Patience is Key: Meet Henriette Bøe Ketilsson

Hello! Please introduce yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How does your heart manifest in the world?

My name is Henriette, I am a Norwegian creative entrepreneur based in Florence, Italy. I am a partner and the Chief Operational Officer at “The Packing Man”, A lifestyle brand with the goal to preserve and sustain traditional craftsmanship by combining indigenous textiles from around the world with the artisanal skills of Italy.

Life is precious and life is now, I am a curious individual with the passion for life. I love the fact that one can learn something new everyday and that the path to knowledge is never ending, how beautiful isn’t that? We have access to endless amounts of knowledge today, but yet we know so little. The lack of awareness and respect towards products we consume today, is connected to one of the biggest key problems the fashion industry faces today: The lack of transparent supply chains. This has resulted and created our current behaviour of consumerism, being that the average consumer is not aware of the process of creating an item from thread to the final product. My heart manifests in this world to help contributing to change that.

Henriette

My work is important because:

I want to make a difference. I have always had a strong drive and passion to attempt to make the world we live in a better place, in some shape or form. We live in a society today which provides us with a tremendous pressure to perform and consume. Which, in turn, has resulted in over-consumption, mass-production and over-saturation of just about everything. As a result, we now over-complicate everything and we have forgotten how to think simply, live simply and stay simple. These are the ground principles that I've built my business on. 

Through deep connections with these native communities, we gain a profound understanding of not only their craft but also an insight into who they are, their interests, their everyday life, values and their culture. With transparency being one of our key values, we get to know their stories so we can can further share them with the world. One of the ways we have chosen to do this is through making documentaries. Our first documentary is called “Until we meet again”, is currently being made and it showcases our journey of our latest trip to Nepal.

Nepal

What does soulful business mean to you? 

Soulful business to me, means to do something that you are passionate about. A matter you burn for, and that you are willing to take the risk for it. I believe it is to do something that is greater than yourself, to be selfless, with a bigger purpose and cause. To stay honest and believe in yourself. Because once you open your heart, it becomes easier to connect, and furthermore to give and receive. This is the beauty of soulful business.

What is the best piece of business advice you have received?

Patience is key.

What is the best business advice you would give?

  • Patience is key.
  • Together we are stronger.
  • I choose to be solution oriented over problem oriented, any day of the week. The world is filled with possibilities and opportunities, take advantage of that.
  • Communication is key in any kind of relationship, we cannot assume that the other part understands us unless we clearly communicate what we feel.
  • Always stay honest.
  • And at last but not least: Always keep in mind that the path is being built as we walk it.

How do you stay connected to loved ones when deeply entrenched in work?

I believe it's always important to stay connected to your loved ones, however in and at your own phase. During hectic times, I set aside time, where I allow myself to take a moment, breathe, and the only matter in focus is communicating with my loved ones.

What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur? How do you work with or around it?

To understand and respect the matter that things take time. Again, patience is key. To remind oneself that it's about the journey not the end destination, and that with experiences we become wiser. In other words: We have to enjoy the ride while we're still on it. To allow yourself to take time off, with a good conscience. Which sounds easy, but sometimes is the hardest to do. And at last but not least; not to give up when it’s at its toughest, the reward is greater.

When you feel burned out or uninspired, what lights your fire again?

If I feel burned out or uninspired, I do that one thing that I’ve been thinking about for days, months, years. By this I mean, I stop procrastinating and allow myself to do it. Don't over complicate, as they say: usually the question is the answer. The beauty lies in simplicity. Also creating my own environment, creating my own atmosphere does the trick for me. We have a scandinavian expression called “hygge”, which means to make it cozy. I light candles, incense and put on my favorite music. Usually there's a reason for why one feels burned out or uninspired, and the key factor here, I believe is to beat it, before it beats you.

How do you start your work day?

I usually start my work day with self practicing whatever yoga movements my body and mind feels like. When I manage to synchronize breath with movement, it gives me an energy boost and puts me in an unique mindful state to start the day with. Then I make a homemade juice, followed by an Italian coffee. If i am lucky enough, the coffee will be accompanied by my favorite homemade Norwegian crackers topped with imported Norwegian brown cheese. Then I walk to work.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I've grown up with both of my parents being entrepreneurs. One in the world of business and the other one in the world of the arts. From an early age, I’d study and observe them, filled with admiration and fascination of the freedom and the hard-work it comes with being an entrepreneur. No one is going to do it for you, you have to do it yourself. And that's what I like, I love challenges, the freedom to be innovative and to learn from your mistakes. I am fortunate enough to get the best of both worlds of being an entrepreneur more or less implemented in my DNA, and with time and age, I came to understand that that’s what I am: a creator: an entrepreneur.

Who supports you?

I have a great team of colleagues, we are like a family, and I would not have been where I am today if it wouldn't have been for them. We share the same values and fulfill each other in terms of adding and contributing our different skill sets that shapes and unites us as a dream team! My handful of good friends, which I’ve gathered through my life so far, I could never be without. They give me joy, inspires me, supports me, and I would never take that for granted. My sister and my brother are my rocks in my life.

What is your business philosophy?

Stay forever conscious and curious! It’s all about the journey, not the destination. We’re all creating our own path, and we need to keep in mind that the path is being made as we walk it!

henriette annapurna living

Who are some other female entrepreneurs you admire?

My mother and all other female entrepreneurs! It is courageous to be a creator, visionary and an entrepreneur! I think it's important to keep that in mind: the road we’ve taken to get where we are today and I wish to welcome more of us in the world! Let's empower each other!

Do you have anything else you'd like to share? 

Nothing comes from doing nothing. Love without limit!

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Henriette Bøe Ketilsson is a Norwegian creative entrepreneur based in Florence, Italy. Learn more about her at The Packing Man or find her on Instagram. Please click here to view clips from her upcoming documentary.