10 inspiring small business stories from creative minds

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What do a soccer player, an 8-year-old businesswoman and two best friends have in common? At first glance, not much. But they all share independent spirit, a love for their craft – and their own online store.

These stories are just as unique and diverse as the passionate faces behind them. In this post we will introduce you to 10 different online stores in Germany–and the stories behind them.

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Spectrum

After dipping her toes into the conventional fashion industry, it was clear to Birgit: This isn’t how she wanted to work. Shocked by the industry’s wasteful practices, the German designer founded SPECTRUM. The fashion label doesn’t just use sustainability as a marketing strategy. Birgit only uses fabric remnants sourced from European distributors that otherwise would have ended up in the waste bin. She sells locally in the cities of Hamburg and Eckenförde, as well as online. The idea for an online store came about because she wanted to offer customers who aren’t able to shop in person the opportunity to try out her fashion. The photos in her online store don’t show models, but Birgit’s regular customers. “I love to see my designs on customers, to me that’s the most beautiful part of it!”

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For Spectrum designer Birgit, sustainability is more than just a marketing hook

Womenletics

Growing up the daughter of a passionate soccer player and coach, Jennifer was an avid soccer player herself for many years. Then her daughter arrived and it quickly became clear that it’s difficult to be a single parent and still have time for sports. Most of the opportunities available to her weren’t flexible enough. That’s exactly what gave Jennifer the motivation to launch her passion project: fitness courses for women and mothers. Jennifer knows how important it is not to lose sight of yourself and feel comfortable in your own body. Through her online store, she offers individual fitness courses: live or virtual, intense or relaxed, weekly or monthly–everything can be adapted to your own life needs.  

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Jennifer wants to help other women incorporate exercise into their daily lives

Pottschwarz

Oliver worked for many years at a big company. Then he decided he’d had enough of the office bureaucracy and meetings. In 2016, the coffee lover, together with his wife and three children, decided to become a small business owner and launched the Pottschwarz roastery in the German city of Mülheim an der Ruhr. The Pottschwarz name is a reference to the Ruhr region where they live (known as the “Ruhrpott” in German). From the plant to the cup, Pottschwarz is there for the entire process. They put a special emphasis on fair trade, their own roasting process, and the sustainable packaging that contains their beans. Pottschwarz sells both in person and online. If you order locally, Oliver and his wife will deliver the same day. For Oliver, it’s “the best of two worlds.” The online store supports the bulk of his business, but he still maintains personal contact with his customers. 

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Pottschwarz founder and coffee lover Oliver in action

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Blumenwerkstatt am Josephsplatz

Initially, Hang Vu only wanted to earn a little money on the side during her business studies. But she enjoyed her job at a flower shop so much that she decided to put school on hold and learn to be a florist. She’s now been running her floral shop, Blumenwerkstatt am Josephsplatz, for 13 years. Her flowers have been a part of entire family stories: From first date bouquets to wedding arrangements to baptismal decorations. Last year she began selling her floral arrangements in her online store, delivering for free on her bike throughout the city of Munich.

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Hang Vu puts love and care into every one of her flower arrangements

Fenya’s World

Eight-year-old Fenya was drying her hair when the idea came to her: a family story game would be fun! Without burdensome rules, without winners or losers–but rather beautiful conversations between family members. Now that idea has become reality with Fenya’s World (“Fenya’s Welt” in German). Fenya’s mother Simone runs the business operation, while Fenya handles the design and development process. Simone and Fenya initially self-published the game, titled “How was your day” (“Wie war dein Tag”) and mainly sold it to friends via their online store. But the story behind the game eventually attracted worldwide media attention, and the two sold over 1,000 copies of the game in just a short period of time.

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Fenya and her mother Simone

Ginger&Du

Two best friends lived next door to each other and shared a common passion that led them to start their own business. The origins of Ginger&Du (“Ginger and you”) sound like something out of a storybook. Julia and Katharina like liqueurs and experimenting. For fun, they created a ginger liqueur. Their crazy concoction was so well received that in 2016 the two decided to get serious about it. Ginger&Du has since turned into a full-time company. They run their own bar in the city of Magdeburg and have an online store where you can buy all their lovingly prepared and extraordinary creations. 

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Julia and Katharina turned their passion project into a business

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Wood.You.Love

Claas first started felling and processing trees with his father when he was a kid. After training as an event manager and studying marketing communications he knew that field wasn’t for him. So he decided to change career tracks. Since 2016 he has been working as a master carpenter and blacksmith creating handmade solid wood tables. With more and more orders coming in, Claas assembled a team and created an online store. His unique wood pieces are now available not just in Germany, but also Croatia, France, Switzerland, and Denmark.

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After changing career paths, Claas has taken his woodworking business international

HofKitchen

As a passionate chef, Lorenz has put plenty of smiles on his guests’ faces with his food. But working back in the kitchen, he rarely got to see those smiles himself. Lorenz wanted to change that. That’s why he started his own business, HofKitchen, in 2017–an event location for cooking classes. The kitchen is located in a converted horse stable in the farmlands outside Munich. Seasonal, organic food and small groups are the ingredients for Lorenz’s passion project. He offers a diverse range of classes through his online store. You can learn everything from Taco Thursday to Japanese fusion, either online or in person.

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Chef Lorenz loves that he can share his passion for cooking with his guests

Güttinger Ceramic

Karl has been sitting at the pottery wheel for decades, pouring his heart and soul into his craft. His traditional family business, Güttinger Keramik (“Güttinger Ceramic”) sells unique ceramic pieces out of their small workshop in the town of Isny im Allgäu. Since 1939, the family’s mission has been “bringing old artisanry back to life”. Their handiwork had only been available at local markets, but since the coronavirus pandemic, the family has also sold them in their online store. It’s proof that a nearly century–old traditional family business and a modern online store can compliment each other wonderfully! 

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Karl has been creating pottery for more than 60 years

Aaron Moser

After he finished high school, Aaron and his father hiked 1,500 kilometers from Munich to Florence. It was a journey that would shape him forever. Along the way, he developed a passion for nature photography. His search for the perfect picture has already taken him to Europe’s largest glacier in Iceland, through the deepest jungle in northern Thailand and across the volcanic highlands of East Africa with the nomadic Maasai people. Aaron especially enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge with others. That’s why he created his online store, where he offers workshops for photography and film.

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Aaron enjoys sharing his passion with others through the workshops he sells online

The stories of our users show that you don’t have to be a programmer or designer to create a successful online store. But you do need a project that comes from the heart, and the motivation to tackle it.

Every origin story is different.

What will yours look like?

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Katharina Mühe
Katharina works as a content creator for Jimdo. She is always on the lookout for inspiring user stories that will motivate other self-employed people to pursue their passions. When she is not writing she enjoys cooking, socializing and spending time outdoors.
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