Wood Wood is a contemporary fashion and lifestyle brand that was founded in 2002 and is based in Copenhagen. In this interview, RLI sits down with Co-Founder Brian SS Jensen to discuss how the company has evolved across the last 19 years and how they will continue to move forward in the coming months.
A sub-culturally founded lifestyle brand which evolved around graffiti and ‘90s street culture, Wood Wood’s collections have reflected influences from sports, art, music and various eras of youth culture since its inception. Balancing expression and function, the business is best described as contemporary streetwear combined with a strong sports component.
Currently the company operates five stores in Denmark; four of these are in Copenhagen whilst the other is in Aarhus. Along with these stores they operate flagship sites in Berlin, Germany and London, UK and an online store.
While the company has of course had to adapt to changing market conditions in the wake of Covid-19, Jensen argues that the business is relatively flexible, their key objectives haven’t changed and that while stores have been closed, they have taken the opportunity to focus on the digital side without taking their eye off of the physical store portfolio.
“Internal communication has been an essential factor throughout, and it still is. Customers have remained patient and respectful, and whilst stores have been closed, there have been more frequent visitors online,” explains Brian SS Jensen, Co-Founder of Wood Wood. “Immediately upon reopening, we didn’t see the usual amount of customers, but as everyone has become accustomed to the new normal, we have experienced more traffic physically. However, this hasn’t limited digital engagement.”
The latest store opening from Wood Wood came last September, when they opened a Life Store in Copenhagen, which includes everything from outdoor cooking gear to Finnish furniture classics, Japanese ceramics and wooden toys. This launch saw the community of Copenhagen come together and the opening proved the strength of a physical presence and face-to-face interaction, explains Jensen.
This year will see the introduction of pre-collections as a means to ensure timely relevance. They are looking to release products that arrive when they are needed rather than dictating future needs. They are also looking into collaborating with people and organisations that can add something to their existing universe.
“We develop our fabrics in-house as a means to ensure the utmost quality. Simultaneously, we have a strong tradition for print, and we are always looking at new ways to incorporate graphics. That way, our practices remain relevant and set the tone for what’s to come,” Jensen comments.
Social media has become an incredibly important tool for retailers in recent years, and a company’s online presence has only become more important since the onset of Covid-19. Wood Wood is fully aware of its importance and that it allows them to communicate and exchange knowledge with customers and industry peers from all across the world. Jensen believes that it is also an outlet for research which benefits customers and companies alike. “As a brand, you can create a narrative. Still, the audience interprets the story in multiple ways depending on cultural heritage, and that is a beautiful representation of what social media is.”
Jensen feels that customer loyalty is derived from interaction with customers and within its close-knit communities in Copenhagen, Aarhus, London and Berlin. Since its inception, Wood Wood has remained authentic and present with physical stores, allowing for conversation and activation in a broader sense. “A brand universe and a digital presence can be built, but it is the personality and the connections that set the foundation for loyalty,” comments the Co-Founder.
So what does Jensen consider to be the key drivers behind the success to date? “Authenticity for sure; I and Karl-Oskar Olsen remain deeply invested in day-to-day activities and each collection and the continuous development testifies to that. We have learnt and grown since 2002, and the brand has grown along with us. The growth of the company occurs naturally without much outside influence and that’s the key to authenticity.”
Not wanting to recreate past successes, the phrase ‘not to be trusted’ is a company slogan that today still sets the foundation for projects and developments. Instead of resting on their laurels, Wood Wood leans towards uncommon perceptions, and this factor is essential to the reason that the business has kept an influential voice in the industry for almost twenty years.
“Instead of looking at challenges, we are facing multiple opportunities, which we are working towards moulding to our advantage. Recently, we have implemented a new website, through which we can interact with customers on a more frequent and precise basis. Accessibility is a term, which we are working to include more in a broader sense, be it through communication and storytelling on social media as well as in-store activations. Our customers are all part of our community, which sets the foundation for the development of Wood Wood, and we want to assure a fluid, yet determined brand universe, to which customers can relate,” Jensen concludes.