"...the first thing to think about if you want to build up a business is that you need to invest time and money" - Ranina Strohmer.
Born In Madrid and raised in Munich with a South African, Indian and Bavarian background. Ranina Strohmer founder of Ranina-Shop.de provides worldly insight into balancing life as a parent, running a business and being creative.
Tell us about your career as a designer and why did you start your own business? After my A levels I successfully completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter. I then changed my education focus, as I wanted to study architecture, but I found more suitable options for studying in London, these were not as technical or static as studying architecture. With this I completed a one year foundation course including graphic design/fine arts/product design/textiles and after which I went on to study graphic design within a three year BA(Hons) degree.
Following this I moved back to Munich and worked in several advertising agencies to gather experience and knowledge. After several years I wanted more independence and room for my own creativity. So I started working as a freelance graphic designer for agencies, companies and smaller clients. My work had become a business of it's own and was very successful, then my daughter was born.
I had to rethink my situation and find something I could do using the short time frames I had within organizing my new family life. I wanted to do something useful, and fun at the same time. I taught myself how to sew and started to make clothes for my daughter but this wasn’t professional enough for me. So I created the concept of an online shop for kids clothing from small but professional and independent labels.
Explain how did you go about structuring the business? Firstly by asking the right questions -
"Who sells and buys clothing for kids?"
"How, where and what types are sold/purchased?"
"What are the levels of market demands, trends and success?"
Then building the knowledge base of acquisitions, advertising (print and online) and research.
Finally knowing how to handle the financial side of a business was really important. All of these points combined - encouraged me to develop my own store.
How do you balance being a parent, running a business and keeping you career on track? If work is fun and doesn’t become a burden, everything is possible. Time management is the most important thing.
During the day and in the late evening hours I do the most important things, sending out orders, checking offers of corporation, visiting fairs, keeping the shop up to date, adding new articles to the system, looking for new brands and so on.
And most importantly, I have a great husband who helps me with everything, including the household and taking care of our daughter!
What have been the challenges of starting a business? At the beginning of every business lies the most important question: the financing. Really, the first thing to think about if you want to build up a business is that you need to invest time and money. You have to keep in mind that you won’t be earning much in the first say 2-4 years.
Where do you see the business in 5 years time?
1. Having an online shop and a physical shop at the same time. This is my next big goal.
2. Selling clothes made from organic fabrics which are not only made from environmentally friendly raw materials but also are produced in decent working conditions, providing a credible assurance to the end consumer.
3. I want to be able to keep selling organic designer clothes from small labels and never mass market clothes.
Words of advice for the youth of the planet? Dare to take risks. Dare to realize your wishes and ideas. Dare to make yourself independent.