It is that time of year again: the Natural Cosmetics Conference (Naturkosmetikbranchenkongress) was in town this week! It’s an annual event which used to be held in Nuremberg but then moved to Berlin in 2011. And it’s one of my favourite industry events: two days jam-packed with interesting lectures, discussions, forums and presentations plus the chance to meet interesting people.
The Conference always offers a good mixture of topics. This year there were presentations on consumer trends, demographics and behavior, on market research and gender marketing, but also on certifications with a particular focus on the much-debated ISO guideline for natural cosmetics and on halal certification.
Yesterday night I attended a screening of Le Cinéma Olfactif in Berlin’s Soho House. Cinéma Olfactif is a fascinating concept: enhancing a visual experience through an olfactory sensation; in this case we were watching a film – Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides – whilst a fragrance created especially for this movie was diffused into the audience space at the appropriate moments.
I had read about the Cinéma Olfactif series but this was the first time I actually attended a performance. Cinéma Olfactif is the creation of perfumer Kaya Sorhaindo whose art house perfumery Folie à Plusieurs is developing fragrance concepts for films, exhibitions, performances and events.
Up until a few years ago, my street was quite boring. It’s right in the middle of what used to be the governmental area of Eastern Berlin: the building I live in is surrounded by offices, ministries and embassies.
Including the North Korea embassy, by the way: if you’re ever in the neighbourhood check out their glass-covered information case at the entrance – very brightly coloured pictures of various Kims and happy-looking North Koreans and beautifully written communist propaganda (North Korea is the most prosperous place on earth, in case you didn’t know).
Anyway, over the last couple of years there’s been an influx of Internet start-ups, media agencies and galleries which is really brightening up the neighbourhood. Like Studio Picknick Berlin, an arts space which must have opened at some point this year; all of a sudden they were there! And they have the most beautiful exhibition on at the moment: The Aluminium Garden, a collaboration between artist Toshihiko Mitsuya and architectural firm June 14 Meye-Grohbrügge & Chermayef.
Here are some of my Mintel articles from the first half of the year:
The February cityscape was about German premium department store group Kadewe Group. Kadewe Group (which was sold to Italian department store chain La Rinascente this summer) has launched three signature city fragrances – 030 Berlin, 040 Hamburg and 089 Munich – which were developed by Frau Tonis Parfum, one of my favourite Berlin perfumeries.
In early 2015, Berlin’s Soho House – the Berlin dependance of London’s famous Soho House private members club – opened a store slash café slash creative space slash co-working area. My March article was about this new location: The Store is open to everyone (unlike the rest of Soho House) and features a café (their coffee is supplied by Berlin’s Bonanza Coffee Heroes), large retail area (designer fashion, accessories and other stuff), beauty salon (hairdressing, manicures and pedicures), comfortable sofas and free wifi. A good café choice if you’re in that neighbourhood of Torstrasse.
My April article was about Nickerchen, Berlin’s first power-napping store which opened in December 2014. Nickerchen (the German term for “small nap”) is the brilliant idea of Irina Ivachkovets. You can rent day beds for 10, 20 or 30 minutes; Irina also offers a range of massage treatments, there are early-bird and after-work yoga sessions and once a week she organises a popular salsa dancing night. Nickerchen is a great example of a new type of urban spa – well, you can read all about that in the PDF. Nickerchen is at Zimmerstrasse 27 near Checkpoint Charlie; check it out if you’re in the area.
And the May cityscape was another store profile: Miriam Jacks, one of Berlin’s most high-profile makeup artists, has opened a brand new store right in the middle of Kastanienallee in Prenzlauer Berg. Jacks is L’Oréal Germany’s national makeup artist; her new retail store also features a salon, beauty treatment area, barber’s shop and a great selection of niche beauty brands.
Enjoy, but please respect the copyright (Mintel/BPC)!
Yesterday evening I attended the opening of Stadtmuseum Berlin’s new exhibition: “Tanz auf dem Vulkan” (Dancing on the Volcano) – Berlin’s “Golden Twenties” as reflected in art and design. The Weimar Republic (a historical epoch defined as extending from 1918, the end of WWI, to 1933, the year when Adolf Hitler became German chancellor) is one of the most interesting, complex and, of course, pivotal periods in German history.
Tanz auf dem Vulkan approaches Berlin’s Weimar Republic from a different angle. Rather than analysing the political, social and economical aspects of these fifteen years and what they were leading up to (depressing and very grim since we all know what happened), the exhibition highlights a different side of the Weimar Republic: the hedonistic and colourful lifestyle, culture, art and design of Germany’s capital in the Roaring Twenties.
Yes, this is a rather tabloid-sounding headline! However, for the last six months German drugstore chain DM has dominated the retail headlines in Germany with a slew of interesting and innovative projects: In April, the DM group introduced its new organic food brand DM Bio (de-listing organic brand Alnatura in the process). Then, DM announced that it would launch an online store plus a brand new own label make-up brand (Trend it Up). And this July, the newspapers reported that DM had entered in a distribution agreement with Berlin-based vegan supermarket chain Veganz to retail a 50-sku portfolio of vegan brands, superfoods and raw food products.
I first came across Berlin-based organic skin and body care brand CremeKampagne last autumn when I visited Original Unverpackt supermarket in Kreuzberg. Original Unverpackt is Berlin’s first supermarket to sell groceries in bulk and without packaging – you bring your own containers or buy reusable packaging in the store.
I was at OU to write an article for Mintel (read the article here or check out this profile) and was walking around the store, checking out products and taking pics. OU sells a lot of regional labels and in their personal care section they carried a selection of skin and body care products from a small Berlin brand: the aforementioned CremeKampagne.
As expected, last weekend’s DMY International Design Festival was very interesting indeed. The organizers had selected a different location this year: DMY 2015 was held in Kraftwerk, an old power station which was originally built in the early 1960s. It was the first time I’d actually visited the Kraftwerk; I knew it only as a location for events, exhibitions and concerts and the building also hosts legendary techno music club Tresor.
We’re talking major industrial charm here, lots of towering concrete, pipes everywhere, slightly gothic and very atmospheric – a bit of a contrast to the soaring spaces of Tempelhof’s airport hangars from last year but still very effective. Made for some stunning photos! The festival featured five official sections this year – Showroom (for established designers and brands), Education (for design school and universities), Lab (for up-and-coming young talents), Berliner Zimmer (“Berlin Room”, a special area for Berlin-based designers) and DMY Store, a shopping area for design fans.
June is going to be such a busy month! In addition to the annual DMY International Design Festival next weekend (11th to 14th June 2015, I have my press accreditation already and have been looking forward to this festival for weeks!), there are two more fabulous events that are taking place in Berlin this month: Berlin Food Art Week 2015 and Green Market Berlin, the city’s first Vegan lifestyle market.
Here is my January Mintel article: the launch of new certified organic colour cosmetics brand Und Gretel. It’s a well-designed brand concept with impressive packaging, a selective distribution and a very premium price-tag. Find out more about it here: Und Gretel Cityscape. As always, please respect the copyright. Thanks!