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Conversation with the founders of SINDROMS

October 5, 2018

We have been following SINDROMS magazine from the start, and after the launch of the second issue we sat down with the founders for a chat about their project and their life in Copenhagen

SINDROMS Team:

Miruna Sorescu – Founder & Creative Director

Ana Teodorel – Founder & Business Development

Monique Schroder – Editor in Chief

Kotryna Abaraviciute – Communications

Q: How long have you all been in Copenhagen and where is everyone from?

Monique: I’m probably the one who’s been in Copenhagen the longest. I moved away from Germany when I was 19, because it felt like the only right thing to do at that time—and I’ve been here since without regretting it once. It’s definitely my home that still surprises me after almost 9 years.

Miruna: The rest of us have been here for a bit less time than that – Kotryna and I moved here 5 years ago to study the same thing and met in university – she was coming from Lithuania, and I was coming from Romania. I knew Ana from back home as well, and she also moved here just one year after that.

Q: When did you realise you wanted to launch your magazine in Copenhagen and what factors did you look at when planning to do so?

Miruna: It wasn’t really a choice between Copenhagen and a different place, it just happened that this is where we were all based and where the project started taking shape. We decided we wanted to start our own magazine since we were studying here, and we started the business as soon as we graduated. We of course felt that Copenhagen is the perfect place for us to start a creative business – design stands at the roots of this city, and there are great opportunities for collaborations; with brands, artists, designers, etc.

Monique: Like Miruna said, Copenhagen is where we’re based, so it wasn’t an active choice we made. However, even though it’s our creative base and it’s aesthetic definitely finds its way into the magazine, we’d like to see Sindroms as a publication that everyone can relate to. Even though colour is personal, it’s something that surrounds us on an everyday basis, in different shapes, forms and interpretations.

Kotryna: I believe we reached a certain point when we realised we can finally make it happen, so we added all of our experience together and just said – let’s do it. Factors such as being surrounded by a lot of art and design events, exhibitions, creative people and inspiring spots in Copenhagen were definitely important when launching and creating Sindroms.

Q:How did being an expat in Copenhagen affect the launching of the magazine?

Miruna: I can’t say that it did – we have never encountered any problems or setbacks due to being expats. It’s true that it did take us quite some time to build the business in the beginning – to learn all the technicalities of starting a business in Denmark, how everything works, etc – but that’s something we would have had to have learnt and go through if we were doing it in our home countries as well. It was funny to hear others abroad describe Sindroms as a ‘Danish magazine’ after we launched, and realising that it is Danish, even though none of us actually are.

Kotryna: I think some of the parts related to setting up a business in Denmark are a bit more tricky for us expats because of the language barrier. But we were lucky enough to meet a lot of people that consulted us and helped us understand how it works.

Q:Why Denmark, how do you feel here, what is better here than elsewhere?

Miruna: In my perspective, it’s hard not to feel at home in Denmark as a creative. There is a small, but wonderful design community, it’s a great place to be constantly inspired, and people are so open, eager to collaborate, and enthusiastic about creating beautiful things. It’s a great place to work in, and live in – this is especially easy to say at the end of what has been the best summer since I have been living here 🙂

Monique: It might be the same in every creative circle across the world—but what I’ve learned from the close-knit design and creative community here in Copenhagen is that people are very open-minded and helpful. It’s actually one of the things that I love the most about Denmark!

Kotryna: In my mind, Denmark is full of inspiration, there are so many things you can learn or see here every single day. Even if Copenhagen is so small and I’ve been living here for the past 5 years, I still manage to find some new spots or find out about new projects and the people behind them.

Ana: Denmark is known for its community-like feeling and although Danes may be reluctant to open up at first, once they do and once you establish a network, it is a pretty nice environment to be and develop in. It might come as a big change for someone coming from a big city to Copenhagen, but once you embrace the easy going spirit of Denmark you quickly realize it is the place to be.

Q:Do you think the Danish language is difficult, do you use it, what is your favourite Danish word, expression, tradition?

Monique: I think it goes without saying that the Danish language is not a piece of cake, even though I’m privileged to know a language that makes it easier for me to learn and speak it. I’m very spoiled by all Danish people and their perfect English skills, no matter what age they are. That makes living here very comfortable but obviously difficult to master Danish 🙂 I have a lot of favourite Danish words, it’s hard to choose the one. I’ve always loved the sound of it, and how people mastered the art of small talk. I really love classic Danish music like C.V. Jørgensen and I’ve always loved Tommy Seebach’s birthday song, ha ha.

Kotryna: It is quite hard for me to push myself and start using Danish, since I know everyone speaks English so well here. I’m always feeling a bit ashamed about my (lack of) Danish knowledge, but at least my Danish friends always support me by saying ‘don’t worry – Danish is difficult”.

Ana: One thing that I noticed is that Danes have quite strong sarcasm and a fun spirit around some of the events that other European countries take more seriously – take the cinnamon bath for singles turning 25, all the bachelor and bachelorette parties which focus on putting the future bride and groom in funny situations/costumes, etc. I think this is a good example for setting the mindset and understanding the relaxed way in which the majority of Danes approach their lives and which ultimately contributes to the overall society’s vibe in Denmark.

Q:How has your culture and background inspired you throughout the process of creating SINDROMS?

Miruna: My cultural background has definitely inspired the idea of choosing colour as the theme of the magazine. In Romania things are very colourful, and I also grew up in an extremely colourful home with a mother passionate about design and colours, so I definitely missed colour when I moved to Denmark and had a bit of a cultural shock, so I think I tried to bring it back into my life, and this new home.

Monique: Being curious is my everyday life. I believe it’s not dependent on culture or background—it’s about finding joy in details and weird aspects of life that unfold through one colour. However, being a team of four with very different opinions creates a great balance and definitely helps to push the editorial and visual direction of SINDROMS, even though a monochromatic universe might indicate the exact opposite.

Q: Is SINDROMS currently being sold anywhere other than Denmark?

Miruna: We are selling SINDROMS in 20 countries across Europe, Asia, and the U.S.

Q: What criteria do you search for when looking for brands to work with? Is it limited to only Copenhagen/Danish brands?

Miruna: We look for brands that we appreciate and share the same values as us internationally, so Copenhagen is not a criteria, but we of course also want to work with and feature the great talent coming out of Scandinavia. We try to do a mix, and there is also the colour criteria when it comes to curating the brands.

Kotryna: Understanding their values and seeing if they match with ours is definitely one of the most important things. The colour is very important – overall, if you open up our publication you can clearly see this connection between the brands and our content.

Ana: To top up, I think we also try to see what brands out there would see the value behind our approach to analysing colour and so the impact that their ad can have in a colour focused magazine. We are trying to stay away from offering ad space to any big brand that has a budget, and focus instead on the visual impact that it can have for both us and the brand’s product/products.

Q: Where did the name SINDROMS originate from?

Miruna: The name comes from the word ‘syndrome’, and was meant to transmit the obsessive-compulsiveness of sorting things by colour.

Q: What does the future of SINDROMS look like in terms of colour selection? Are you focusing on the main ROYGBIV colours? If so what will you do once you complete the rainbow?

Miruna: We are not focusing on the rainbow, as our recently-announced third issue (which will be white) shows. We don’t have a predetermined plan for upcoming issues – we always choose the next colour based on several factors, such as personal intuition, the context of the timeline ahead, as well as colour trend forecasting.

Kotryna: Everyone is always asking what we’re going to do when we run out of colours. To be honest, we’re not really thinking about it, being a creative publication means that we have a lot of freedom to implement our creative ideas, so you never know, maybe one day we’ll shift from our colour concept and will create something new.

Q: Were you doubtful about launching an independent magazine in Copenhagen and being foreigners?

Miruna: We were more doubtful of launching an independent magazine about colour in Copenhagen, and a bit unsure of how it will be received locally in Scandinavia. But we’ve had a very warm welcome and we’re happy to be able to bring our colourful perspective out more and more in Denmark.

Monique: We definitely felt our hearts beating just before launching our first issue—the Red Sindrom. We had no clue how people would receive and react to red, not only because it’s a very powerful and multi-faceted colour but also because Scandinavia is not known for its poppy colours. Quite the contrary, actually—but that’s what made it exciting. I have never felt that being a foreigner is a limitation for SINDROMS. For now, we’ve only had positive experiences here in Copenhagen and beyond.

Q: Have you experienced any challenges regarding your background since launching Sindroms?

Kotryna: I actually can’t recall any. My only challenge was my last name, and the many times I had to explain how it’s pronounced.

Q: Are you doing SINDROMS as a side project or is it your full-time job? If it’s your side project how do you manage to combine everything?

Miruna: We are all doing it on the side of our other full-time jobs, so in a sense you could really say that we have two full-time jobs. It’s of course difficult and it requires a lot of dedication, but when you are truly passionate about what you do it becomes your life, rather than your work. I never really feel that I am doing ‘work’ when working on SINDROMS, but just doing what I love – which is as good as a free time activity as any other.

Monique: Even though I burn for SINDROMS and it’s a dream come true, I also want to be honest and stress that it’s definitely not easy. You can compare it to a roller coaster ride: sometimes you’re on top of world with your hands in the air and other times you’re at a low point not knowing what’s next. I don’t want to glorify having two full-time jobs but I also can’t imagine what it’s like without it anymore.

Ana: Backing up Monique here, I think it became a big part of our lives, even if it is a side project. We can’t image a different process to the day – it now feels awkward when we are not working on anything during a weekend or one of the evenings, and we often end up searching for new areas to look into – there’s just always something to do.

Q: Do you have any plans to shift the concept from colour to something different?

Monique: At this point, after having launched two issues, we’re definitely far away from considering moving away from colours. We’ve learned to fall in love, and also out of love with one colour and re-discovering our relationship to all the different hues. It’s funny because from a very young age, I’ve been sticking to one colour as my favourite (blue!) but now I love them all (with a very special connection to yellow).

Miruna: I feel like the concept is shifting, but it’s always colour that stays at the core of what we do, we just find new ways to play with it. Sindroms started with the print magazine, and while that’s still very much our core, we are also exploring other exciting ways of elevating the experience of colour beyond print, such as experiential events.

Kotryna: At the moment we’re still in love with colour and are super excited to be working with it, but at the same time we’re already implementing something new – you’ll find out about it in our third, white issue.

Ana: SINDROMS is all about reading about new perspectives on colour. We’ve only started working and experiencing this area and the next steps for now are not to move away from the colour concept, but to search for new channels to help people taste, touch, and why not feel colour.

Team:

Miruna Sorescu – Founder & Creative Director

Ana Teodorel – Founder & Business Development

Monique Schroder – Editor in Chief

Kotryna Abaraviciute – Communications

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