Friday, December 6, 2013

Living in Berlin x interview 017: the true story about making the world beautiful and creative.

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.

Why are you in Berlin?

(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).

Do you like Berlin?

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!

Tips for Berlin?

1. 如果你喜歡藝術,喜歡文化,那你就不能錯過柏林的博物館,就從博物館島開始逛吧,還有在zoo那裡的攝影博物館。
If you like art and culture, then you cannot miss the museums in Berlin. You can start from the museum island, and there is a museum of photography near S bahn Zoologischergarten.

2. 每個禮拜天下午大概兩點到四點左右,都會有一個騎著腳踏車的男人,帶著卡啦ok的道具在Mauerpark開唱,大家都可以上台去唱,只要你敢。
Every Sunday afternoon (around pm 14-16 ) , there is a man who will ride his bike with equipment for karaoke to Mauerpark. If you dare, you can sing on stage as well.

3. 柏林有很多地方都可以租借到腳踏車,這是一個很好的方式來認識柏林,最好的方式不是告訴你去哪去哪,而是你隨心所欲地在大街小巷裡面穿梭,你會感受到的。 
It is easy to rent a bike in Berlin. It is a nice way to get to know Berlin. Instead of following set directions, you will get a sense of this city just by following your nose.

4. Simon-Dach-Straße 這是一條充滿餐廳還有bar/club的街道,如果你週五或週末晚上來,這裡整個都會是滿的。 
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. 

Can you tell us the story of Formfalt?

Formfalt已經快要滿十歲了,一開始我們沒有店面,也沒有網站,我們把商品做出來,然後先在店家或是博物館的商店販售,大概四年前我們架設了網路商店,直到兩年多前,我們決定把工作室跟家分開來,於是決定開一間屬於自己的店,有點像是展間的模式。基本上這裡的顧客並不是很多,不過有一些顧客會特地前來,這點讓人很感動。有一個媽媽帶著小孩來柏林三天而已,但是特地安排要來我們店裡看看,還有一個剛剛走的客人,他就是先在博物館的商店看到我們的東西,之後電話聯絡,後來就成為我們的常客了。每當有客人來的時候我們都會很開心地上前介紹(我有感受到!) 開了店以後,陸續也有平面媒體來訪問過。
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.

How did you delegate tasks

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.

Lead time and schedule  are also important. When we get an order, we will send it on time. It is important to make sure the customer gets the products on time.

Have you ever thought about have a shop in Asia? like Taiwan, Japan, or China? Because I would be happy if I could buy your products in Taiwan.

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.

Transportation is another issue for us, there is no big problem to transport within Europe, but when it is to Asia, the time and the shipping costs are comparable to the products’ price.

還有就是我們對於亞洲的認識實在是太少了,那裡的博物館,文化,逛博物館的群眾類別我們都不熟悉,所以或許還需要一點時間。We know too little about Asia. We have no impression about the culture, the museums, and who is going. We still need some time.


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.



Colbestrasse 18
D-10247 Berlin

tel +49(0)30-44 04 32 49


Living in Berlin 
about / 001 / 002 / 003 / 004 / 005 / 006007 / 008 /009 / 010
011012013014 /015 / 016 / 017 / 018 / 019020 / 021 / 022 / 023 
 024 / 025

No comments:

Post a Comment