I came across „Alice“ a few years ago in an article in my favorite magazine. In delicate mint, smoky gray and pale pink colors were teapots and cups displayed – in a design I had never seen before.
Since that day I´m a huge fan – not only of the product series “Alice” but of all handmade porcelain preciousness that Sandra Haischberger and her team of “feinedinge*“ Porcelain Design create in their studio in Vienna.
In my founder interview Sandra told me what inspires her, how her designs are created and why she always relies on her gut feeling.
Behind every good business idea is a well thought concept. Sometimes, however, it is only a fine coincidence that leads to success.
How about you, Sandra? How and when did “feinedinge*“ Porcelain Design emerge?
Sandra Haischberger: “feinedinge* came out in the summer of 2005 as a „gut reaction“.
My daughter was eighteen months old and I no longer wanted to work as a teacher or go back to the architect’s office. Just around the corner from my apartment was a cute little shop which was available for rent. I thought, my child benefit payments would cover the rent and I might be able to sell a few pieces each month so I naively went ahead.
Gradually, new ideas came up – exhibit at trade shows, first in Vienna, then Frankfurt and finally in Paris …”
How did you discover your creative side and who or what inspires you? Where do your ideas for new designs come from?
Sandra Haischberger: “As a child I had already discovered my “creative side”. I have always been very fond of drawing and creating and secretly I always had this special feeling to be able to make “more” out of clay.
Meanwhile, I have concentrated on porcelain. I was always very product-oriented. Everything must have a function – I have never worked really arty with ceramics.
The ideas come very easily, although I cannot say exactly from where but there are certainly more than is feasible. My design ideas often derived from existing forms, sometimes on calls and requests from customers who miss a particular product. I get ideas when I´m working in the studio and often when I´m travelling and by observing table foreign cultures.”
Please describe briefly your creative process from design to manufacture.
Sandra Haischberger: “I’m usually sketching the design quickly by hand, just for me as a reminder. Then I create a work drawing for our mold maker on the computer.
Based on these drawings the model is made and following the mold design and construction. As the mold is relatively complex and expensive one needs to think twice about the design. Then the test with molds and firings start which can take up to almost a year until the product is actually ready for selling.”
Where can one find you when you’re not working? How and where do you relax and catch your new ideas?
Sandra Haischberger: “I love browsing in my favourite magazines such as Elle Decoration UK, Rum, Milk, Dazed & Confused or in beautiful books. I also find travelling very inspirational, especially city trips to London. And I like to go to the cinema or watch a few movies at home and meet my dearest friends to gossip.”
What are your goals and wishes for “feinedinge*” ? And do you have any advice for other creative founders – or those who want to be?
Sandra Haischberger: “Right now my long term goal for feinedinge* is that we handle our own production process in our new, much larger shop. In between time, I hope to have enough work and orders but still have the time to develop new products, because that is the greatest fun and the most exciting process, but also the one that takes up the most time.
My advice to new business founders is that they should be able to rely on their gut feeling.
I found that I have always made my best decisions when acting upon my gut feeling. If you start to think about it too much the idea become complicated and then uncertainty starts to creep in.
Finally, I firmly believe that if you do everything with great passion, you will succeed.”
Thanks for the interview, Sandra!