When do you know a brand has ‘made it’? Is it being adorned lovingly by a celebrity? Is it when you can’t step into a fashion party without being able to count the amount of pieces in the room on both hands? Or is it when it’s a confirmed favourite amongst BURO. editors? Danish brand Ganni checks all these categories, and some. Worn by all types of women, all with distinct individual styles, Ganni is a wardrobe staple for everyone from Beyoncé, to Pippa Middleton, Kendall Jenner and Margot Robbie. And did we mention how it champions sustainability? Oh yes, streets ahead of its competitors, Ganni supports the UN in its drive towards making retail more eco-friendly. And at the head of this brand with its gleaming list of credentials? Ditte Reffstrup, who founded it back in 2009 with her husband Nicolaj. But how does a woman with such an empire organise her life? We get the scoop via her to-do list. Ditte, over to you...
“This is going to sound crazy, but I don’t own a computer. I have an iPad and a smartphone - but I’m really not a tech person. I work a lot with visual lists, images and mood boards and then I have lots of conversations with my team about where we are headed. I have an ongoing list in my head - but it never switches off. I’m way more visual, so have random notes on my phone - but really I take photos of things and screenshot things that remind me of an idea. I use my photo album as a visual notebook of thoughts and ideas. Finding a way that works for you changes the way you work.
Nicolaj, my husband always has a list going. Things on his mind, next steps. I am the opposite. I am in my head. I guess there are cons and pros to both. Writing a list can be really calming - when you put your ideas on pen and paper. On the other hand, lists can feel really trapping if you are creative and want to let your mind run loose.
With three kids under ten, I have had to learn how to be organised. I’d say it’s organised chaos, but I just have to use my time really wisely. I’m quite lucky I work with my husband, we can tag-team picking up the kids and other household admin. Nicolaj and I both bring very different things to the table but we complement each other 200%. I’m all about the creative process and Nicolaj is the business tech mind. We both like a good party and a laugh and we can make fun of ourselves. Not taking yourself too seriously is probably the key to our success in business as well as a couple.
I am so lucky to have three amazing kids and a job where I can work with my husband every day, ultimately they are all I need but… but superficially speaking I don’t feel ‘me’ without my iPhone, my Sophie Bille Brahe earring that Nicolaj gave me for my 30th birthday and my morning cortado. Oh, and my green Converse - I’ve had the same pair since I was 15. I love dancing, it’s my form of yoga. I take care of my skin with facials and clean products. I bike everywhere, it cleanses my mind and keeps me fit. And I try to only check Instagram when it’s absolutely necessary and mostly just when it is work-related - otherwise, I get sucked in and I don’t feel present.
I really trust my gut feeling more than anything. Regardless of whether you have time for a project or not, if you’re heart's not in it and you're not having fun then what's the point? Honestly, Ganni is my personal passion project. I love it and still get such a buzz when I see women in the street wearing our designs. Our Ganni 202020 project is a great example of a passion project. We’re working with all these amazing female talents throughout this year and it gives me so much energy.
Working on upcycling projects with young creatives, set designs with a sustainable dogma - and just the other day we discovered this amazing young girl from NYC who creates artworks out of plastic bags that she weaves together. Within 48 hours we connected and decided on a project that will be showcased in New York with Nordstrom. It’s so empowering to see how fast we can move when we feel inspired by something.
We have seen a change in priorities over the past four or five years. In the beginning, we were all about establishing the brand. Now we are focusing all resources on creating a sense of purpose for those working with us, doing our best every day to be more responsible. We don’t identify as being sustainable, maybe fashion never will be - but we are stubborn about trying hard to be open and transparent about our journey and rethinking how we do things.
I have such a rock star team of women behind me, many who have been here since day one, so it’s easy to stay motivated with them around. We're big dreamers, but I don’t think any of us dared to think it would get this far. I think it’s down to the fact that we’re insecure overachievers. Nothing is ever good enough and we forget to stop, look back and enjoy the moment.
My main piece of advice? Trust your instincts. Just go for it and believe in yourself more. I started out working as a fashion buyer for brands like Bruuns Bazaar and Flying A. I always wanted to be a designer but it just took a bit of time to really go for it.”