m making it for, but other than that I seem to get inspired by things like beautiful wall colours, creative people, seasons of the year and whatever pops up during the day.
When creating new hoops, do you ever get a creative block and if so, how do you overcome it?
I often get a creative block – mostly when I have a hard time defining what my customer really wants, but other times without any reason. For me it’s about getting in the zone so that I can create my best work, and when this doesn’t happen, I try to forget the pressure of having to be creative by taking one flower at a time and see where it takes me. Sometimes it takes me somewhere good, and other times I have to redo a thing (or ten) before I’m satisfied.
Who is your customer?
According to Instagram’s definition of my target audience it seems to be young women aging 25-35 who is living in the big cities of Denmark. But really, I think my customer can be anyone who appreciates the beauty of having flowers decorating their home.
What is planned for the future of HuaHua København?
I have a lot planned for HuaHua København. First of all, a launch of my new website is coming up soon, and then I dream of inviting all of my lovely followers to join workshops where they get to create their dream hoop themselves.
What was your career before you started Hua Hua?
I have been a full-time student for the past six years but have had several relevant student jobs during that time. One of them was working with a florist in Copenhagen, which gave me a lot of experience and creative input. This might have kickstarted my love for flowers, but I have always had an affection for creating visual expressions.
Do you run Hua Hua full-time or do you have a job on the side?
I run HuāHuā København alongside being a Masters’ student at China Studies in Copenhagen and working part time at my current student job. I look forward to the day when I can put all my energy into my business, but right now the studies also give me the freedom to have flexible working hours and experiment with new concepts and initiatives.
Take us through a typical day in your life?
As a full-time student and business owner every day is different for me depending on how many orders I have and how much work my study requires, and usually I have to be pretty structured to have the time to get everything done during the day. A typical day would start with me waking up and checking my Instagram for comments and messages. I usually spend the first half an hour to an hour in bed with a cup of coffee checking Instagram and talking to my boyfriend.
Afterwards I check for incoming orders and prepare the post of the day for my social media by taking new photos or editing photos of Hoops. By the time I’m done with this I have almost spent all morning working with photos, researching for inspiration for any special orders or ordering new flowers for my projects. Usually I have to drag myself to open up books and articles and start studying as I could keep working with HuāHuā København all day.
I spend the afternoon studying or working at my part time job, and during late afternoon it’s time to create and finish up hoops, and then pack them for shipment. I usually spend my evenings taking a long walk or cooking. It’s important for me that I get some me-time which mostly includes cooking good food (another passion of mine).
What is your favourite part of running Hua Hua?
My favourite part is definitely creating Hoops based on the individual wishes from customers. It is so satisfying to be able to give a customer something completely personal. Other than that, I love to work on new projects and ideas when I have the time. I find that it gives me energy to work on something just because I feel like it or get inspired by something.
How long does each hoop take you to make?
It depends on the size and kind of the Hoop. When I’m being super productive and filled with inspiration, I am able to make a Mini Hoop (10 cm.) in about one hour, but larger hoops and letter-hoops can take up to 4 hours to make.
What advice would you give readers who want to start their own brand?
Do it before you’re ready! You will never get the feeling of being ready to show your work or that your business is perfect. It’s about choosing that it’s good enough for now and that the rest will come with time. I started my business because I couldn’t help but do it – you will never feel 100% ready but do it anyway.
What was the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s never too late to change your path!
The work/life balance; is it a myth or is it achievable?
It’s definitely a struggle to keep a work/life balance but I seem to find inspiration at all times during the day – both in my everyday life, after working hours and when I’m with my friends and family. Why not just embrace the fact that you’ll always have work (or any other important thing in life) in the back of your head most of the time and use it in the most productive way.
Thank you, Sofie, for taking the time to chat with us here at YCB, we’re feeling truly inspired by your incredible worth ethic! We can’t wait to watch the future of HuaHua København unfold, it looks like an exciting journey ahead for this unique and beautiful brand.
Copenhagen based? Keep an eye on Sofie’s Instagram for fun upcoming workshops where you can learn to make your very own flower art!