Berlin is beautiful: it is open-minded, eclectic, and full of surprises. Sometimes you walk the streets on a cold and rainy winter day and then your eye meets this unexpected happy-go-lucky detail and just then your mood transforms: you smile and start thinking about sunny summer days.
Do you want to meet a creator of such very extraordinary ordinary things? We are happy to introduce Madlen to you – owner of Ikuritaschen, a Berlin based brand for oilcloth bags, saddles and further little helpers. Madlen is an art historian who took the risk of following her heart and her dreams and created her own business. Her brand @ikuritaschen brings sunshine and happy vibes to the city streets and will surprise you with vibrant colors, crazy patterns and great functionality.
Madlen, welcome! Your brand Ikuritaschen was born in 2016 and it is your longtime dream come true, please tell us a little more about your products and yourself?
I lived for 6 years in Mexico where I learned about the Mexican oilcloth and felt in love with it so I decided to design and produce oilcloth bags and start my own online shop. Originally, I am an art historian and I worked many years in the international art scene but when I became a mother I sought for a change. I was looking for something to do on my own, create my own business.
What was the biggest challenge on your way to your own business?
The biggest challenge was not to listen to people who didn´t believe in me and my project. I got a lot of motivation from friends but my family would prefer to see me in a regular job with a secure income and employees benefits and so on. But I didn´t see myself there. Also, I never had nothing like this when I was employed in the art sector.
You had so many exciting events in 2016, what was your ultimate highlight?
My personal highlight was a presentation of my bags at the Dawanda Snuggery which was filmed by RTL, a German television channel. It will be broadcasted very soon in the TV show „Hit or Hobby“ and I am very excited about it and hope many people will see it and get to know more about my bags.
How does your regular day look like?
I work in home office some hours a day, work on the orders and bring them to the post office, do marketing and social media, work on the new collection of bicycle bags for kids and saddle covers. The afternoons I spend with my kids and then I go back to work at night when they are asleep.
Madlen, you are a mom and a business owner, do you believe in work-life balance and what is your secret?
Well, the reason why I chose this job was to find a work-life balance. When you start your own project, it demands a lot but the good thing about it is that you get to choose your own speed and your own level of stress and there is nobody pressurizing you. I think the secret is to love what you do and to do what you love, to be patient, to give it time and let it grow, in both personal and in a professional manner. My priority has been always my kids because the time I spend with them now will never come back.
Your products have the most vibrant colors and crazy patterns, all Ikuri products are also very practical, where do your inspirations come from?
My inspiration comes from Mexican handcrafts and handling with colors, and I am working together with Mexican artisans and benefit from their expertise.
You work with waxed cloth, why did you decide to go with this material?
I love the vintage pattern and colors. And of course, I estimate the values of the material as it is very robust and water-repellent. And as its original use is for tablecloth, it is strictly tested for harmful substances and is certified according to the Quality Norm ISO 9001.
What are your personal and business goals for 2017?
I want to amplify the product line in my shop. At the moment I am working on bike panniers and backpacks for kids and saddle covers. But I have so many ideas for other products I want to create.
Which woman in your life would you like to thank today and why?
I want to thank my friend and business partner Alejandra. She was my neighbour 2 years ago when I spent some time in Mexico and she introduced me to sewing. When I talked to her about my idea with the oilcloth bags she was the first to motivate me and to help me to find a producer for the bags. Without her I would have never even began with this project. Now, 2 years later, she is still on my side coordinating production in Mexico and at the same time she is the person with whom I can share my achievements and worries.
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