Hi Nina, can you tell me a little bit about what High Heaven is all about, the who, what and where? High Heaven’s first feature is a worldwide event mapping tool with which users can find and post their next adrenaline adventure. We have events in 23 different action sports and we list both events and spots. Our users can filter and customize the map to show relevant hits: camps, competitions, festivals, meetups, try-outs, places – events big and small are welcome at High Heaven. We list “female only” and “mixed” events, but no events that don’t welcome women. How did it come into being? I started sketching out the plans for High Heaven a few years ago, simply because I was tired of the industry not moving fast enough when it came to equality. It had bugged me for a while that most action sports were aimed at men only, and that very few action sports companies were founded and run by women. By giving women credit as the huge purchasing power that they can be in the market, we help speed up the process towards equality and diversity. I started doing research on the topic, realized that this was something I wanted to help change and definitely saw the need in the market, so I simply quit my job and became an entrepreneur for the first time in my life. Since then it’s been hard but fun work building up the business and getting enough funding and support to keep going. I can definitely say it’s been a tough journey to get to launch, but it’s all worth it for sure. When I talk to any woman who has dared to take the step towards an active lifestyle, my heart just glows. Some of the See&Do team were part of an exhibition you put together for ISPO in Munich. What was the motivation for the exhibition? I had wanted to do a norm-critical photo campaign about women and diversity in action sports since I started in 2012, and suddenly the timing was just right. The name #BodiesOfAction was inspired by a similar digital campaign that was done in Sweden’s tech industry: #FacesOfTech. I gathered 25 of the world’s greatest female action sports photographers and asked for their best photos of women in action sports, images that celebrated the reality and diversity that’s really out there – the calluses, the sweat, the real faces and feelings of active women, not just passive bodies. The campaign is a tribute to diversity with the purpose of showing that anyone can fit the image of an action sport athlete. The industry needs to showcase more diverse role models, not more stereotypical bikini models. Each image has the photographer’s and the athlete’s story to go with it. It’s truly amazing and inspirational. 2 of the Images from the #BodiesOfAction Campaign What’s ISPO? ISPO is the world’s largest sports trade show, held in Munich every year. It’s a great place for sports and business! This year High Heaven showcased a few of the photos from the campaign IRL, kicking off the digital campaign. We shared a booth with Skullcandy Womens, 7sky magazine, WIB and BoardOfMedia, all really rad initiatives! What actually happens at events like ISPO? What does a day at ISPO look like? Well, it depends what your purpose for being there is, but this is basically where the industry connects to do business. The brands showcase their upcoming collections, buyers make their orders, marketers get a vibe of upcoming trends, speakers address issues that the industry is facing and innovations and new products are exhibited. There’s also a very festive and social atmosphere, and at night the parties are over the top. What was the reaction to the exhibition and some of the images? I’m so extremely proud to say that the support has been great; people were curious about the images, and there were dialogues about why the images were different from the mainstream stuff. I have gotten a ton of positive feedback regarding the stories too – e-mails from women saying that they have been pushed to try the things that they have wanted to do for so long. And that’s massive. What’s next for High Heaven? I’m looking for one or more co-founders and/or collaborative partners to help me scale up to the pace that I want to and that High Heaven deserves! But basically we have done a lot of tech development and testing, and now have a beta version out, so we need to start selling to event organizers and market the site. It’s not easy without funding and resources, but we have come this far by bootstrapping, so I’m sure grit and hard work will get us there. What can people do to get involved and support you? Easy: Check us out, like and follow us on social media, sign up, help as ambassadors and spread the word – join the fight for more female adrenaline! This is what we all need to do to change the action sports industry – take that little step, a few minutes of your time towards supporting the causes that you like, be it projects, products or meetups.
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