StartUs Presents: Lieblingsbrand

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We spoke to Cloed Baumgartner of Lieblingsbrand, an Austrian online shop for local designers. Find out why they focus on Austria & their advice for you!

Describe Lieblingsbrand in 50 words or less.

Lieblingsbrand is a new online marketplace offering a wide variety of high-quality garments, accessories and jewellery, directly from independent Austrian design brands.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Even though my educational background had little to do with the creative industries I always had an admiration for them, as well as a great urge to try and make a positive difference in the world, so it came as a natural to start being involved in creative and society-based projects and later on initiating many, all driven by the fact that there are so many changes that can be done to make our cities, countries, relationships and lives better for us – and for people around us. When you do something that you love and believe in, only good things can come from it.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Lieblingsbrand is an online platform that helps people become more familiar with the Austrian creative industry that has so much to offer – not only to Austria but also the rest of the world. Designers can not only display their products to a wider audience but also are more likely to be discovered to join national and international events, fairs and much more. This helps making local ideas more global and connecting them with the rest of the world.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Success would be to raise customers’ awareness of all these amazing up-and-coming design brands all over Austria, making them willing to support local businesses and make smart choices when shopping. Equally great would be to have more designers wanting to join us, thus generating new design product categories on our website, in order to make more people aware of the local businesses so the cycle could continue.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

I am at my office around 9am, I make a cup of coffee and put some music on. From that moment on I spent most of the time on my computer, answering emails, taking care of orders for my own brand MILCH and arranging appointments. After lunch and a few cups of tea I usually attend meetings and appointments, for example with new designers interested to join Lieblingsbrand. If I find the time I work on some new MILCH designs, pattern cutting and sewing prototypes which I love, and do some sketching. I leave around 6pm to go home and be with my family.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the local shopping service like you imagined it in the beginning?

So far everything seems to be working as planned, customers browsing our page, ordering their favorites and having them prepared and sent directly from the design brands. The reception has been more than positive so far – this gives us great strength to continue promoting and growing.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Lieblingsbrand is bootstrapped and crowd-funded and we are very grateful for all the support we got! At the very beginning we also received funding from the BKA. What strengthens us is the great feedback from the media but also the design scene itself, and this feeling of cohesion we have managed to built.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

We are very keen on promoting the ‘local’, not only in terms of brands but also in terms of production. We try to keep things as fair and sustainable as possible, for instance we offer products that are 100% upcycled and made locally by one or two workers, or other products made using only certified organic materials. So these standards are something that differentiates us from the big lot of online shops that exist today.

What do you look for in team members?

We aim to work with Austrian design brands and reliable, trustworthy and straight-forward entrepreneurs who share our vision, who find our initiative as exciting as we do, and want to widen their customer group in order to have more opportunities. Local and fair produced goods are what we generally aim for and believe in, so it would be great if these two things were also of great importance to those brands we work with – working towards this common goal together.

Why would a talent join your team?

Lieblingsbrand offers Austrian designers a wider platform to sell their products, as most of the brands only operate small boutique shops, so we can help small designers get bigger! I find it a very fascinating thing when many Austrian designers come together and become one force, for them and for the customers. Being involved with many different talented people can also have an impact on the ideas generated, as they can go back and forth and everyone can influence and be influenced in new ways.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

When our first 10 users went online, Bernt, our lead developer and I started our very spontaneous opening ceremony outside our base at the Yppenplatz in Vienna with random street musicians and a crowdfunders’ Prosecco bar.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Having a plan and presenting it as clear as possible, to oneself but also the team, is key to give a startup company what it needs to, well, start – at least in my opinion! Thinking through many different possibilities and outcomes as well as obstacles that can come in your way and figuring out ways to overcome those and having a plan B. Being flexible is crucial! The more you believe in your ideas the easier it will be to figure out ways to go forward and responding positively to feedback is also important. Innovation management works in a circular way.

Do you have a motto?

Local is the new black! And innovation through cooperation, because together we are many, big and strong!

Startus presents lieblingsbrand


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