What sustainability really means: Birgit and SPECTRUM show how it’s done

Designerin Birgit beim Bearbeiten eines neuen Kleidungsstückes in ihrem Atelier von SPECTRUM

Birgit loves sustainability. Unlike for some big fashion retailers, that’s not marketing-speak for her. With her fashion label SPECTRUM she produces and sells environmentally friendly clothing in Hamburg and Eckernförde (Germany) as well as online. Her business idea was born in her childhood days, but it took another drastic experience later in life for this idea to come to fruition. 

(Click here for the German version of the User Story)

„The idea for SPECTRUM has always been within me“

Birgit learned early on what it means to treat nature’s resources with respect – partly through her time at the Waldorf School and partly through her parents, who were active members of Greenpeace. Family weekend fun often included collecting trash as a part of community  volunteer groups. From this upbringing came a special awareness of the environment that laid the foundation for her business idea of SPECTRUM. 

The final push came after a very short but formative time at a conventional fashion label, right after her design studies. „For me, it was a terrible year. During the design process a huge amount of clothes was thrown away every four weeks. Seeing this waste and this mass production – it was really horrible.“ 

Driven by this, Birgit founded her own label in 2013, taking a completely opposite direction.

Birgit puts lots of effort and love in each piece of clothing.

„We don’t want discount battles“

The basis for SPECTRUM’s designs are fabrics from overproduction, materials that would otherwise have ended up in the garbage can. Birgit sources 90 percent of these fabrics from European middlemen. Classic, simple designs ensure that the clothes can be worn regardless of time-limited trends: „That’s how we avoid the discount battles at the end of the season!“ 

Every garment purchased at SPECTRUM is a long-term investment. That’s why Birgit likes to personally advise her customers. Keeping this in mind she created her website and online store. „My online store was quite a „knee-jerk-reaction“. As a design lover however, I was totally thrilled with how great everything looks with Jimdo and how easy it was to navigate!“.

A special service: consulting even after hours

Birgit likes to make time for direct customer contact whether online or offline. To make personal consultation possible for her working customers as well, she has come up with something special: On request, she opens her small studio not far from Hamburg’s Alster even in the evening hours when her customers have finished work. A service that is gladly accepted – and again illustrates the difference between SPECTRUM and anonymous department stores. 

Birgit in front of her beautiful store in Hamburg.

„You have to be a little reckless“

In hindsightt, the step into self-employment was actually not a big surprise because Birgit has always had the entrepreneurial spirit within her. She learned to sew from her grandmother when she was five years old. Her parents have been self-employed all their lives: „I was born with the motivation to do something on my own!“ 

When Birgit quit her steady job many of her friends were shocked: „You’re nuts!“. However, security was never a big priority for Birgit. Her principles and values, on the other hand, were. Birgit wanted to dare, to try something: „I knew that if I didn’t do it now, I’d never do it!“. So she decided to go her own way, perhaps with less security. But with the freedom to do things the way she sees fit.

You can learn more about Birgit and SPECTRUM on her IG Account. Take a look!

Katharina Mühe
Katharina ist Content Creator bei Jimdo und immer auf der Suche nach inspirierenden Geschichten von Menschen, die für ihre Leidenschaft brennen. In ihrer Freizeit kocht sie gerne, ist viel mit Freunden oder in der Natur unterwegs.
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