‘Be the girl on the right’ – Trude Nistad found her place in the business world – not only in this picture. Photo: Raphaela Ossberger

In a designer’s mind for an evening

Last Friday, Anja Bergersen – the new lab manager at Protomore – and Start HiM organized another innovation evening. This time, Molde’s local fashion designer Trude Nistad and her personal story about starting a business in an industry that is anything else than easy to succeed in, served as source of inspiration for the enterprising students.


“Starting such a business in Molde was probably one of the lamest ideas you can have!”

When Trude Nistad looks back to the beginnings of her career as fashion designer, she does so with a sound amount of self-mockery. Despite the knowledge that Norway is everything else than the hub of the fashion world, she still decided to build up a fashion brand at the time when she was pregnant, and that was due to a simple reason:

“I was so fed up with all those Hello Kitty stuff in the stores, so I simply started to make my own cloths.”

Reason enough to choose ‘Made by Mom’ as name for her business. This was in 2011, when she founded her company as A/S. Her first big order was landed when “the Soda-Queen” of the local soda manufacturer Oscar Sylte contacted her and wanted a special collection with the sodas as main inspiration for the design – “So I eventually ended up with a whole collection of sodas”, Trude reflects on her shirts and dresses with bottles and the well-known “brus” labels.

In her presentation, Trude Nistad looked back on all her collections and designs such as ‘FashSoda’ with Molde’s famous soda brand ‘brus.’ Photo: Raphaela Ossberger

After a project in collaboration with the Bjørnson Festival called “Lyrisk mote” (“lyric fashion”), she decided to focus on another local brand, namely the famous Molde panorama with its 222 peaks.

“The tourists here simply did not have anything else to buy than trolls”, she wondered, and finally landed her biggest success.

The cloths with the mountain tops and the respective names in English turned out as her “bread and butter”, and so it is not surprising that the project meanwhile got extended to Tromsø and will soon also include Bergen – “And we have plans for Lofoten, which would be really great!”

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What she recently worked on is not less exciting: In honor of the local architect Kjell Kosberg she designed cloths with prints of his most outstanding buildings. A project that perfectly suits Molde since Korsberg conceived both Aker Stadion as well as Scandic Seilet. Who would not love to wear a shirt with one of the most iconic landmarks of Molde?!

Although – or exactly because – her business has been becoming quite successful, she still keeps hold of crazy ideas: “Sometimes you need to do things because you want it and not because you earn money with it!” – a statement that suspiciously sounds like the recipe to her success.

Also the students could practice themselves in design thinking … Photo: Raphaela Ossberger
… and immediately work on the realization of their draft. Photo: Raphaela Ossberger

Another aspiring woman is just about to start her career here in Molde. Anja Bergersen, who was appointed with the job as lab manager at Protomore two weeks ago, led her first innovation evening together with HiMolde students. Since she has a broad background in design thinking and sustainability, this event was an ideal kick-off for her – and probably not the last inspiring meet-up with Molde’s students and prospective business leaders.

Since the motto of the evening was ‘design thinking’, it was finally up to the students themselves to first think like an entrepreneur just as Trude Nistad is one, and subsequently design a specific business idea. And some students from HiMolde, indeed, indicated some design thinking talents to be hidden in their minds.

For sure, the next Trude Nistad is just around the corner.

Protomore’s new LAB manager Anja Bergersen obviously enjoyed her first evening as host for the innovation evening. Photo: Raphaela Ossberger