Words: Sanne Nooitgedagt
When does a blog become a website, a book, and a shop? One Fine Little Day is the answer. We caught up with its omni-talented creator Elisabeth Dunker and talked creative processes, handicrafts, and of course, cats.
You’ve now got global recognition for your project, but how did the blog start and why?
I didn’t really have deeper intentions at the time. I was mainly fascinated by the possibility that I could publish something online and that someone else could become part of it. I was such a rookie. In so many ways it was thrilling to suddenly have the opportunity to communicate with people from all over the world. I’ve always been a sucker for pictures; I wanted to share and consume/receive them.
The Times rated your blog early on, as did Martha Stewart. What do you think is behind this swift momentum?
I was lucky that bigger blogs caught my attention and wrote positive about me, so I guess it’s because of a ping-pong effect that happened.
How did the name Fine Little Day come into being?
I like the incorrect grammar; the word order feels wrong and yet right. I thought it was a sentence that people would remember. The words I used are meant to allude to everyday life.
You have a very eclectic range of products, so where and how do you find the inspiration to create such variety?
I love art. Whether it’s hand made things, self-taught art, native art, folk art, outsider art or kid’s art, they all inspire me in their own way. I also find inspiration in nature, walking through a forest and enjoying the things surrounding me.
If you have an idea for a new product, what’s the process from sketchbook to online sale?
I don’t really have a typical or general routine; the creative process looks different every time. Usually things occur randomly— I don’t plan much. However, since I’m not a solitary person that is working in a company anymore, things need to be thought through. This is often a bit difficult for me, but I’m slowly adapting. When I have a pattern or something ready, my colleagues take over. I’m not involved in the actual production part. They might check colours and materials with me during the process, but normally I’m not involved at all, which I’m kind of grateful for because it leaves me time for other things.
It is one of the blog’s ambitions to create products for both children and young-at-heart adults, so can you explain why this target group fits so well with Fine Little Day?
The blog and the store are separate from each other. I run the blog and my very structured and talented colleagues Ulrika, Cecilia, Malin Satoko and Klara run our store. We like to have a playful approach; a young-at-heart target group suits us because it leaves doors open to experiment.
Your cats, Hiro, Rut and Siri, are often featured on your Instagram account, combined with hilarious captions that almost make it feel like they are human. How would you describe your relationship with the three of them?
Well, since I’m the one who’s feeding them, they do not only like me, but also follow me around wherever I go. I also talk to them and stuff, I kind of like being a crazy cat lady.
They seem to fit very well with your interior too!
Ha, coincidences! Our first cat, the Devon Rex “Hiro”, was the last kitten left when we found him in a residence for cats. He was scared, cross-eyed with an undershot, so nobody wanted him. Except for us, we loved him at first sight. Our second cat, the British shorthair “Rut”, was chosen for her breed. I don’t think British shorthair cats can be in other colours than grey, but I can be wrong. Our third cat, the Devon Rex/British short hair mix “Siri”, was in need of a home fast, so we adopted her just like that. This made us end up with three greyish cats in a kind of greyish interior, so I guess things just naturally happened to fit.
Your cats are an important part of your Instagram timeline. Will there be a cat print, pattern or poster at some point?
Yes! I hope so.
You champion and sell eco-friendly products and brands. Is this something that’s a personal as well as a business choice?
It’s important to us to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. We strive to do as much as we can in that direction.
I have been a vegetarian for most of my life. We eat locally grown vegetables and organic food as much as we can. So I buy locally grown products, we compost, I never keep the water running, I try not to use chemicals, I donate items we no longer need or use, I pay our bills electronically, we drive a natural gas car and we recycle our waste. These are some of the things I come to think of spontaneously.
Do you feel your business success has changed you as a person?
Oh I have no idea. It for sure made me a lot more motivated to work, seeing this project grow. And I am very thankful for all that it has given me.
What does the future hold for Fine Little Day?
We’ve teamed up with the Swedish handicraft association “Hemslöjden i Skåne” who, during the 1900s, built up unique collections of handicraft objects. These items are cataloged and digitized to make the material available for everyone at www.Digitalmuseum.se. The artist Henning Trollbäck and me are working together to spread the word about this collection, a project that will end up in an exhibition in the future, and in some new products as well. However, it is not clear what exactly we will do yet. I love the possibility of looking back in history, by using social networks to reconnect with long forgotten treasures and traditions, some at risk of disappearing altogether. The process is documented and shared under the hash tag #handicraftarchives at Instagram.
Fine Little Day have generously given our readers a 10% discount in their shop until the end of the year so get yourself a treat with the code PUSSPUSS on finelittleday.com