About half a year ago, I decided to apply for a program called Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. I had already figured since the beginning of Pointer that architecture was maybe not what I wanted to do full time, therefore this opportunity came at the right moment. After getting my degree, I was accepted to be part of this programme and I had to make a choice of where and what I wanted to do.
I applied using the business plan of Pointer, aiming to develop further products as part of a series of designs with my name on them. Luckily for me, I knew I wanted to go to Berlin for this, a city I had been longing to live in and the creative capital of young start-up designers. I applied for various offices, and everything was a little bit chaotic in the beginning, as I had all of a sudden so many options besides architecture. Chaotic and confusing. As I had it for many years in the back of my head that I wanted to make shoes, I came across a small leather studio, incorporating design and manufacturing in one lovely atelier. I applied and had a first Skype call with Ilka Brand, designer and owner, to discover an amazing click. At the second call we were both already convinced that us working together was a great idea. I had no experience in working with leather, but I was confident that my expertise with Pointer and my positive vibe would work millions. Immediately after NYE, I packed my life in one suitcase (OK, one and a half) and hit the road. I prepared myself for 6 months of new experiences, said goodbye to my dearest people in Amsterdam and to my favourite beers and I took off.
Of course, there is always this anxiety of moving to a new place, a bit of fear for the unknown, I had to sleep on a couch for a couple of weeks, new house, new people, new job. Most of you I am sure know how it works. However, once in Berlin I felt like I had always been here, as if the city and I were friends already for a long time. It reminded me of Bucharest in many ways, or maybe it is just the way life goes here that makes you feel welcome and free. So free!
I started working for Lapàporter, aka for my dear boss Ilka. The first two weeks were quite hardcore as Berlin Fashion Week was rapidly approaching, so long hours, full time and a lot of stress. Gladly, we passed this test and immediately learnt a lot about each other. Berlin Fashion Week was quite a success and we proudly promoted the latest Lapàporter product in collaboration with MIJUNE, a cross-body iPhone case which I am now proudly using as well. Every day! I helped design our stand and interacted with many other cool brands, including the lovely Dutch couple next to us: YUNIT.
Long story short, ever since I am almost everyday in the studio. All the skills I acquired in time seem to be quite useful now, so I am blogging, translating, posting, reposting, organising, making catalogs, planning, packing and any other things that are needed. Having a one-woman-business is nothing easy (hell yes, I know that!), so I am happy I can help so much while at the same time applying every new thing I learn to my own business. Quite effective so far.
But this is only part of the deal, for the rest I am learning how to work with leather. And this is really really exciting. It is quite relaxing to work with my hands and it reminds me a lot of student years and model making. Ilka is teaching me how to cut patterns, how inner linings work and most of all, we are planning a few new products which I am extremely excited about. Many ideas come while we work together, so first on the list is the cross-body iPhone case for men, another variation for women, new iPad cases and what I am most excited about... a brand new Pointer bag, for picnic!
Next to working for Lapàporter, I have been meeting people who inspire me day by day and this creative energy has brought many new ideas which I am trying to push to the surface. As we are sharing the studio with Amberwood Jewellery, aka Marta the amazing Polish designer, I have already started co-working with her, mastering the new catalog for 2017 and previous collections. Next to it, I also started a sewing and pattern making course with Olga Prohl, a sweet young tailor teaching me the basics of clothes making.
I am busy sketching new products and constantly inspired by another good old friend from the Mongol Rally, also living here: Sophie and her hand-made lingerie label, Anekdot Boutique. And yes, Pointer is never out of my mind either. New website is finally almost done, I am back to blogging, I have planned several wine fairs and I am currently pushing to enter the Berlin design market. For now, you can buy the glasses in the Lapàporter studio, so if you know friends in need of chic wine glasses, just send them to Brunnenstrasse 65.
What can I say, I am just very busy in my mind and days go by before I even notice. Don't think I only work, I can promise you I haven't ignored my "drinking wine with style" duties. It has been a very long time since I felt this creative, positive and vibrant energy around me. I am not sure if it is the city, if it is the people I run into or if I am just going through a very nice moment of my life. It's probably a combo of all and I am certain that I want to stay here a little bit longer and spread my wings as far as I can.
Thank you, Berlin, for everything so far! This was a good decision! I'll end this post with my favourite quote for the week, Berlin related of course. Until next week!