Elisabet and Christoph have a store, Formfalt, in Friedrichshain. Their products aim to let everyone be an artist. You can find different kits with various themes; you can find materials, tools and an introduction inside. It’s very suitable for people who want to create artwork but have no background knowledge. All the products are designed and made by themselves, and sold worldwide.
(Elisabet) I was born in a town in south Germany. As I grew up, members of my family kept moving to Berlin, and so I moved here, and my whole family is in Berlin now. (Christoph) I was born in Hamburg, but when I was 3 years old, we moved to Berlin, so I should be called Berliner as well (laugh).
Elisabet: I love Berlin! I feel at home here, here is my home, it’s really hard to give you a concrete reason.
Christoph: Generally speaking, Berlin is a city where you can do whatever you want, it’s a modern place. Whatever you wear, if you have a cool or horrible hairstyle, it all depends on you. Everybody is free to present oneself, I believe many people have mentioned it before. But when it comes to the feeling of liking Berlin, I think everyone has their own reason!
Simon-Dach-Straße is a street full of bars and clubs. If you visit here on Friday or Saturday night, it is full.
5. 地鐵站Warschauer Str. 在每天晚上的一點左右，會非常的熱鬧，許多人需要在U bahn和S bahn 轉車（需要走過一座橋來轉車），可能是正要去參加派對的人，或是剛結束派對要回家的人，總之是個有趣的景象。 還有在這個站的後面，就有一個叫做Rawpark的地方，那裡的牆上有數不盡的塗鴉，會不停地更換，還有啤酒花園，club，也是一個很不錯的好地方！
U / S bahn Warschauer Str. is very crowded when you visit here at 1:00 AM, some are just ready to go to party, some just finished partying or some are transfering between the Ubahn and Sbahn stations, it’s so full that you can’t imagine, such an interesting scene. Besides, behind this station, there is a park, Rawpark, you can find lots of street art there and they will keep evolving. Still, there are beer gardens and clubs, also quite good.
6. Treptower Park ，環線（Ringbahn）上的一個站，那個公園也非常的棒！
Treptower Park is a station on the Ringbahn. There is a park which is really nice, right next to the river.
7. Note of Berlin 一個專門拍路上張貼的廣告單的網站。柏林大概是全世界最愛貼公告的地方了，各種莫名其妙的公告都會有，你可能會在某間店前面看到“我們多買了啤酒，歡迎自取”，或是有人把烤麵包機就放在路上，並貼上：我的烤麵包機壞了，如果可以的話，請你幫我帶回去修，修好以後再放回來，謝謝。
Note of Berlin is a website where you can see photos of crazy notes found on the street. Berlin is probably the worlds number one city for posting notes about everything. You can find so many unbelievable flyers, such as “we bought too many beers, feel free to take it ” or someone just put his broken toaster on the street with a paper saying: my machine is broken, if it is possible, please repair it and bring it back to me again, thanks.
Formfalt is almost 10 years old. At the very beginning, we didn’t have a shop or a website. We designed and made products, then sold them in some bookstores or museum shops. About 4 years ago, we built our website and online shop. Until 2 years ago, we wanted to separate our studio from home, thus, we decided to have a shop, like a showroom. Basically, not many customers will visit here, but there are still some customers, they will come specifically here, we are really moved. Once a mother brought her children to Berlin only for a 3 day trip, and we were on her to go list! And the customer who just left, he bought our products in a museum shop, and then he contacted us. Now he is a frequent customer here. Since we have had this showroom, sometimes we have visits from the media.
I personally love the products that you have, they are quite varied. You have painting, sculpture, paper cut, printing, etc. You also have different themes including art movements and artists. How did you decide to combine them?
It is not always the same rule. Sometimes we design a product based on the chosen material, or we develop a new product due to a new exhibition in a museum. Because we design and produce all the products by ourselves, every new product takes at least 3 months to prepare.
What’s interesting is initially our target group were adults, but we found out that many adults buy our products as a gift for kids. When the users are kids, the material and safety considerations are very important, so now we have a new series for kids.
We also sell products that are finished for exhibitions.
Of course we both have what we like to do and dislike. We pick up first what we like to do, the rest we negotiate and do it. There is one principle that we strictly follow: the beginning of product development belongs to only one person. (Christoph) I always want to control everything when it is about products. I would want to tell her what she should do, but of course she has her own ideas. We discuss only when the basic form is decided.
Do you have any tips for running your own business?
包裝很重要，很多時候這會是決定商品銷售量的關鍵，但是因為我們只是小公司，所以很多東西我們就必需要去妥協，不過下一個新商品的包裝有做了新的設計，可以拭目以待！Package design is really important for marketing. However, we are just a small company, sometimes we need to compromise with the packaging. But our next product will have new package design, just wait and see!
Be aware of the season! We read Süddeutsch(newspaper) and art magazines. The news about art and exhibitions are really important for us. If there is any topic that is suitable for our products, we will connect with them actively. Internet is also important, as we just started our business, we send our catalogue via email.
Not yet, we participate regularly in conventions, and sometimes we met distributors from Asia who have interest in our products, but probably it is due to the differences in values or culture, most of them want to buy our products with a lower price but high volume, which we can’t accept. When we are doing our business, 90% are fun for us, When we work, 90% is for fun. we don’ t earn a lot but enough, we don’t chase higher profit. Besides, there are only two of us who work, this kind of order overloads us with work for an amount of money that is not worthwhile.
I’m so touched from their story. A worldwide business doesn’t need to be a super big company, two person is still possible, you can even produce them at home, as long as you do your best, with your whole heart and stick to it.
After finishing my study to become a makeup artist, I visited my brother in Berlin, and then I fell in love with Berlin, so I moved here, and found a job here. At first I worked in theater, then I started to work in the film industry.
Of course, I love this city; it’s a city full of imagination, fantasy and challenges. It is a flexible, changeable and sensitive city. I like Kreuzberg, where I live now; it is still young and has many possibilities.
For hobbies, I play violin in an orchestra, but the purpose to join is not for any performance in the end, but to play together, enjoying the process. We help each other to be better; you can find many of this kind of group here. I also go to Latin dance class. It’s also a very interesting activity.
Besides, Tip Berlin was my bibles for life, because I love music and art so much, and you can find many art activities inside. But thanks to the technology, all the information can be found in Internet.
What happened? What led you to change your life journey?
I worked as a makeup artist for 20 years, and then due to some problem with my health, I found treatment by this massage amazing and efficient. My health became better again, but the pressure from working in the film industry is unbelievably heavy, so I thought, it’s time for me to do something different. Therefore I started to build my own massage space, and till now it has been about 7 years. When I worked in my massage space, I always supplied tea and snacks as well. Then, I started to think, what else can I supply and what matches with the massage space? So, a tea shop is the next shop I opened. Besides selling good quality tea, I offer tea, coffee, and cakes as well (all handmade). It’s very easy to have a shop in Berlin; I found this place very fast and the process for applying for a license is done within 2 hours.
It seems you have always lived in Berlin, do you ever think about living in another city?
Of course there were many chances for me to live in other cities when I still worked in the film industry, but I love Berlin too much.
Who are your customers? I thought that most Germans drink coffee.
Huge, the Berlin at that time was full of old women without husbands, and the city was extremely lonely and empty. After the wall came down, Berlin started a different life, very colorful and evolving, and it still changes.
I find you are a thoughtful and ambitious person, can you tell us your next goal?
我是一個非常喜歡接受挑戰而且獨立的人，我會一直給自己設定新的目標，但是那並不是像我有一個什麼計劃，而是我憑著我的直覺，順著那個感覺去走，所以下一個階段我還不能告訴你囉！I’m someone who loves challenges and independent. I keep giving myself new targets for life, but it is not like I have a plan to do something. Instead, I follow my intuition and my feelings, so I can’t tell you what my next stage is yet!
Haha, then, the last question, what’s your advice for fighting winter depression?
The day are short, the night are long, it means, it’s time to stay home and bake cakes and cookies!