Meet Evija Kranate, Juris Lieliskais Daugulis and Mare - a creative Latvian family, who has been living in Odense for the past three years.
Juris is a tattoo shop manager at Elektrisk tatovering and might seem familiar from a Youtube channel Tattoo Shop Talk. While Evija presents herself as a full time mom, she is actually an owner of Divas Divas - handmade accessories for adults and clothes for children.
While the baby Mare was taking her sweet afternoon nap, we sat down to talk about family life in Denmark, creative moments and future plans.
How did you end up here on this sofa, in Odense?
Juris: I got a job offer. I knew some people who were working here and when the previous manager was leaving the place, they recommended me. We came to visit the tattoo shop and the city, had the opening party and then I started working here.
I have been around tattooing since forever. I do piercings, I have tried and learned tattooing and for the last two years I am more into it as well.
What do you enjoy the most about being the manager of the tattoo shop?
Juris: I get to meet a lot of people, hear some interesting stories and it is a lot about the environment - it is chilled, but you have to keep in mind a lot of things. It is a tattoo shop so it is dealing with blood, needles and high hygiene requirements. That is why we made the tattoo related channel, so we could talk about serious things with humour.
When did you get your first tattoo?
Evija: I spent my first salary on my first tattoo when I was eighteen. I had a deal with my dad that we will do it together, but I did it first.
Juris: I was seventeen years old. I remember hiding my tattoos from my mom, until I was twenty. However, one summer I got a tattoo on my leg and could not hide it anymore. My mom could not believe it was real, she had to rub it to make sure. Now she gave up: she does not know which one is new and which one is old.
Do you still count how many tattoos do you have?
Juris: No, not any more. Last time I counted was maybe 5 years ago and there were around forty tattoos on my body. With time and new tattoos they connect and overlay...
I used to be all about “you have to sit through the process, feel the pane”, but I do not enjoy the process that much any longer. Lately I am getting smaller tattoos, which are more spontaneous.
What are you both going to say to Mare when she will ask for the first tattoo?
Evija: I think she will be surprised that not all the people are so colourful. She actually already started experimenting with colours on her body with paint. There is only one rule - she can’t paint on her face. If she wants one, then she will have to wait to be 18.
Juris: Maybe she will be so much around the tattoo world that she will not be event excited about it. I am glad that I did not get my tattoos, when I wanted my first tattoos.
Let us talk about your handmade accessories, Evija. How did it all started?
Evija: We were two friends who started Divas Divas in 2008, later we decided to go separate ways. Then Mare came into the picture and I started creating clothes for kids. At the beginning I told Juris that I do not want to be the mom who does all these kids things. But it just happened.
When I was expecting Mare I decided to make at least one thing for her, and so the first baby coat was born. People saw it on social media, and it just spreaded.
Juris: Now it is still two divas - the bigger one and the little one.
Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you?
Evija: My mom was a tailor for all of her life and she used to create things for me. As well as my grandmother was knitting as far as I can remember. I never thought I could do it, because I saw how much time and work it takes.
One day my mom told me “create something for yourself, you know how to do things” and so I started creating small things for myself and realised that computer design studies was not really my thing. I did not want to sit in front of the computer, I wanted to be able to touch the materials I am working with. I think computer design studies gave me lots of knowledge about colours and how to match them. All those experiences came together and that is where I am now.
Juris: Usually when we are walking around Odense and there is a building and a tree with colourful leafs next to it, Evija just snaps a picture and uses it for inspiration.
Is it a challenge to bring all those colours into the society where people dress mostly in black and grey?
Evija: Maybe yes. Though people are trying different colours, most of them choose black and white. Of course many clients trust and like my colour combinations, so I can customize the accessories for them.
What are your future projects and plans? What are you working on?
Evija: Now the biggest upcoming project is taking part at the H.C Andersen Christmas Market, where I will be present with Divas Divas. But I have promised that next year I will be focusing more time working on Divas Divas website, blog and the project in general. My dream is to have a little store where I could sell the handmade accessories and custom made designs.
Your family have been living in Odense for almost three years. How is life as international family here, what do you enjoy the most?
Evija: Odense is a small city and, I think, that was one of the best decisions we made to move here.
Juris: It is small and kind of slow city, though I personally do not enjoy the “slow” part so much, that is why it is good for families. Everything is close by and it is safe, not too many people or traffic. Also the international environment is great, such as all the before and after baby groups for international moms, so you know you are not alone here.
I know you started doing family vlogs about your life in Odense and holidays, I guess it was your idea, Juris?
Juris: Yes. I like videos, gadgets and editing. First, I started Tattoo Shop Talk channel at work, for everything tattoo work related. Then the family vlogs started. We always call our families on Skype and tell them what we did throughout the week. My mom, for example, is not very much into technologies, so I always send pictures to my sister, and she shows them to my mom. One day I thought - let’s make a video and let's make it in English, so if someone else finds it, they could get to know something.
Evija: We are a part of Gro Odense gardening group, and this is an example of what we try to show in our videos. There are many locals who do not know that gardening activities like that exist in Odense.
Juris: We are trying to put some useful information in our videos. While living here we found out many tips we think we can share with other international families in Odense.
See for yourself!
Find family vlogs on Juris' Youtube channel. More of the family life in pictures - here & here.
Meet Evija at HC Andersen Julemarked in Odense. All the colourful accessories and baby clothes we talked about hides at Divas-Divas Instagram and Facebook.
Tattoo Shop Talk happens here, more from Juris' work at the studio - on his Instagram.