Handmade stamps with beautiful calligraphy lettering and delicate floral designs, great stationery with distinctive graphics and of course the stylish blanket “The Grid” – the label “bastisRIKE” has been on my favorites list for several years now.
I was so happy that Rike, founder of “bastisRIKE”, found time for my questions between creating new designs and moving. In the interview she talks about how “bastisRIKE” was created, reveals her wishes and goals for 2015 and gives other founders tips for gut feelings, heart … and german bureaucracy.
Behind every good business idea is a well thought concept. Sometimes, however, it is also only a fortunate coincidence that leads to success.
How about you, Rike: How did “bastisRIKE” emerge – with purposeful planning or some coincidences?
Henrike Schoen: bastisRIKE developed during the last couple of years of my studies. I was studying photography at the Art Academy in Leipzig and at the time I felt a general dissatisfaction with everything and I started to be creative besides my studies. My inspiration were foreign blogs by designers and creators that helped show me new ways to present and sell my own work.
This led to my own DaWanda shop in 2009 where I initially offered stamps. There was no sophisticated concept, no start-up capital, no business plan. I was acting rather on a gut feeling. Luckily for me the non-concept received a positive response. And so bastisRIKE grew and evolved into what it is today.
Last autum you introduced “The Grid Blanket” into your product line. How do your designs and products develop? What is it that inspires you?
Henrike Schoen: Inspiration is the start of the product development. In fact, I treat them separately from the product, because it is only in rare cases that design and product ideas come together. I try to go through the world with open eyes, online and offline. Inspiration is everywhere, even if it´s not apparent. In general, it is not always visable and you can sometimes find it unexpectedly.
My designs have one thing in common, and that is that they are all handmade. Whether they are ink drawings for “The Grid” blanket or paper cuts and lettering for stationery and stamps. I have a preference for the analog which is reflected in my work. The production of my designs is frequently not in my hands, but at this point my high standards for sustainability takes effect, which defines bastisRIKE in my opinion: If possible, environmentally friendly materials and production methods are essential for a new product. The production is therefore exclusively in Germany and in the future I want to expand my cooperations with small factories and local craft shops.
What are your goals and desires for your label? And what would be your advice for creative founders?
Henrike Schoen: My top priority this year is improvements in my working conditions. Since our move from Leipzig almost four years ago, I haven´t had an office. I work out of my living room so storage space is a problem. But this spring we will return to Leipzig and I´m hoping to find a home in which my work has its space. The current situation is energy-sapping.
In addition, of course, I want to forge and implement new plans for bastisRIKEs range of goods. However, this meant that I lacked both time and leisure in the recent weeks and months. My work organization needs improvemed so my creative work can be an integral part of my daily life again. bastisRIKE will continue to grow in a healthy way and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.
My advice for creative founders: Believe in yourself, work hard, stay interested and don´t lose heart. Trust your gut and your heart. Every once in a while take a step back and review your life. Should it stay that way? No? Then try another direction. And: Never underestimate the german bureaucracy. Exchange experiences, get smart and ask. Create.
Thank you so much for the interview, Rike!
Photo&Styling “The Grid”: Studio Oink