My name is Louise. And well, I am the founder and creator of LULU—LAND. Before starting LULU—LAND, I worked with management and business development in architecture and as a consultant in strategy, business development, and innovation at a Scandinavian consultancy.
I have always wanted to start a business that would allow me to work with a lot of different creative projects and travel at the same time. Eight months ago, I took the first step towards realizing my dream; I bought a one-way ticket to Bali and started working on what I, after countless hours of frustration, overthinking, and horrible alternatives, named LULU—LAND.
Traveling and working in various co-working spaces, in different countries, side by side with creators and entrepreneurs from around the world, made me feel more inspired than ever. So, I spent a lot of time contemplating how I would be able to share this inspiration. Inspiration is a weird and fluffy concept – it can be anything and everything at the same time. In the end, I decided to ask my friends what questions they would ask, someone who truly inspires them. I turned their answers into 50 interview questions, which, when answered, will create a series of LULU—LAND portraits.
As the founder, I am naturally LULU—LAND’s strongest supporter and worst critic. Therefore, it only seems fitting that I'll be the very first person to answer the questions, sharing a part of me with all of you, however intimidating that feels.
OK, LET'S START WITH THE EASY ONES
Louise Bøgeskov Hou (Nicknames: Lulu, Lou, Loui, people usually only call me Louise when they are mad at me.)
Currently located in:
Copenhagen, but traveling and working remotely.
What do you do for a living?
I would probably call myself a creative entrepreneur. I’ve founded LULU—LAND, co-founded APR (A Permanent Reminder), and I’m toying with the idea of writing a book called Popcorn Brain, and a couple of other projects.
MOST OF US HAVE CERTAIN ROUTINES, LET'S GET TO KNOW YOURS
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
I make coffee, pour a glass of orange juice, and take my supplements. I shower and eat breakfast – it's my favorite meal of the day. Sometimes, the order gets mixed up, but this is essentially what I do every morning, no matter where I am. As I have grown older, I have realized how much my morning affects the rest of my day. A stressful morning equals a stressful day. But a slow and calm morning often results in a more focused and productive day. I try to give myself two hours every morning (sometimes it's hard – I really like to sleep as well), preferably from 6.30-8.30 am, for my morning routine, including time for a bit of reading or writing. I started doing this while traveling. I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I don’t write three pages every day, as she recommends, but maybe one or two pages – it helps me keep track of my thoughts, and a lot of new creative ideas come to life and evolve from these pages.
What is a typical day like for you?
Usually, I am out of the door between 8-9 am. If I am in Copenhagen, I’ll go to my office space near the meatpacking district, unless I have meetings or feel like working from a café. When I am traveling, I work from co-working spaces, cafés, or hotels with great Wi-Fi. I try to divide my day into work slots – I’ll have a break around lunchtime and again in the afternoon. I’ll go home around 5-6 pm, meet up with friends, attend a yoga class, workout or go for a run. I love running shorter distances like 5k – it's like meditation for me. I did run two marathons though, without the necessary preparation – not recommendable! If I do some of these things during the day, I often work from home in the evening. At some point I eat dinner when I have figured what to cook - not my force. God, my day sounds really boring, when being put into writing!
And now that we're at it – what are the last things you do before bedtime?
I turn my phone on flight mode. Undisturbed sleep is important. When I have a lot on my mind and feel restless, I tend to have trouble falling asleep, and I wake up like 4-5 times during the night. There was a time when I looked at my phone every time I woke up. Not a healthy habit. Turning my phone on flight mode helps me. I don't wake up because the phone lights up every time I receive a text or a call or other notifications pop up. I would like to get the phone and other electronic devices out of my bedroom. I have been thinking for a while that I should get an old-fashioned alarm clock – I keep putting it on my to-do lists, but never seem to get to it.
How do you spend your weekends?
I try not to work during the weekends and recharge. Depending on where I am, I do different things. When I travel, I try to explore the place I am at, go on short trips, be with friends or meet new people. When I’m back home in Copenhagen, I like to hang out with old friends and their kids or visit my family from time to time. When I don’t have any plans, and the weather is nice, I love to go for walks or just stroll around the city. On rainy days (and we do have a few of those in Copenhagen) I like to stay in bed, reading books, and watching documentaries, attend a hot yoga class or go to a museum (I love Louisiana).
I took my dad to Iceland for a weekend before I went traveling. I want to do things like that more often with the people I care about when I am home. The scenery was truly amazing, and it's a memory we have together for life.
"I PROBABLY SHOULD BE BETTER AT CELEBRATING MY ACHIEVEMENTS; I TEND TO MOVE ON QUICKLY WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGING HOW FAR I'VE COME"
When was the last time you celebrated?
I actually don’t remember. Awkward. I should do something about that. In general, I probably should be better at celebrating my achievements; I tend to move on quickly without acknowledging how far I’ve come.
WE ALL HAVE MORE OR LESS FLATTERING TRAITS
What is your guilty pleasure?
At the moment, it’s burgers, fries, pineapple soda, and chocolate croissants!
What is your superpower?
Being able to find ways that have not already been paved. My creativity, restlessness, and stubbornness. The latter two are, unfortunately, also my greatest weaknesses.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT PASSION, NOT THE FRUIT
What could you spend all day talking about?
I could talk forever about how the way we are working is changing and about inspiration, what inspires me, other people, where to find it. And about traveling and working remotely.
What inspires you?
People who dare to do things differently, bravery, energy, great entrepreneurial stories, kindness, traveling and being in New York.
LET'S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER INTO WHAT INSPIRES YOU
Repeat or shuffle? What have you been listening to lately, and what are you humming in the shower?
Definitely repeat – that’s my thing. I listen to a track over and over again until I can’t stand it anymore. It’s awful. Lately, I have been listening to Drake and Jhené Aiko, From time, Birdy and Sam Feldt, Wild Horses, and Freja Kirk, All for you. Actually, Freja’s new album Pussyfied is the first in a long time where I have played the entire album on repeat.
I don’t sing or hum in the shower. I bring my phone with me into the shower instead. One or two phones may have suffered an untimely death on that account – I live in a traditional Nørrebro apartment with one of those tiny bathrooms, where you shower on top of the sink and toilet at the same time.
Poster or collectors’ items? If we gave you a million, what would be decorating your walls?
I love weird art or artists with an edge, like David Shrigley. I also like Jeppe Hein’s work, but I would probably buy a piece or two from my dear friend, and amazing artist, Rune Bosse who’s work often evolves around nature. With sensitivity and presence, he allows himself to explore and connect nature and assemble the world in new ways. If I could, I would buy one of his old pieces, which is a series of photographs of a block of ice lifted from a freezer only to be melted into the freezer again.
Newspapers, journals, magazines, online platforms, digital media, podcasts… you name it – how do you keep yourself updated, and what are your news sources?
I skim the online version of the Danish newspaper, Politiken, Office Magazine, Monocle, and The New York Times almost daily.
I love to visit kiosks, magazine shops and newsstands to check out printed magazines wherever I travel, the layout, the content, the editorials, etc. – an occupational habit – I'm educated in advertising, graphic design, visual, and creative communication. I recently stumbled upon Quoted Magazine – a magazine that was founded as a way of showcasing the beautiful diversity of New York City. It's not just a celebration of diversity in terms of race, gender, or sexual orientation, but also of thought, experience, ideology, and desire. Each issue features ten New Yorkers from all walks of life who invite everyone into their homes to experience the real New York. I love it.
I listen to the Danish podcast “Her går det godt” with Peter Falktoft and Esben Bjerre, every Friday, they make me laugh. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they actually say out loud what a lot of people only dare to think. In general, I would like to listen to more podcasts.
If you could have lunch with one person, alive or dead, who would that be?
That would be both of my granddads, Kai Hou and Børge Bøgeskov Pedersen. I think that I’m a combination of the two in a lot of ways, and I would love to be able to ask them questions about their lives that I didn’t get the chance to when I was a kid.
Books, movies, and/or series – what can you recommend?
Books: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is an amazing book written as a twelve-week course on how to unleash your own creativity. I plan on making another post about this book, so I’ll stop myself from going into details.
Also, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson, it’s an easy read, but I actually really liked some of his points. Especially the “Do something Principle.” He explains how motivation really works, that action isn’t just the effect of motivation, but also the cause of it. Taking advantage of this knowledge, we can actually re-orient our mindset. The conclusion is that if you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, then do something, anything really, and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.
I don’t really watch TV alone, as it tends to make me restless. But I like to watch documentaries, movies and occasionally series together with someone. Especially, with my brothers. I recently saw the miniseries “Unbelievable” with a friend. It’s a horrible story about a serial rapist in Washington and Colorado, but very captivating, and it portrays some badass women in an unpolished kind of way – highly recommendable.
I never watch flow tv or series where I have to wait for the next episode. I hate that. But I binge-watch, when I find a show that I like. I didn’t see Game of Thrones until season 7, but then I watched all 72 episodes in only three weeks – waiting for the final season was really aggravating.
Which three Instagram accounts should everyone follow?
Right now I like:
However, I find new inspiring accounts weekly.
YOUR LIFE SO FAR: SMOOTH SAILING OR OBSTACLE COURSE – A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PAST
Who was your first big love?
Leon. I was young and naive.
What's the single best realization you have ever had?
Work can be fun, it's okay to be different, and money doesn't make you happy. Money gives you security, opportunities, and makes some things easier. However, I have been the happiest when I have been broke as a duck. When happiness lives inside of you, you don't need money to chase it. You create your own story. You are free to change it. Decide that you are happy, and you'll get more of that and probably more out of life. If you decide to be unsatisfied with everything, then you'll never be able to discover all the wonderful things life can bring. It's basic law of attraction. It's simple, you become good at what you practice, whether that is being miserable or happy.
"Somehow, I managed to get accepted to the creative communication program, a program that only accepts 20 students a year, by drawing a huge dog shit on a piece of paper"
What's the best bad or crazy decision you have ever made? That moment that seemed so wrong but turned out so right. If you don't make bad or crazy decisions, have you then ever made a decision that changed your entire life?
My friends would say that I'm the champion of bad and crazy decisions. But in reality, they are not bad or crazy, just a bit unconventional. I live my life based on my intuition and my feelings – which tend to get me in the weirdest places and situations.
When I was 21, I lived in Jutland, and decided to apply to the Danish School of Media & Journalism. Somehow, I managed to get accepted to the creative communication program, a program that only takes 20 students a year, by drawing a huge dog shit on a piece of paper (We had to do an ad for dog food, and I panicked because I knew I couldn’t draw a dog - I wrote "Get more out of your dog!" next to the shit). With only a day’s notice, I had to uproot my life and find a place to live in Copenhagen, which is almost equivalent to finding a place to live in NYC. One and a half years later, I decided that studying advertising didn’t feel right, and I fought to be allowed to switch program and actually finished my degree in visual communication and graphic design instead.
During my studies, I met a lot of wonderfully creative and talented people, who unfortunately sucked at profiting from their talents. I figured that if I could balance both creativity and business, then I would be in a really good position. I applied to a master’s program at Copenhagen Business School in Management of creative business processes. CBS wasn’t initially fond of the idea of accepting someone with my creative background, but after FIVE months and EIGHT supplemental courses, they ran out of excuses and finally accepted me.
The last time I decided to go with my gut was when I asked my employer to be allowed to work remotely and for the commercial rights to my book. This request ended with me signing my own resignation as a consultant and saying goodbye to a steady paycheck. However, I have never been happier. Traveling and working remotely for the past eight months, developing my own concepts, and meeting the most fantastic people with similar mindsets around the world has been the greatest experience I’ve ever had, and I am sure l'll never regret this decision.
AND A LOT MORE ABOUT THE PRESENT
How are you, really? It's nice to check in every once in a while.
I'm ok – I think. I have to admit starting two businesses while trying to write a book at the same time is kind of nerve-racking, but I'm happy, and I love what I do. And that is the most important thing for me right now.
When are you the happiest?
When I travel, have the freedom to do what I love, and when I spend time with people I care about and who understands me. People that I don’t have to explain myself to all the time, where I can relax and be me. Also, when I dance and laugh. And there is something about sunrises and sunsets - they are calming and make you think that everything is going to be alright.
What scares you the most?
When I was a kid, I was terrified of dripping tabs, especially when I had to sleep. I was afraid that my family and I would drown. Fortunately, I have grown out of that. But I’m still scared of losing someone close to me.
What keeps you up at night these days?
Thinking about businesses and coding and how to do a freaking cookie banner that doesn’t look ugly as f*** and annoys people more than it protects them. And my financial situation. I have no idea if this will ever make me able to pay my rent. Right now, it certainly doesn’t.
Tell us one thing people would never know about you by just looking at you?
I don’t own a lot of things. I don’t have my own home. I don’t have any furniture. The things I have, have been stored for the past three years. Everything I have, basically fit into two bags, more or less. The freedom to travel and do whatever I want comes with a price.
What habit would improve your life?
A lot of habits would change my life for the better lol. But I think doing one thing at the time might be the most effective one. I tend to do multiple things at the same time – switching back and forth between tasks. I think it would help me become more focused and productive if I were able to actually finish one thing before starting another – but again, then I wouldn’t be me.
We all have qualities that don't really have any rhyme or reason. What is one thing you don't understand about yourself?
Oh, there are a lot of things I don't understand about myself. There is a famous saying by Aristotle "The more you know, the more you realize you don't know," and I think that's where I'm at, and that's okay – anything else would be boring.
What works for you at the moment, and what doesn’t?
The way I’m working right now works for me – I love that I’m in charge of my own time and can spend it all on my own projects. I feel more creative and energized than ever before and happy with what I do. On the other hand, my love life doesn’t work for me at all. It’s difficult to find someone, who understands, appreciates, and can keep up with, my popcorn brain, and whom I like in return.
When do you feel the most comfortable in your own skin?
When I travel. When I have a tan. When I prioritize to do good things for myself and the people I care about. When I’m able to take the time to meditate, do yoga, workout, check in on friends and family, and when I’m not surrounded by people focused on superficial and materialistic things.
What makes you feel insecure?
Being around people that I can’t read or understand and who seems to have an agenda that I can’t quite figure out. People with a bad vibe! When I feel insecure, I become quiet and not quite like myself.
AND OF COURSE, A SNEAK PEEK INTO THE FUTURE
"I feel at home in New York. It's hard to explain. Somehow the chaos makes me feel calm and I always end up in New York when there is something important in my life I need to figure. I'd say that I'm in an open relationship with New York; it's getting more and more serious every time I visit. Eventually, I might have to move there"
What's the best thing about the next thing you are during?
I'm going to New York to work and meet friends for a couple of weeks. I really look forward to experience the city during Christmas time. I feel at home in New York. It's hard to explain. Somehow the chaos makes me feel calm and I always end up in New York when there is something important in my life I need to figure. I'd say that I'm in an open relationship with New York; it's getting more and more serious every time I visit. Eventually, I might have to move there.
"Plans are worthless– but planning is everything" – Dwight D. Eisenhower. What does the future look like for you – what are your dreams and goals?
Right now, I try to take one day at a time. I hope that I will be able to travel again soon and that I will find love – when I am ready for it. I would like a small family at some point and become a mom. Not right now, that would be a mess, but in the future, when I have become a bit better at the whole self-care-thing. I hope that I'll manage to finish Popcorn Brain and find an agent and a publisher who believes in me as an author, that LULU—LAND will become a success and that I'll get the chance to work together with a lot of inspiring people on different creative projects.
ADVICE – EASY TO GIVE, HADER TO FOLLOW
What (or who) motivates you in difficult times?
My friends and family are a great support. But when the going gets tough, I get motivated by not knowing. Not knowing what will happen the next day, month, or year. Life in itself is ultimately too exciting to just give up and not find out what’s around the corner.
Good advice is priceless. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Instead of chasing happiness as a destination, decide to be happy now and look at happiness as a journey. If you decide that you’re happy, then that will make you attract more happiness. Once again, it’s that law of attraction.
"I often get compliments for my hair, my eyes, or my butt. But I really like it when people actually compliment my way of thinking or my loyalty to people I care about"
What is the kindest thing anyone ever said to you or the best compliment anyone ever gave you?
Oh, maybe that I’m a Popcorn Brain, meant positively. I often get compliments for my hair, my eyes, or my butt. But I really like it when people actually compliment my way of thinking or my loyalty to people I care about.
How do you heal a broken heart?
I have no idea. Like literally. You think you are going to die each time, and then all of a sudden, things are okay again, and you can breathe. Time is a strange thing. Allow yourself to be sad, don’t try to hide it, it’s okay to be heartbroken – it just means that you dared to put yourself out there, that you gave love a chance.
THE FORECAST – TRENDS AND TENDENCIES
What is going to be the next big thing? (concepts, businesses, ideas, mega trends, etc.)
I think we will start to hear a lot more about environmental sustainability, conscious consumption, minimalistic living, and how the way we are working is changing. The younger generations simply do not value the same things as our parents did, and that is going to create some interesting challenges. Young people do not want to spend their whole lives working just to make a living, they want a life, and they want the freedom and opportunity to spend that life in the best possible way. It’s more about finding your own path and figuring out what happiness means to you, I think…
We would love to find out about cool new places and things to do in your area. What are your favorite places? Where do you like to go to have fun?
Ever since I came home, I have been recommending everyone I know to go to Costa Rica and experience the raw and uncompromising nature. But I feel kind of ambiguous because the amazing thing was that the nature was so untouched. I know that will change if too many people travel there.
On LULU—LAND, we try to share our recommendations everywhere we go in our stories and highlights. Please follow :) We will be in NY in the coming weeks.
THE ONES THAT DIDN'T FIT INTO THE OTHER CATEGORIES
What is the most favorite, most useful, and most useless object you own, respectively?
Favorite object: My Passport
Most useful object(s): My Mac Book Pro, notebooks, and my Yantra Mat. (An acupressure mat that helps me sleep like a baby. This needs a short explanation, I know. An acupressure mat is a foam mat with thousands of very sharp, short needles. You sit, lie, or stand on the mat for anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes. I know it sounds like it would feel completely miserable, but I swear it feels FANTASTIC. It takes away the feeling of restlessness and makes your entire body relax.
Most useless object(s): Some might argue that would be my stones and crystals. But I like them.
What was the last thing you searched for on your phone? Be careful: you might be required to show proof.
The air train from JFK Airport to Jamaica Station – I hate spending money on transfer. I’d much rather spend it on food and having a good time.
Call or text? Which is better, and why?
Calls. Fewer misunderstandings.
What is your pet peeve?
Cats. I hate them! I’m sorry, but I do. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of stinginess.
What is the most interesting thing in your trash can?
Oh, I’ll have to check. 2 sec. It’s empty. My roomie must have taken it down again. I should start doing that more often. Now I feel bad.
You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it?
I love elephants! I would keep it for sure. I don’t know how, but I would find a way and name it Giraffe.
THE BIG ONES
What is the meaning of life?
I don’t think I have figured this one out yet. Hopefully, I’ll have time. It’s definitely something with love, people, and relations. Maybe the meaning is something we decide for ourselves. Figuring out what happiness is to you. I don’t think it is the same for all of us.
"For me, success is doing something I love, something I think is funny, and that makes me happy. By trying, I’m not failing – only learning"
Look, mom, I made it! – How do you define success?
In the continued act of trying and not giving up. I don’t believe in overnight success. For me, success is doing something I love, something I think is funny, and that makes me happy. By trying, I’m not failing – only learning. People tend to forget that “profitability” is only one parameter of success. I really like this quote from The Artist’s Way: “What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” – Julia Cameron.
THE FINAL TWO
Name three people you would like to answer these questions?
Steph O’ Labbe, Entrepreneur (Vancouver)
Joel Runyon, Entrepreneur and founder of Impossible® (Austin)
Tyler James Koenig, Copywriter (California)
How would you describe LULU—LAND?
It feels like I have answered this question a million times already, and I tend to explain it differently every time. I hope I’ll get better at this eventually or that someone else will be able to nail it for me. For now, I’ll just say that LULU—LAND is a wonderful creative mess.
WE LOVE TO CONNECT PEOPLE
NAME Louise Bøgeskov Hou
INSTAGRAM @lululand.io & @louisebhou
LINKEDIN Louisebhou & Lululand
PUBLISHED BY LULU—LAND
PHOTOS Private album