Friday, December 6, 2013

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



Elisabet和Christoph,在Friedrichshain經營一間店,Formfalt。他們的產品主要是希望讓每一個人都可以成為藝術家。在這裡,你可以找到許多不同的組合,針對不同的主題,裡面有不同的材料,手工具,還有簡單的說明。非常適合想要試試看自己創作,但是並沒有很多背景知識的人。所有的產品都是他們自己設計/製作/包裝,銷售範圍涵蓋全球。
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.


為什麼在柏林?
Why are you in Berlin?

Elisabet:來自南德的小鎮,後來隨著家人陸續搬往柏林,自己也搬來了,最後所有的家人都搬到柏林來了。Christoph:來自漢堡,三歲就舉家搬遷來到柏林,所以我應該也可以說是柏林人吧(笑)。
(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).


喜歡柏林嗎?
Do you like Berlin?

Elisabet:我愛柏林!這是一種家的感覺,這裡就是我的家鄉,很難具體的是說為什麼。Christoph:概略地說的話,大概就是柏林是一個你做什麼都可以的地方,很現代的地方,你穿什麼走在路上,你髮型很好看或很醜,隨便你,沒有人會在意,大家都有高度的自由,可以展現自己,我想這個應該大家都會提到,不過喜歡的這種感覺,我想每個人都不一樣,但是我想你也懂(我當然懂!)
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!


有什麼柏林指南嗎?
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. 




Formfalt是怎麼成長的?
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.



你們設計的東西都很有趣,可是涉獵範圍超級廣,主題包含了不同的藝術派別還有藝術家,使用的手法有畫圖/雕塑/組合/拼貼/印刷/攝影...,是怎麼決定主題和手法的?
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?

這個其實很不一定,有的時候我會看到一個材料,想著我無論如何都要用它做一個商品出來,有的時候剛好相反,可能是配合博物館展覽的主題進行發想,因為所有的商品都是我們自己設計,然後全部自己製作,所以每一個新產品最快都需要2-3個月來發展。
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.

我們的商品一開始是設計給大人的,但是後來發現許多大人都會買了送給小孩,再加上給小朋友的東西必須要特別注意材質還有安全性,於是我們開始設計一款新的系列,是專門給小孩子的。
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.

現在我們也開始設計一些完成品,來配合不同的展覽主題。
We also sell products that are finished for exhibitions.



分工?
How did you delegate tasks

我們各自都有喜歡做的和不喜歡做的部分,所以就每個人挑自己喜歡做的,基本上分配的相當好,當然也有都不喜歡部分,那就是溝通好去進行,不過有一個原則我們嚴格執行,就是每個商品的開發階段都只有一個人來進行,christoph誠實地說:我對於商品的想法上會比較有控制狂,會想要指揮他怎麼做,不過他也會有他自己的想法,所以我們在一開始的開發階段就會分開來做,然後到了一定程度才來交換意見。
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.


經營有什麼小祕訣嗎?
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!

要注意季節!我們固定都會看Süddeutsch報紙和藝術雜誌,關心有關展覽和藝術的消息,如果有適合的主題我們就會主動聯絡。網路也是很重要,因為一開始我都是用email來寄送我們的目錄,網路也是現在很重要的媒體阿。
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.

還有就是我們在工作上都非常的重視時間,當我們接下一筆訂單,我們就會很準時地在約定的時間交貨,由於經營了快要十年,所以也有幾間固定的運輸公司在合作,彼此都有一定的默契,今天給貨,明天他們就一定會寄出,好讓訂購的人可以準時收到貨品。
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.









有想過要拓點到亞洲嗎?台灣?日本?中國?因為像這樣的好商品,我也很希望在台灣可以買得到啊!
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.

目前還沒有,由於我們都會固定參加一些展覽會,有的時候會遇到對我們的商品很有興趣的亞洲客戶,或許是文化和價值觀的不同,他們會提出壓低單價但大量訂單的要求,但是這種單我們都會拒絕。我們在做我們的事業的時候,百分之九十都是充滿樂趣的,賺得或許不是很多但是足夠,我們不追求賺大錢,而且我們只有兩個人在進行,這種訂單所帶來的工作量/時間跟金錢都無法讓我們接受。
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.

另一方面運輸也是一個問題,在歐洲的運輸基本上沒有太大的問題,但是運送到亞洲的時間和價格就是必須衡量的,畢竟我們的商品單價並不高,這樣下來可能不是太划算。
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.



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我對他們的故事超級感動的,跨國企業根本不需要多大的公司,兩個人就可以,賣出去的商品,兩個人在家就可以完成,只要你努力,用心,堅持!!!!
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.

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Formfalt

Colbestrasse 18
D-10247 Berlin

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


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