As we enter the door to the dusty warehouse building where Mani Pine’s showroom is located, the smell of freshly cut wood and welded steel are evidence of the craftsmanship that Nicolai and Jonas put into their products. Hands-on craftsmanship and customization are key elements when it comes to satisfying the needs of their clients. Everything is made by hand and is checked over many times before the finished product leaves the building.
Quality and customer satisfaction are essential for the success of the company. After a tour, we enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat with the owner about the values that have made Mani Pine into a successful business.
Nicolai, tell us about your company, Mani Pine.
The idea of Mani Pine started 5 years ago – almost by accident – when an old friend and I made a table for our apartment. We posted a few pictures of the result on Facebook and Instagram, and to our surprise we were inundated with enthusiastic feedback. From one day to the next, we went viral on social media! We quickly realised that we might have hit upon something that could turn into a dream job for us, so we started to take orders in and spend time producing tables after school at night. It was a real hustle between our studies to produce orders and meet with potential clients. Everything became more serious and we decided to focus on producing tables full-time…
...After a few years, my first business partner decided to move to Copenhagen and focus on something else, so I had a few serious conversations with Jonas, my childhood friend who was in the military at the time, and I managed to convince him to join me as an equal partner in the company. That was three years ago, and from that point on Mani Pine has really taken shape as a wood craft company that not only produces tables, but also a variety of other furniture as well...
...Today, after five years in business, we’ve started to focus on complete product ranges that include sofas, daybeds, chairs, shelves, coffee tables and so on. We no longer only focus on private customers, but have started to work with architects and interior designers that have introduced us to larger projects throughout Europe, such as hotels, restaurants and public spaces. Our concept is to make furniture that fits perfectly into the desired environment; we help our clients to choose the materials and the finish in order to have all items complement each other to form a whole.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
We get our inspiration from nature and the Nordic way of living: the clean lines of the interior, the materials and surfaces. We like to take a slightly more stylish approach to the Nordic look, as we use brass and steel to complement the rawness of the wooden surfaces. This gives our projects our distinctive Mani Pine signature that’s become our trademark.
How do you market your brand? And how do people find you?
We’ve had great success with visual images on social media such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We use these media as an online showroom, but we also like to meet our customers in person. It’s important that they’re able to get the feel of the materials and the possibilities that we offer in our product lines. It’s important for us that it’s an experience for the client to work with Mani Pine and choose the details on each product. We do a lot of customization of the individual pieces – so it’ll never be like going to IKEA and picking a standard piece of furniture. We might not make all the products ourselves, but we’ll always tailor the product to the client and make sure it meets our high standards of quality...
...At the moment, we have two showrooms: one in Aalborg and one in Copenhagen. The Aalborg showroom has a rawer feel; here you can see the production process in more authentic surroundings. Our showroom in Copenhagen is different: a stylish showroom in an urban setting that’s cool and modern. We usually meet with architects there in order to visualize the clean Nordic look that we endeavour to have as a Mani Pine trademark.
You work with many different materials, which material is your favourite?
Oak is our all-time favourite material to work with. If you treat it correctly, it’ll stay the same for a hundred years. It’s a high quality material and you can do so much with it furniture-wise. We make a lot of furniture in oak.
Sometimes we buy special wood types, such as mahogany in five-metre lengths imported from Congo, or a black American walnut from Ohio that makes a beautiful, large meeting table. But our most common material to work with is oak, which we get from our Danish supplier – indeed, using local suppliers is something that’s very important to us.
Where do you see Mani Pine heading?
Of course, we still want to deliver furniture to private customers, but we’re focusing a lot on Business-to-Business projects right now: restaurants, shops and major interior solutions. We want to be the latest thing in custom decor in interior decoration, designing a total solution with tables, chairs, lamps and floors, thus shaping the whole environment around the Mani Pine concept.
We hope to open a showroom in England, another one in Denmark and perhaps one or two in Germany. Because of the demand for our products we’re hiring people, as we have too many jobs for just the two of us right now. With new orders coming in, we need to have more employees that can take care of development and service the new clients that we’re working with.
What would your advice be to people who’re thinking about starting up a design business?
If you’re really passionate about what you want to do, then you should invest your time and effort and see where your idea takes you! Jonas and I have no formal education in our profession at all. We’re not trained joiners or welders; we just have commitment and a vision. And it was an eye-opener to get together with others and get help from people that have been in the same situation as we’re in. Be open minded – many highly skilled people are out there ready to help you out and inspire you in new ways. Have a lot of coffee meetings and be open to new suggestions to improve your idea.
In the future we think there’ll be more focus on customizing your surroundings to your family’s needs. Time is of the essence and you need to be surrounded by an environment that fits your lifestyle, both visually and practically. That’s where Mani Pine comes in! We can help you design your personal space to fit your needs, even if you don’t actually know what your needs are! We’ll help you define those needs and make them come true.
GET THE LOOK AS SEEN ON NICOLAI ADAMSEN
Late Shirt Black Check // Konrad Slub SS Tee // Rey 44617 rs0428 Jeans
GET THE LOOK AS SEEN ON JONAS DAM
Janger Jacket in grey // Konrad Slub SS Tee // Rey K1535 Black Night Jeans