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A crazy idea - sell handmade unique items online and be successful with it. With her DaWanda portal, Claudia Helming has hit the nerve of the times and developed the largest marketplace for self-made things in Europe. A look behind the scenes.
“Do something safe!” Or “How do you want to earn money with manual labor?” I had to hear more than once. Because many considered the idea of selling handmade items online and the goal of creating a really large, international and economically successful company to be more than crazy. But I did not let myself be unsettled and continued to firmly believe in my idea - the success today proves me right. Sometimes I rave about the fact that so much more is possible in the long term - for example creating hundreds of thousands or millions of jobs or connecting third world countries to the global economy; To undermine the world economic order in general and at the same time to be sustainable and economically successful.
Conquered Europe with homemade
When I utter this vision, very few congratulate me on my sense of reality. But I am convinced that you have to set yourself big goals and reach for the stars from time to time. This is the only way to fight for your ideas with the necessary bite for many years. At the end of 2009, three years after the online marketplace was founded, DaWanda was able to operate profitably. That is why we successfully concentrated on the internationalization of the company: The DaWanda website is now available in German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Dutch - and it is Europe's largest marketplace for home-made and unique items.
Handmade is popular
Creatives and designers not only produce for their own use, they also want to market their products successfully. But having your own shop is usually associated with a relatively high level of effort and financial risk; a Christmas or craft market is reserved for a local market. On the other hand, anyone can use an online marketplace to offer their products to a large target group in a comparatively uncomplicated way - perhaps even worldwide. This enables people all over the world, especially women and mothers, to enter self-employment and successful entrepreneurship - beyond gigantic global marketing chains. It has been shown that our vision of helping creative people to turn their passion into a profession has taken shape: Today around 20% of all DaWanda sellers live from their products.
"Handmade" as a strong brand
The fact that this has been successful is primarily due to the fact that public perception has changed enormously: “Handmade” has a high priority today and defines its own established category - comparable to the organic seal. DaWanda has contributed a lot to this image change. More and more people appreciate the particularity of unique items that go beyond industrialized mass consumption. You want sustainable products that were not produced on an assembly line.
They think about the origin of their clothing, accessories and furnishings and want to stand out from the crowd with unique pieces or express themselves through self-made clothing. The market for creative, individual, handmade products has therefore developed well, and the current do-it-yourself trend has become a way of life for many. We recognized this trend early on, and we were also able to convince our investors of it.
Maintain the spirit of founding
On this basis, we want to grow further and promote internationalization. While DaWanda was initially known primarily through word of mouth, PR, blogs and social media, today we cover all classic marketing channels.
We rely on online forms of advertising, search engine optimization and still a lot on community management in social media.
But as important as international expansion, further growth and market leadership are, we want to keep our innovative spirit of start-up at the same time.
The company is constantly changing. But independent thinking, quick action and the efficiency of a start-up should remain in the interests of the customer. Also the friendly and the human. It cannot be done alone. Contributing to this are the people who have been with us for a long time, who know and live the spirit. And my door is never closed: anyone can come in whenever they want.
This blog post is an abbreviated excerpt from a specialist article that appeared in the new TOP 100 book “Wegbereiter” (Redline-Verlag). To the portal: www.dawanda.com
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