About Solvej Swings
What are we
HOLMSÄTER is a manufacturer, wholesaler and direct mail order company making and selling high quality canvas and wood swings.
Started when and where
HOLMSÄTER was established 1993 in the village of Matiere in the heart of the King Country in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand.
Jennifer Irene Etherington (New Zealand) and Thomas Holmsäter Mortimer (Sweden).
We, Jenny and Thomas, met in Western Australia in 1986. We made our living for a few years by making and selling jewelry inspired by Same craft from northern Scandinavia. We traveled between Sweden and New Zealand and visited many places on the way. A few month before our daughter Solvej was born we settled in rural New Zealand in Jenny's home village Matiere. In the rural areas you often have to create your own work. As a cabinetmaker and craft teacher Thomas had a dream of his own workshop. Thomas was inspired by a wooden lazy-boy chair he saw at a potters home in east Thailand, an old self-reclining deck chair in the home of a kakelugnsmakare in Sweden and a deck chair from India and from that he combined and developed designs on a selfreclining-foldaway-deckchair with a sunshade and a hanging version of the same. A workshop was set up in a former church. During a visit to friends we discovered that Solvej, 5-month-old at the time, loved swinging. Not being able to find a swing we liked on the market (most of them moulded plastic) we made her a canvas baby swing ourselves. This swing turned out to be attractive to other parents too and a decision was made to go in to production. From there it has grown and is still growing.
Business philosophies and principals.
As individuals we want the products we use and are surrounded with to be of high quality (A) and we want to buy them for a fair price (B). We also care for the environment (C) and we like to contribute to society (D) in more ways than just working and paying taxes. These principals are also the principals HOLMSATER is operating by.
A: High Quality
Number one in high quality is good craftsmanship. This leads to a good quality product for the customer, and also gives work satisfaction. We believe in continually developing the skills of all people involved in our business. That is not enough though. A good craftsman also needs good materials. We believe in using the highest quality materials, tempered with control over price, insuring the product will be long lasting. Good design is also an important part of high quality. Products need to function well and be attractive to the eye.
B: Fair price
We believe in a fair price for all involved from consumer to deliverer-seller-"makers" (staff and factory)-providers of raw materials-"Creators" (founder of business, investors and designer) down to the community who provides the infrastructure. Looking at what's happening today it seems like one or more of those involved get unfairly squeezed.
Holmsäter endeavour to have a just and fair pricing on all parts in the chain that we are in control of.
C: Care for the environment
As individuals and a family we try to live in a decent balance with nature since we are an integral part of and are dependent on the whole of creation. A business is no different and has to operate and live according to the same rules and principals. In our business we are trying to find a balance between old knowledge and wisdom and new discoveries and technical advancement. The materials we use, wood, cloth and rope, have been used for thousands of years and therefore feels very familiar and natural to us. In our choice of materials we are faced with the challenge that we want them to be durable outside as well as inside and be easy care for the busy modern lifestyle.
The choice of timber has to fulfil the criteria of being naturally weather durable to avoid chemical treatment with the pollution that can come with that. It also has to come from a planted or sustainable source so we are not part of the depletion of indigenous forests anywhere in the world. We have so far used macrocarpa a timber introduced to New Zealand by the European farmer who used it as shelterbelts.
We also use Matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia), a native and endemic tree to NZ. The Matai we use is salvaged timber from around Tokaroa where they logged the natives and planted pine trees in the early seventies. At the time they left a lot of logs that was thought of as not valuable. Now when the first lot of pines are being harvested these native logs are being salvaged.
The choice of fabric was difficult because of the fact it had to be suitable for outdoors as well as indoors. After careful consideration we decided to use on our standard swings a green 100% acrylic canvas (with a 5-year manufacturers guarantee from fading) because it is rotproof. It is also very easy care. This seems to be where the outdoor furniture, awning and marine industries are going too. Unfortunately cotton production seem to need a lot of pesticide during the growing period, but cotton and particularly hemp are alternatives for those who only use the swing inside or take it inside under damp conditions if used outside (which is easy with the carbine hooks). We make swings in other materials and colours on order.
The rope we use on our standard swings is a NZ made soft high performance polyesteryachting braid. We decided on a synthetic rope because it does not rot or go mouldy and polyester has good UV resistance and is strong.
We use a non-toxic acrylic water bound paint.
D:Contribution to society
We like to contribute to society in more ways than just working and paying taxes. To be a healthy and happy individual we believe that one must have not only the goal to look after oneself and ones family but also have unselfish goals which are outside of and bigger than oneself. We think the same principal applies for a business to be healthy and truly prosperous. We believe that the countryside is the place for the soul and the city the place for the body. The employment opportunities in the country are getting less and less since the modern farming industry needs fewer people. We think one of the best ways to halt and hopefully reverse the urbanization trend, and give people a real choice to live in the country, is for other industries to establish themselves in the rural area. To create employment in the rural area is one of the aims and goals that guide and drives Holmsäter.
Babies and children love to swing.
Swinging has really great benefits for your baby and child.