If you've always wondered what the highs and lows are like at stocubo and what you should keep in mind when starting up your own business, this is a deep dive into our company.
You are now in your "darned" 7th year as Managing Director at stocubo - that's a long time. What would you say is the secret of your success?
Part of our secret is that we are completely self-financed. This allows us to grow organically and only as much as we can afford. The even more important part is the loyalty of our customers: As a small company, we get crazy amounts of support because people appreciate our down-to-earthness and humility. We don't sell trendy junk that breaks after a year, but products that last a lifetime. Our customers know that. That's our secret - but don't tell further.
What are you proud of when you look back on that time?
To my 30 employees, most of whom have been with me for a long time. At Christmas, we always have a bottle of champagne to celebrate our 5th anniversary - the fact that I get to give away several bottles every year means a lot to me. I'm proud that my team feels valued, that we have fun at work and flat hierarchies - and that we do something meaningful.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Start early to build structures that allow you to be out sometimes - be it for vacations, illness or maternity leave. Listen to your gut feeling - it's usually right. And if at all possible, don't bring investors or outside capital into the company - that way you can decide what's best for your company and your employees.
"Part of our secret is that we are completely self-financed. As a result, we grow organically and only as much as we can afford."
What has been your biggest highlight so far this year?
The launch of our new website. We did it completely in-house - and our CTO is my partner. So the whole thing has not only taken up a lot of working time over the last 1.5 years, but also a lot of family time. Now to see that the work has paid off and that even more people are seeing our shelves and are excited about them is great.
You produce exclusively locally in Berlin-Wedding, although one reads in many places that Germany is losing its attractiveness as a business location for entrepreneurs - why is this topic so close to your heart?
On the one hand, it's important to me to make the craft profession attractive again so that more people want to work in these great professions. For that, you need good jobs that are fun, in an appealing environment. On the other hand, this is how the product is at the heart of our company - we all work around the corner, ideas can be implemented quickly, and we can respond directly to customer feedback.
"I'm simply looking forward to continuing to grow organically and offering our customers a great, fairly produced product that is continuously evolving.
What was your biggest challenge during that time?
The year 2018: I was pregnant, sales plummeted and things were not going well in the team either. I checked the account balance every day to make sure we could pay all the bills. I think it's important to share these sides of entrepreneurship as well. In times like these, you have to grit your teeth. And then things start to look up again.
They always say, "The best is yet to come!" What are you looking forward to when you look at the next 7 years with stocubo?
I'm simply looking forward to continuing to grow organically and offering our customers a great, fairly produced product that is continuously evolving. Right now, for example, we're experimenting with a new material - that's going to be great. But in the end, the most important thing for me is to give all my 30 people and their families security. I'm looking forward to being able to do that for another 7 years.