I work between two offices, one in Passau, a small city in Lower Bavaria; and our marketing office in Berlin, right in the heart of vibrant Kreuzberg.
It’s Monday today and I'm in Berlin, so we start with our kick-off breakfast. Every team member talks about their short-term goals, and we discuss this week’s agenda. Then I usually head into a phone conference with my two Co-Founders Hubertus and Philipp. Right now it’s mostly about our stores. In 2012 we started to open mymuesli stores in Germany, there are eleven now and still a few to come for 2014.
Thus we speak about store layouts, rents, the real estate craze, and discuss new opportunities. mymuesli was started and still operates by cash-flow only, no venture capital involved, only bank loans and our very own funds. Hence growth is something we approach with care and lots of thought. After all our whole business is built around sustainability, we’re not in it for short-term profits.
After our call (which can take up to 1,5 hours) we’re usually ready for a first coffee break. Our passion for coffee and the “third wave” culture started in 2009. Since then I’ve visited lots of coffee events and gave speeches about the coffee business. And naturally we started our own coffee brand, Green Cup Coffee. It’s a single origin concept, meaning we source from the world’s best fincas. Our goal is to educate people, tasting differences in territory, country and farm. It’s growing every year and meeting our expectations thanks to our project leader, Annika. But selling high quality coffee through the internet is still tough in Germany. People are still very much used to supermarket beans. Of course Berlin is different, at least in some places. Right in our building we get to enjoy coffee from one of the many coffee shops in town: Concierge Coffee, serving from a Kees van der Westen espresso machine. If you’re a coffee geek you have to check it out when visiting Berlin.
It’s probably close to 11am now, and my email account awaits me. I dread opening my laptop, we do get lots and lots of emails, probably like most startups. It gets worse every year but that’s just part of selling online I think. I try to finish up before lunch, answering questions from journalists or dealing with legal issues e.g. requirements for a new store opening or a marketing campaign.
For lunch we love to cook in our office. Not every day of course, but when the pace isn’t too crazy it’s fun to get a group together and prepare a great meal. Strolling along the channel next to our building following lunch break is a must, at least for a few minutes.
I travel a lot, not to Tokyo or New York City, but between Passau and Berlin mostly or to other cities within Europe. It’s the same with my two co-founders. Our travelling increased a lot during the last years, probably due to the fact that mymuesli’s now available in five countries and gets more and more attention every year. We’re so happy about that. It all started out as a crazy dream about bringing a premium muesli to life. And now we’re a large family of like-minded people, all trying to produce and market the world’s best muesli. Which, by the way, is a good snack during the afternoon, where we mostly have internal meetings: a new website design, changes in our production process, these kinds of things. We enjoy our work a lot. It’s challenging but very diverse. We never know what the day has in store.
A lack of concentration in the early afternoon is then compensated by a ping-pong match. A lot of people in our company are obsessed with ping-pong and I am no exception. However, I am still not very good and mostly losing to my co-founder Philipp.
The early evening is good for brainstorming. We face lots of challenges in the months to come: mostly our own very ambitious goals. We love muesli. And we want to be awesome. In a small group we discuss concepts, ideas and new approaches to a business that hasn’t seen much innovation since the invention of muesli by Dr Maximilian Bircher-Benner in Switzerland.
A gym is right across our office – from my point of view the best way to end a day. However, Kreuzberg is full of culinary distractions. I live very close to the office and thus strolling along the various streets together with my wife is often winning over working out. We enjoy living in this multinational part of town. It’s different in Passau where it’s really quiet, rural and peaceful. There I often end the day jogging along the Danube or the Inn, two of the three rivers that surround the small city. The next day already pops into my mind. But the future looks promising for mymuesli. It’s a gift to have such a great team and to see the business grow day after day…