Formenreich (Shop Owner: Partner Up + Ask For Help)

Formenreich in Hannover, Germany leases a space in Galeria Kaufhof, a popular German department store. All three partners (Rike, Mareike, and Anette) are fashion designers and wanted to bring their designs into a retail environment, so they approached the big box retailer about a dead space they noticed adjacent to the music department that appeared to be used only as storage.

To their surprise, the massive retail giant supported their indie store plans and approved their lease for a trial period of one year. Excited, yet no doubt fearful, these ladies jumped in and created Formenreich, a collaborative effort where they, along with other up-and-coming fashion, jewelry, and accessories designers from Germany and other parts of Europe, share this unique space that offers soaring ceilings, tons of natural light, a workspace, and a prime downtown location. They even have access to one display window on street level near the Kaufhof entrance.

I guess their mentality is that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Join 'em as long as you are still doing your thing that is... And these ladies are. I think it was such a smart move on their part to see an opportunity and then to actually do something with it. That's an inspiring story, isn't it?

Formenreich overlooks old Hannover and a beautiful church dating back to the 1100's. Of course, without the support of other designers who pay a small fee to rent space in the store, it may be difficult to make it work - but with their creative colleagues on board, these ladies found a way to turn their dream into a reality.

I visited them in their store this past November and met with Anette and Mareike, and they told me their story along with some very good news - Galeria Kaufhof extended their lease and they're now in their 2nd year of business. I can't wait to visit them again this Fall to see if they'll be signing on for a 3rd year. Fingers crossed!

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