24 Hours With… Tom Wood's Mona Jensen
From Managing Director to designer and creative, all via a couple of rings - or at least that’s how the story went for Mona Jensen, the Norwegian founder of effortlessly sleek label Tom Wood (the name she chose to represent her creative alter ego). Beginning her journey from a simple signet ring, designed as an experiment in her spare time, Jensen now boasts a fully-fledged collection of both mens and womens ready-to-wear, running operations alongside her husband in their picturesque Nordic HQ. We caught up with Mona to find out where she looks for inspiration, and how she gets it done.
”My youngest daughter and Nikki playing in the garden."
"My bathroom essentials…”
What time do you wake up and where?
These days I wake up pretty early as we just got a little puppy, Nikki. She’s an early riser and needs food and attention straight away.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Where are you usually based?
Just outside the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
What does your average day look like?
I’m the early bird in our family and like to get up before everyone else. After a quick shower I prepare breakfast for our youngest daughter and take Nikki out into the garden. As I work together with my husband Morten (he is the Managing Director at Tom Wood), we drive to work together and normally start the working day at 8am in the car. Once I’m at the office my day gets quite busy, and I leave work around 4pm to be home for family dinner. I normally prepare dinner together with Morten. Then I help my kids with their homework and eventually pick up work again in the evening until heading to bed around midnight. That's how it rolls!
Do you have any rituals?
I always enjoy a big cup of freshly brewed coffee when I arrive at the office in the morning.
Where is your studio located?
We recently moved into a new space - our showroom and studio is now located over two floors in an old factory building, overlooking a beautiful park in the Grünerløkka neighbourhood in Oslo.
“Edge House, our home just outside of Oslo."
“Me at my home in Norway."
“Our cabin where we spent the summer, close to the archipelago in the south of Oslo.”
How would you describe what you do?
As the Creative Director I work on new collections and concepts all the time, but I also need to keep track of the direction of our brand and the market in general. The latter means I have to be involved in almost every aspect of our business to understand the challenges, needs and opportunities from all angles. This also helps inform my decision on when and how to design and develop new collections.
How has your background influenced who you are today?
My upbringing on a small island on the west coast of Norway has had a big influence on my work and the person I am today. I feel deeply connected to nature and most of my inspiration comes from the powerful and majestic west coast nature that I was surrounded by when I grew up.
How did you get your start in fashion?
It was never the plan, but I have always been fascinated by well made products and never been afraid of trying new things. I started working on some signet ring sketches back in 2012 because I dreamt about creating something of my own, and I felt there was a gap in the market for unisex silver jewellery. I then went to Thailand (famous for its high quality silver production and craftsmanship) to have them made - that was it!
When I saw the first rings I decided to quit my job as a Managing Director at a marketing agency and dive into the unknown world of designing products and building my own brand. I have always enjoyed using my hands, so it felt natural to follow my creative path in a new and exciting way.
“Sketching jewellery ideas for our new collection."
“At work in our Oslo office.”
What was the impetus behind starting your label?
I wanted to build something new and unexpected from the outpost of Norway. Proving that it can be done has been and still is a motivation and inspiration for me.
Where did the name “Tom Wood” come from?
Tom Wood was the guy I could see wearing the jewellery I wanted to create, and he was also a fictional counterpart to myself. Someone who behaved very differently and who was able to push me out of my comfort zone and provide me with new perspectives.
What are the most important factors for the brand?
We want to create high quality products with the least possible impact, and to create products with longevity in mind. We strive to become what we define as a “low impact” business, measuring all our activities in terms of ethics and the environment.
How do you get into a creative headspace?
Travelling and exploring new places is my favourite way to be creative, but as that’s not been an option lately I have been exploring my local surroundings a lot more. Tokyo is an endless source of inspiration to me and I can’t wait to go back, but being out in nature also gets me into a creative mood. Closing my eyes and listening to the sea is great too, preferably whilst on a beach in Thailand...
Whilst working, where do you go and what do you do to take a break?
I prefer to have my lunch out on our rooftop terrace to get some fresh air and enjoy the view over the city.
“The wrapped shirt in white raso - my favourite piece from the Browns buy."
“Our summer party for all our employees in our garden."
What’s on your bookshelf right now?
I love art books, but I have ambitions to start reading more novels again.
What do you usually do for dinner?
We love Asian flavours, so we often make a wok or rice based dish paired with something spicy and fresh.
What time do you go to bed?
I try my best to go to bed before midnight.
Last thing you do before you sleep?
Set the alarm for 06:30am.
What do you dream about?
I guess it could be because I sleep very heavily, but I don't remember my dreams. I wish I could.
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