I came across an interesting new Berlin store yesterday – Vielfach Kreativkaufhaus near Checkpoint Charlie. Owner Carsten Schirrmeister describes his concept as “off-line Dawanda” – for my international readers: Dawanda is the German equivalent of Etsy, an online marketplace for hand-made arts and crafts.
Vielfach has been up and running for just over a month; the store is located on Zimmerstrasse 11 which is right on the main tourist trail in Berlin-Mitte. The location is ideal; in the immediate neighbourhood are well-known Berlin fragrance store Frau Tonis Parfum, hotels, cafés and offices; the Trabi-Museum (this is – sadly – a popular tourist attraction!) and the Welt-Balloon is directly opposite. In addition, Zimmerstrasse is the direct connection from museum Gropius-Bau to Checkpoint Charlie so hundreds of tourists walk by every day.
The store’s retail concept is simple: artists can rent shelf space in the store and display their wares together with business cards or leaflets. When an article is sold (I fell in love with the handbags of Berlin label Cotaschi and bought a gorgeous green and red shoulder bag), the artist receives the purchase price minus a small commission.
Vielfach currently has 53 different artists – or rather, their products – on display. The emphasis is firmly on small labels and manufactories, mostly from Berlin but there are also brands from other regions in Germany.
And the product range is amazing: hand-made soaps from Hauptstadtseife, very cool shoulder bags from Cotaschi, pictures and paper products from Kreuzberg-based printer Anna Käse, bags and purses upcycled from old newspapers by Trans-Formate, clever little bags that can be attached to the handlebar of a bike by Feewerk, board games printed on old lorry canvas – they can be rolled up and are perfect for travelling! – by Spieltz, little cosmetics bags from MyLulabag; then there are jewellery and accessories, pictures, gadgets, baby rattles in shape of the Fernsehturm….
Vielfach is absolutely worth a visit, check it out when you’re in the neighbourhood. I am writing my March Mintel Cityscape about the store.