Born in Denmark, Niels Bendtsen and his family immigrated to Canada in 1951. In place of a formal design education, he trained as an apprentice for his father, who designed and built Scandinavain furniture. Through working with his father, Bendtsen gained valuable skills and a respect for non-industrial, hand-built traditions, but he was also intrigued by new technologies and ways to satisfy incresing demand. Between 1963 and 1972, Bendtsen had his own retail store where he sold his father's furniture, as well as imported Scandinavian designs. He designed small items for the store, but it wasn't until he was in his early thirties that he truly began designing furniture. Dissatisfied with the quality and limited functionality of the furniture he received from his overseas manufacturers, Bendtsen sold his store, moved to Europe and became a full time designer.