The Story of MUN

– is one of Passion, Curiosity, Respect, Dignity, Design and Craftsmanship.

For a man to accentuate his identity with a keen eye for style and detail is not limited by class or status. Indeed, why not be the best-dressed guy in the room? 

Striving to build a locally rooted brand with an international scope, Men Up North represents a wide, but deeply specialized selection of classical men’s jewellery pieces and accessories – most of them with a twist, all conceived with a keen eye for even the smallest detail. 

Men Up North was officially launched in september of 2017, and was created – and is run by – jewellery designer & lead creative Thor Høy, together with his wife and MUN CEO Marianne Poulsen. To help them realize their vision they employ a diverse team of highly skilled professionals. These are the values and practices upon which the brand, and the company, stands. 

A sustainable DNA

Integrating sustainable practices into the development of MUN was always natural. The idea never appeared, because it was always there – it’s a part of who we are, as people. 

Support the local craftsman

Building the skills of a craft takes generations, and in our business, some of the core crafts are centuries old. The skills can, however, disappear if they aren’t nurtured. After just a few decades without jobs in an area, the craftsmanship may be gone. This is part of the reason why we make an effort to find local craftspeople. Another part is the magic that occurs when the designer and the craftsman work closely together, feeding off each others’ skills and energy to create more, better and faster results. 

Designed for legacy

The jewellery of Men Up North is made to span generations and be passed on from fathers to sons. The designs embody a timeless relevance and are crafted with durability in mind. This is also connected to the issue of craftsmanship. Lead MUN creative Thor Høy was himself a carpenter in his younger days, a craft which – when done right – is about quality work made to last. Today, every MUN piece is created with that same idea, because to us, that’s a great part of what sustainability is all about. 

Let’s design things so we won’t get tired of looking at them. To make people happy every time they’re taken out or put on. To me, that’s what sustainability is all about! – Thor Høy

We care about the planet, and the people living on it

Responsible sourcing is at the core of our business. We know how working conditions and ressource extraction have adverse effects on people and the environment  – and we make an effort to reduce Men Up North’s footprint in these areas as much as possible. Using and supporting local craftspeople are also part of this effort, as it helps us maintain a clearer view of our supply chain. Whether local or not, however, we are conscious about making responsible and ethical choices concerning our suppliers, so that we may offer our customers the style they deserve in a sustainable way. In fact, we feel it makes our products even cooler. 

The company

We have a vision for ourselves, too…

MUN is a company built on openness and trust and a desire to do a proper good job on all levels. Every employee has a right to feel valued and trusted, and to feel that they have every opportunity, and every reason, to do great work – we want everyone to want to get MUN under their skin. We’re a young business, we aspire to break new paths, and the ideas for how to do things in new ways may come from anywhere; our employees, managers, the customers, our partners.

We want to hold on to this vision as a practical, dynamic everyday reality, and stay open to the value it brings. 

Customer Service

To each and every one of our customers: We appreciate you. Every single one of our customers deserves to feel welcome, understood and accommodated. You are the legs we stand on, and it will always be our aim to go above and beyond mere obligations and formal responsibilities. 

Is the customer always right? Maybe not – after all, we’re the professionals around here. But we feel obligated and privileged to put our skills and knowledge to work for you. We are at your service. To us, your experience with Men Up North is at the very heart of our business, and every single member of the MUN staff family will be empowered to give you an experience of authenticity and understanding. 

Our materials

The many different materials that go into creating a collection of jewellery are an important part of the MUN story. Every material has its own characteristics and boundaries – we always want to push those boundaries, but doing it meaningfully requires deep knowledge of the material. We keep counsel with the foremost experts, and look for suppliers who are inline with our vision of sustainability, as well as adhering to national legislation and  international guidelines, standards & practices regarding the care for our planet and its people.

Note: If you’re looking for material care & maintenance, you will find it here >>

Metals

We use exclusively 18 K gold and 925 silver for our jewellery, supplied to us by companies carefully selected for their experience and reputation.

Given our view on sustainability we generally avoid metal plating. Neither the plating process itself nor the fact that platings wear off is very sustainable, which is why we choose to use this method only when we find it to be an acceptable compromise for production reasons.
We would greatly prefer to use ethically mined precious metals. Unfortunately, the existing systems are not yet geared for supplying a commercial jewellery brand with an international scope like MUN. As soon as they are, we’re ready!

Diamonds

White  – every white diamond in the MUN collection is a laboratory-grown rock. This means that it’s a completely genuine, real diamond, except that we’ve replaced the arduous and tainted process of digging it out of the earth with a properly 21st century, highly specialized, controlled, fine-tuned process taking place in diamond greenhouses, using amazing hi-tech equipment instead of hard labor and heavy machinery.

It should be noted that there’s nothing artificial about the stone itself. It’s tempting to think that maybe diamonds like this will be assembly-line clones of each other – but the reality is that even under controlled conditions, growing a diamond is an extremely sensitive, variable process. Each stone still displays its own, unique impurities, just like naturally-occuring diamonds. Laboratory-grown diamonds have exactly the same chemical composition, hardness, density and optic characteristics as natural diamonds and are graded, by international gem-certification labs, in the same way as natural diamonds. The only difference is the origin.

Quite simply, the massive pollution and negative human impact of diamond mining are not part of the MUN story that we want to tell. This is why we’ve decided to use lab-grown diamonds. 

Black – our black stones are earth-mined, treated white diamonds. These are stones which have been mined for jewellery use, but have too many inclusions to be suitable. They can, however, be given a heat treatment that turns them into these cool little black, opaque rocks, which we find work spectacularly well to add contrast, exclusivity and an odor of manliness to our jewellery. Also, since this is a way of refining mined stones otherwise not suited for jewellery use, we find this to be a way of reaching a higher degree of exploitation of already-mined diamonds. We’re still not totally happy with the fact that they’re earth mined, however – we’re still on the lookout for alternatives.

Leather

All our leather is sourced from european hides and processed in accordance to international standards on quality and environmental impact. We buy from suppliers with a strong focus on the well-being of their employees as well and who make an ongoing effort to improve technologies for the benefit of people and the environment.

The leather we use is processed in Italy and is certified “Eco-friendly” by the Italian association of tanneries. “Eco-friendly” means that the tanning process employs natural substances derived from chestnuts, moss, tree bark etc., rather than the strong, noxious chemicals usually found in tanning vats. Our leather products are aniline dyed, which produces a deeper, longer-lasting finish, ensuring the kind of longevity we desire.

Turning the leather into products all takes place in Denmark, in a lovely combination of craftsmanship and modern production techniques.

Wood

We use various exotic woods in the collection, all of which is acquired from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forestry. After all, our chief designer’s background is in carpentry – the wellbeing of the world’s woodlands have always been a near consideration. We’ve engaged in supporting Earth’s rainforests through “Forests of the World”, a Denmark-based NGO, supporting their rainforest certificate program which protects and maintain forest areas around Rio San Juan in Nicaragua. 

Our future goal is to have our own rain forest conservation project through “Forests of the World”.

Mammoth Tooth

As possibly the only positive consequence of the man-made climate changes, the thawing of the glaciers and permafrost in Yakutsk in northern Siberia is revealing huge mammoth “graveyards”, with thousands of carcasses having been preserved in the ice for millennia. There’s so many of them, their ivory has become a sustainable alternative to the much-coveted elephant ivory.

The trade of mammoth ivory is completely legal, and since the animals are already long since extinct, it has no impact on the ecosystem. Sadly, as is often the case, unscrupulous people sometimes try to exploit an otherwise beneficial arrangement, trying to use the legal mammoth ivory trade as cover for illegally poached ivory. Our supplier is experienced in the field, however, and issues the German “Certificate of Origin” on request.

Packaging

When it comes to packaging we are still looking for the perfect solution. We would love to offer you Men Up North’s jewellery in cool and sustainable packaging, though still in line with our aesthetic DNA. We’re working on it, and have surprisingly found it to be a bit more of a challenge than we expected to find the right supplier. Got any suggestions? Then please call or write us – we’re eager to move forward on this!

Print

Yes, that too. Making printed material in the form of business cards, posters, lookbooks, catalogues, postcards and other visual material quickly adds up to a lot of paper and toner. That’s why we also take great care in choosing our supplier of printed material, assuring proper policies and initiatives concerning the environment and the people they work with.

Find us

Men Up North ApS
Dagmarsgade 10A
DK-2200-N Copenhagen
Denmark

CVR/VAT no.: 38187767

+45 2670 4312
contact@menupnorth.dk

Thor Høy – founder, lead designer – th@menupnorth.dk
Marianne Poulsen – founder, administration, sales – mp@menupnorth.dk
Jesper Friis – photo, graphics – jf@menupnorth.dk
Jesper Wille – customer experience manager – jw@menupnorth.dk

Our founder – bio

Into the world of jewellery

The journey began when Thor Høy met a person of much warmth and openness – an expert craftsman known as Søren Silversmith. “He trusted in my ability and determination, and taught me to work with the kind of people who love what they do” – Søren, a master of wax carving and a true genius at proportioning, created the first silver Trollbead, and urged Thor to work with the company as well. This has led to many a lovely Trollbead from Thor’s hand, each with its own, unique story. 

Working with (more of) the best

In 2011 Thor started working with internationally renowned brand House Georg Jensen, doing product development and design in the jewellery division. A few years later, having extensively proven his sense of form, concept development and construction, the opportunity arose for Thor to start creating his own signature collections, particularly for the revival of GJ’s men’s line – jewellery, watches and accessories.

The next few years were a time of learning, working with world-class craftsmen – gold- and silversmiths, stone setters and chasers as skilled as any on the planet. Georg Jensen manufactures silverware up to and beyond the million-kroner mark and has traditionally employed only the best. As well as gaining invaluable knowledge about the craft and design, Thor also absorbed extensive experience working in this field, getting insight into the politics of such an organisation, working the process, dealing with everything from development, sourcing and quality control to PR, visual merchandising and customer service.

– and then the time had finally come…

In the summer of 2015, the year of his 40th birthday, it was time to move on. Thor yearned to get back to the life of entrepreneurship and being his own master, and had long held a dream of a gent’s brand of jewellery and accessories all of his own. Sometimes, though, you have to catch an outfielder – out of the blue, our boy was headhunted for a position as in-house product designer by the multi-brand design house Rosendahl Group, holding such brands as Holmegaard, Kaj Bojesen etc. Another year full of learning followed, exposing the secrets of glass-making, porcelain, injection-molded plastic, and wood. During this period Thor frequently spent time in China, visiting suppliers and gaining further insight into the ins and outs of a large, diverse international organisation like this.  

The dream of jewellery for men was still there, though, and the pull of it too strong to be quelled, even as new knowledge and experience poured into his head – and so it came to be that, as 2016 ran towards a close, Thor made the transition to external designer for Rosendahl, and assembled the team he needed around him to launch MEN UP NORTH.  

– and the rest is history that’s still being written…

Thor Høy – Blue Book

A designer since the early 00’s, Thor is a creative at heart, originally with an emphasis on furniture and lighting, getting his first commercial breakthrough with his radiant Escher pendant.Originally a builder and carpenter by trade – and later a product developer with a speciality in design from the Copenhagen Academy for Design and Technology – he also had some career stretches where we destroyed stuff, blowing things up as a demolitions engineer in the Danish armed forces, and smashing innocent and defenseless fruits and vegetables into delicious juices and smoothies in his own juice bar by the Copenhagen lakes. 

Men Up North ApS    +45 2670 4312    contact@menupnorth.dk