Founders of TYBO: Less money,
but a richer life with a focus on
proximity and sustainability

By Janni Møller Thomsen.
Photographed by Stefan Wessel.

A hard talk with dad, a sudden brain bleed, and a solid wish to have a shared project have reinvented Stinne and Nis Tyrrestrup as a couple, as parents and business partners in TYBO, their self-made pottery brand.

In a basement of a corner building in the colourful district, Vesterbro in Copenhagen, Stinne and Nis Tyrrestrup has established the showroom of TYBO.

Among pottery in clean Nordic design and natural colours inspired from ocean, earth and forest, Stinne and Nis have their shared creative office. Among a turntable, many records, and an old, tiled stove and a lathe, they have coffee together almost every morning.

When they first met, Stinne was a student at the Royal Danish Design Academy, and Nis was a musician touring most of the world with his bass.

- Me being a musician and touring a lot in periods challenged our time to be together as a family. Stinne and I often spoke about having a shared project or a business for us to work on together, Nis recalls.

- We are both from very creative families, so it is in our blood to create things. But we were in doubt, what our right thing would be, Stinne adds.

"We do not make much money,
but the time spent together are
more important. It is a choice, a
very proven choice."

Coincidence was
the perfect timing

On a weekend trip to Stinne’s father Hans’ place in Djursland, they played with their two girls and some Raku clay.

- It is such a cosy thing for us to do as a family when we are at my dads’ place. He has been a potter his entire life and was crafted by his mum, who got divorced to start her own business as a potter many years ago. So, to unite the three generations with our hands in clay is a special quality time to us, Stinne explains.

Stinne and Nis’ friends suddenly started to ask where they had bought the pottery. And at the same time, her dad turned 65 and was about to retire, but he was not ready for it at all.

- My dad has, as a self-employed potter, tried it all. Through the 80’ies, where clay was hot, through the 90’ies where all became glass and steel. He went from 24 workshops to 3 in a very short time. And I honestly believe he had run out of ideas to reinvent his business. Because no one can question, he is one of the best at it when he sits on the lathe.

Nis and Stinne had some ideas, which turned out to extend Hans’ working life.

- Stinne created an Instagram account, and she put some photos of the pottery on it, and out of nowhere, dealers approached us and asked if they could have our pottery in their businesses, Nis explains.

Success out
of nowhere

As the business started to grow, Stinne had to have a tough talk with her dad. The business had come to a point where it was not a nice family project anymore, but a cause of conflict instead, as they wanted different things with the design and glaze of the pottery.

- I had to have a difficult adult conversation with my dad, as it was vital for me to ensure that we were on the same page, and most importantly, it had to be fun to run the business together, and we needed to speak nicely to each other. My relation to my father was the most important, and I was not willing to gamble with that, Stinne says. The call ended without closure, but both Stinne and Nis believes it was a new beginning and the start of success for TYBO.

- The next time we called your father, we were aligned in a way. I cannot explain it, but it changed for the better. We have the most profound respect for his unique skills of pottery handcraft, and as we started to sell lots of pottery, he found out that we have good design skills, Nis smiles.

- He surrendered to the success of all our joint creative skills, Stinne smiles and adds:

- Now we can draw and send it to him, and then two hours later, he sends a picture back with guidelines on what is possible with clay as a material. It is fantastic, Stinne adds with an even bigger smile.

Both their careers were going great, and they did not spend much together as a family. They both missed some more time together, but they did not know how to find the courage to change your life dramatically.

"I hear my friends’ stories about
coming home late and not having
time with their partner or kids,
and they are all worn out."

Priorities changed
right there – at
that moment

At the end of a tour, Nis suddenly got a cerebral haemorrhage, and his life changed in a finger flick.

- It is now four years ago, and I was fortunate. My cerebral haemorrhage was located at one of the best possible places, but it was rough, Nis recalls.

From that one second, his life was no longer the same. He was torn out of his career as a touring musician, and instead, he spent much time in rehab recovering.

- It took a couple of years to feel like me again. As soon as I could, I went to the rehearsal studio and had my bass back in my hands, and that felt good. I am very fortunate, Nis says and adds:

- Getting better, I realized, that I had suddenly lost my identity, and I was thrown off my career train while it was still rumbling. But I was ready for it.

For Stinne and Nis, it was a difficult time, but also a time in their life, where they had time to be a family for the first time. And Stinnes dad came to help.

- Having the shop was amazing because I could put my energy into it. I used the lathe to rehabilitate, and Stinnes dad was amazing, Nis recalls, and Stinne adds:

- Since I do not have a driving license, my dad took us everywhere. He moved in and helped us so much. He was truly there for us and spent much time teaching Nis to use the lathe. The family business has made the family even closer, and their reflection tells that if you focus on the sun that follows rain.

- When something serious like this happens, it always brings something good with it, if you focus on it, and I am a better place now in my life, even if it was a brutal way to get here, Nis says.

- It certainly sets some priorities straight, Stinne adds.

- We have time together. The two of us. And with our kids. That is the essential thing, Nis emphasizes.

Less money,
but a richer life

The new life for Stinne and Nis with the family business and fewer hours on their other jobs has financial consequences, but their life is richer.

- We do not make much money, but the time spent together are more important. It is a choice, a very proven choice. But not an easy one in a society that races by 180 km per hour, and everyone is busy making careers and money, Stinne says.

The career race was never really an option, as Stinne had her kids at an young age. For many years she wondered if she was missing out on something.

- I hear my friends’ stories about coming home late and not having time with their partner or kids, and they are all worn out. I do not have that feeling, and for that, I am grateful. We have much time together as a couple and with our kids.

- That time together makes us more robust, and it gives such a good vibe, Nis shares.

Almost every day they spent in the basement, and whenever the kids are home from school, they have time for them. Their kids are aged 8 and 14.

- Unlike many other couples, we have adult time together during the day, as I know, very few of our friends have. They have two busy jobs and comes home to homework, cooking, and then after bedtime, they are too exhausted to spend time together, Stinne refers.

- For our family, this is the right thing. Time is the most valuable we have. Time with our kids is not refundable if we forget to cash in on their childhood or youth, Nis adds.

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