6th January 2016
Every Wednesday JHPR spotlight a woman doing amazing things within her business field. As champions of startups and small business owners we will be selecting a wonder women to profile each week.
For our first wonder woman of the year we would like to introduce Nicoline Refsing, founder of production design company Rockart Design and jewellery brand Rockart Jewellery.
41 year old Nicoline Lindeborg Refsing, lives in London and is the founder and the main creative force behind Rockart Design, which specialises in the designing, creative directing and artistic delivering of high-end TV-shows, tours, performances, festivals and events both in the UK and internationally. She has also founded Rockart Jewellery, which is an exclusive brand offering unique and sophisticated jewellery designs.
Nicoline has gained great experience in dealing with some of the world’s largest productions. In 2011, she founded Rockart Design which has enabled her to combine production design with additional services such as creative direction and show branding. Her experience includes working on designs for; U2, The Rolling Stones, Take That, Cirque du Soleil – “Viva Elvis” & “Believe” in Las Vegas and for the Latvian entry on Eurovision 2015.
What inspired you to start your business?
Since I started my Masters I wanted to set up my own international design business. I guess I have always had an entrepreneurial mind-set, though it is just recently I have come to start thinking of myself as an entrepreneur.
I always been fascinated by leading a larger team to deliver very specific results and how the creative process evolves to be much bigger and more powerful than anything you could have created on your own.
Point of no return was probably reading Duncan Bannatyne “Wake up and change your life” where he in a very down to earth way describes all the steps of setting up and running your own business (in the UK). A simple step by step guide was just what I needed!
I have been privileged growing up in Denmark surrounded by female entrepreneurs as role models. My mother runs a therapeutic foster home, my godmother had a riding school and my dad’s wife an organic farm. However it was a bit different having to set up in another country. I had a very good coach (Susan Rowe) helping me make the transition from employment to going into the business.
Rockart Jewellery my second business is a bit different story, I had designed these handmade heart shaped jewellery for years in Copenhagen and people seemed to love them and always said I should put them into production. My friend, a goldsmith who helped me in Copenhagen wasn’t interested in going into production, so I went along and researched a production line in London where they are cast in Shoreditch and finished in a workshop in Hatton Gardens.
A piece of jewellery is a very personal thing and the feedback I get from people is so heartfelt, it is really lovely.
What has been your greatest business achievement?
The Eurovision 2014 where I was Creative Director and Content Producer, creating the performances for the 37 countries in the competition was an exciting and big job. I loved working with the Danish creative team and the Danish Broadcast Union who were producing the show. Not to mention all the different delegations from all over Europe, so many great and talented people coming together on that show. My aim was to give everyone a unique look and feel and work very close with the individual artist to refine their expressions.
I was determined to do a good job at it, which led us to develop some new 3D visualisation software. In real time the software is showing the set with screen content, lights, surfaces and reflections through all the Director’s cameras. This had been a real success and our clients loved it because it gave them a very clear understanding of what their show was going to look like.
Also to get to work for Mark Fisher/ Stufish was a big thing for me. I had followed Mark’s work for years and was deeply fascinated by his work and artistic talent. It wasn’t clear how I could take that leap from being newly graduated in Denmark to get to work with Mark on the highest international level. So I worked out a plan to fundraise enough money to be able work for him for free for a period of time. At the time I just wanted to learn and see how he managed the creative process on the big projects. It was an amazing journey, though at first he wasn’t interested at all, after months of hard work and persuasion he agreed to take me on and I travelled around the world with him on various projects. Half a year later he came to me and said, “If I give you a week off can you go back and pack all your things? I have put you on the payroll from the first…” which is now 11 years ago.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced along your business journey?
Hopefully somebody at some point will give me points for starting up two businesses in the biggest recession in a hundred years 😉
No really I’ll admit I am perfectionist and I LOVE my work, so finding the right work life balance has been and still is a challenge.
How is your business contributing to your community or society?
-We create experiences for people, in that little space of time where people switch off from their busy lives and open up their senses to be taken on a journey, some times it is visually sometimes it is emotional. My background is in Rock’n Roll and perhaps a bit naïve, but I actually went into this business because I thought we through music and entertainment could bring people together and make the world a better place. Touring live music goes across countries, continents, cultures, politics and religion. A band like U2 easily plays in front of 2 million people on a tour. A very heart to heart experience between people and if we can support the visual expression and perhaps make the artist messages a bit stronger then I think we have achieved a very fine job.
We help artist and entertainment brands communicate with their audience and amplify their messages and what is on their hearts.
-I am passionate about entrepreneurship and giving women opportunities and just joined the programme “Inspiring the future – inspiring women”, where you go out to talk to young girls in primary schools about your carrier and in that way become a role model for girls who may not have a lot of female role models in their lives. Because I realise I have been very privileged having great female role model around me and growing up in Denmark where education is free all the way to Masters degree I think it is important to inspire other young girls/women where I can.
-I speak about my work, and how I use creative processes practically, for students at art schools and conferences internationally. By sharing my knowledge I hope to help and inspire them to have a professional career, to succeed and to reach their dreams.
Best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
Keep your integrity in everything you do.
Get a cleaner!
Where is your product or service available?
Rockart Design is based in London but we work internationally.
Rockart Jewellery is an online shop, we ship to all over the world.
Business website and social media handles
Twitter: @NicolineRefsing | @RockartJewel
If you know a wonder woman that you would like to nominate be sure to send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org along with her details and why you think she should be celebrated or contact us via our twitter page @JessicaHuiePR.
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