Saturday, March 15, 2014

"Following your dreams" - Die Kleiderei

I think the biggest, but most exciting challenge for artists in the future will be to think about how they can turn their creative ideas into a business model. How can you turn your talent into a long lasting creative product, something that can have an impact on the community around you? One wonderful example I'd like to share with you is a project by Pola Fendel and Wilkening from Hamburg. Pola and Thekla met during high school in Cologne, currently they are studying Arts and Textile Management in Hamburg. In 2012 Pola and Thekla founded a creative business called “Die Kleiderei", where customers can rent clothes. "Die Kleiderei" became popular very quickly and they recently opened a second store in Berlin. Thekla and I have been friends since high school. We've always been sharing lots of creative ideas and we loved to write our own plays and novels in high school. Every time I meet Thekla I'm amazed how she manages to take care of her son, study and follow her dreams at the same time. With Trade Your Talent Thekla and Pola speak about what inspired them to start their own creative adventure with the "Kleiderei".  

What inspired you to start the "Kleiderei"?

Thekla and Pola: One Friday evening the idea of the "Kleiderei" just came to us. We  were excited to go out, but we felt we had nothing to wear at all. Usually we'd have gone out and bought ourselves new clothes. But since new dresses we'd buy spontaneously often turned out to be a mistake we thought: Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just borrow clothes, exactly for moments like these? We thought of a library , but for clothes!  We named it "Kleiderei" – the combination of the words library and clothing in German.  And we were sure that this problem was not only ours! Young people are constantly seeking for alternatives to shopping. 

Do you think more young people should just take the leap and start their own company?

Many people we know are very impressed that we had the courage to found our own company. But we never thought of it as being unusual or special; we just wanted to offer a solution to a problem - instead of waiting for someone else to solve it. I think that is the positive thing when young people take the leap and start their own company: they often know what the society lacks. Young people might have different needs than their parents or the older generation and the market isn’t always fulfilling these. On one hand we think we owe it to the world to create a new business, to implement new ideas and concepts. On the other hand it is also a very special experience to be an entrepreneur all of a sudden.

And we have already learned so much - not only good things of course. The process of founding is hard, at the same time we are lucky to have the opportunity to work on something we love. It has always been our dream to have a positive impact on nature and add to a sustainable world - this is why we want to offer an alternative to the current development in garment production, which is leading more and more to “fast-food-fashion”.  With the "Kleiderei" we are saving resources by keeping what is already there. 

Our dream goes hand in hand with making the world a little better.  There is no better feeling then when we’re working in our shop and one of our customers tells us that they have always waited for something like the “Kleiderei”. It makes us happy to be able to trade our concept with others and to see them enjoy it too. 

© Thekla Wilkening, Pola Fendel

© Thekla Wilkening, Pola Fendel

©Thekla Wilkening, Pola Fendel 
©Thekla Wilkening, Pola Fendel 

More about Die Kleiderei


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