• 1 330 words • 5min read •
Kauf Dich Glücklich is a particular German success story. I have already talked about it a bit in my article about my Concept Stores Tour in Berlin.
Started as a Waffle-Ice-Café in Berlin, the brand is representing today two Cafés and twenty concept stores over Germany, Amsterdam, and Vienna.
Discover the story behind a brand based on happiness, excellent intuitions, and authentic passions.
From Waffle to Fashion
Behind Kauf Dich Glücklich is hidden Andrea Dahmen and Christoph Munier. Two close friends who met during their studies of Product Design in Berlin. At this time, they discovered a common passion for collecting vintage furniture. Since they were sharing a flat, they decided to collect their findings from the flea markets in their own apartment. Little by little, some friends started to buy some furniture, and the demand was growing day after day.
At a point, the roommates realized that their apartment was definitely too small to welcome these precious treasures. Consequently, they decided to open their first concept store in 2002. The idea behind it was to welcome people in a very cozy and comfortable place, where you can drink great coffee and enjoy the so-called “best waffles in Berlin”. Hence, the first Kauf Dich Glücklich was a Waffle-Ice-Café, located in Oderbeger Str. 44, in Berlin.
The very special feature in this first shop was that you could buy the furniture in the shop, even the ones you were sitting on. You could buy literally everything you could see.
Two years afterward, the success of their first store pushes them to open a new one. The target city was Bremen, the hometown of Christoph. Unfortunately, they did not get the liquid license that allows them to sell all types of drinks. However, this restriction did not stop their enthusiasm. Indeed, Andrea and Christoph have another passion they would love to share at this time: the Scandinavian fashion and design.
Therefore, in 2004, they opened their first fashion concept store inspired by the Scandinavian lifestyle. Today, Andrea and Christoph are in charge of 2 cafés in Berlin, and 20 fashion concept stores in Berlin, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Munich, Munster, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Vienna and in Amsterdam.
“Buy You Happy”
In English, “Kauf Dich Glücklich” means “Buy You Happy”. In the beginning, this name was just a joke between the two co-founders. And then it became serious, they both agreed this sentence reflects the values they want to convey in their concept stores. This name is also very personal and reflects the philosophy the two co-founders have with their businesses: to create something great with heart and motivation.
What makes you happy when you visit a shop? Certainly the atmosphere. In this case, Andrea and Christoph are designing each store with great attention to detail to convey a warm and pleasant atmosphere.
But most importantly, what makes you happy is how the brand treat you in the shop: as a potential customer or as a potential friend? On this point, Andrea and Christoph consider that their visitors need to feel like they are invited to their place. Consequently, you can still get an ice cream and eat a homemade waffle in the Berliner Cafés. And in every fashion stores, you can learn how to prepare your own coffee with a barista coffee machine, and drink it for free.
What makes Kauf Dich Glücklich unique? The design of the stores plays a big part in it. To protect their comfortable and cozy atmosphere, the owners design and build all stores in their own workshop in Berlin, with their dedicated design team. The first idea is not to build a perfect place, but a place where you feel at home. It is like you are invited at Christoph and Andrea’s place. Every chair, every coach, every table, every vintage furniture is selected by Christoph himself.
When Andrea and Christoph want to open a new place, they put their heart and their passion in it, their personalities and their characters.
In consequence, each shop is different, following the moods and the intuitions of both co-founders. They don’t adjust the shop to the neighborhood or the city, but to their feelings about this specific place.
The other important aspect regarding the stores’ design is the respect of the brand evolution in the time.
Kauf Dich Glücklich involved a lot throughout the years but is not ashamed of what was “she” was before. In Bremen, the concept store is 14 years old, the owners decided to keep its identity. Indeed, respecting the brand’s history means keeping its authenticity. This is what seduce new customers and keep the loyal ones.
In the new concept stores, like the flagship of Berlin, they used new colors for their brand, so the colors are different from the previous ones. But the fact that the stores do not look like all the same is valorizing the evolution of the brand, like a real human that has experience and marks from its past.
Kauf Dich Glücklich is well known in Germany for its lovely range of women’s and men’s fashion, home accessories, natural cosmetics, jewelry, books, and gift items. With their buying teams, Andrea and Christoph put a lot of effort to mix things that are long-lasting and make you smile.
The product range focuses on Scandinavian design, ranges from smaller labels to established fashion brands and designers brands. The buying teams are inspiring themselves at fashion events in Berlin, such as the Fashion Weeks.
Accordingly, you will find some Berliner’s labels such as Lovely Day, Tomshot, Fine, Woodboom, Bling,… But also Jukserei, Too dreamy, Marin et Marine, and Coudre whose founders were working before at Kauf Dich Glücklich.
On top of this, in some cities, you will find collaborations with local brands and designers. For example, in Hamburg, the concept stores are valorizing Hamburger brands like Nowadays, FACETS, STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME, and Paper Ahoi.
To complete this brands selection, the owners started their own Kauf Dich Glücklich collection in 2012. Together with the graphics team, they launch two collections every year.
The patterns and prints on the pieces are designed in Berlin and are produced in Europe. The collection includes fashion pieces for men and women as well as accessories and jewelry.
To ensure their high-quality standards, the design team visits the producers in person to discuss new styles. The products are selected thoughtfully and the price range of collections are mixed so everyone can find something.
Transparency is key
What makes Kauf Dich Glücklich unique is also the fact that everything is well selected and made in-house to stay true to the concept. Every team (buying, design, distribution, graphics, photography, styling, marketing) all work hand in hand and sit together to ensure fast communication and a good exchange of new ideas. Today, this big team represents around 50 persons!
This proximity with their teams is also present with the employees on the field, which represent about 350 people. Andrea and Christoph are used to doing a tour of their concept stores in Europe. This initiative gives them the opportunity to have personal conversations with their employees, to get honest feedback about the collections, the sourcing, the furniture.
It also helps to improve the stores. Indeed, every shop is designed by in-house with vintage and authentic furniture. Therefore, it is important to be aware of something that needs to be replaced, optimized or changed.
This proximity with their people, you feel it when you step inside a Kauf Dich Glücklich concept store. These values of kindness and generosity shared by Andrea and Christoph are transmitted by their employees to the visitors. In consequence, the visitors are warmly welcome, they feel comfy, they become loyal.
Not in your country yet? It should come quick, I learned that Andrea and Christoph would love to open a shop in Belgium! And another one… in Holland!
Discover more about Kauf Dich Glücklich on their website: www.kaufdichgluecklich-shop.de.