In our monthly Founders & Faces column, we introduce you to inspiring founders and faces from fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. This time with Daniela, founder of TASCHENBAUM (bag tree) who tells us about her idea and the journey to a sustainable bag tree.
Who and what is behind TASCHENBAUM?
TASCHENBAUM is a practical bag stand that can be used anywhere at home. TASCHENBAUM, that's my mom Angela and me, Daniela. We were born in Ulm, but I currently live in Munich. Our warehouse is in Ulm – still in my grandma's house.
How did you get the idea for the TASCHENBAUM?
When we lived in Mexico for two years, I noticed small racks next to restaurants tables to hang handbags, shopping bags, jackets or hats on. I found this quite handy, because that way I didn't have to put my bag on the floor, keep it on my lap or put it on the table anymore. I ended up having these mini coat racks made for my home in Puebla. I had to find small Mexican workshops in the countryside for that. Because you can't buy these "percheros" just like that. I gave them away as birthday or wedding gifts. Slowly, the word got around in Puebla. When my husband started hanging up his laptop bag, sports bag and tennis rackets there every day, I realized how much tidier everything had become. The bag stands were right in the hallway and from then on, we just put all the things there that we used every day – bags, backpacks, scarves or umbrellas. It is also perfect for dog leashes as my friends with dogs have told me.
Did you always want to start a brand or what was your original career plan?
I didn't actually plan to start a brand. I have worked as a product manager for the last 10 years though – not in fashion or lifestyle, but in medical technology. But how to make products better has top priority there as well. I talked a lot with users in the clinics and was always open for product optimizations. I am 100% behind the TASCHENBAUM, because I believe it really is useful. And since I've had it, I can't imagine being without it. So it has now also become my personal "perfect fit".
What Vision/Mission is behind your label?
I feel committed to sustainable and responsible manufacturing – at best, mostly regional. "Made for life" is my vision. I want our TASCHENBÄUME to be high quality, very durable and to be used for many years in all of our homes. My mission is to make the TASCHENBAUM better known in Europe as well, because I think that Italian and French women have similar "bag situations" and storage issues. The TASCHENBAUM can actually be used in any room. I also don't want shipping to affect product quality. That's why I deliberately avoid assembling or screwing together our bag stands. Rather, I rely on a fully welded production (iron). We deliver the TASCHENBAUM in one piece – I don’t think many furniture manufacturers offer that. That’s why shipping continues to be a challenge for us, but over the years we have optimized the packaging.
How did you come to cooperate with the Lebenshilfe charity?
I’m born in the city of Ulm and know the Lebenshilfe from back then. As a teenager, I was a social work volunteer. For example, I took care of a deaf person and worked with him on his speech development. We are still in contact. He has come a long way. In Wiblingen near Ulm, I had the opportunity to accompany people with disabilities during their leisure time. There I went on excursions with a young girl my age – into town for shopping or for ice cream. That’s why it's important to me as a small business owner that we don't forget the regional and social factors.
Do you design the TASCHENBÄUME yourself?
We have my husband to thank for the design of our current TASCHENBÄUME. He is a static engineer and has helped us to ensure that the TASCHENBAUM is tilt-resistant and holds up to 15 kilos of bags without wobbling. Even if everything hangs on one side or on one branch, the TASCHENBAUM does not topple over. Classic coat racks are often a bit more unstable. I am very grateful to him that we now have a minimalist, classic and timeless design of the TASCHENBÄUME. That was still very different in 2017. Back then, our TASCHENBÄUME were more inspired by Mexican craftsmanship and had curved holders and also a round base. But the current design has clearly prevailed and proven itself.
How long did you develop and perfect the TASCHENBAUM before you offered the first ones for sale?
I started very early to "sell" the first TASCHENBÄUME at friend prices (the material value back then). Because in the beginning I still tested a lot myself – the TASCHENBÄUME were red, yellow, turquoise, pink and you could also put together the colors yourself. One of the most colorful models for a friend had a black base, a turquoise trunk and the branches were white and red. When we came back to Germany it became very clear that white, black and natural wood are the preferred colors for furniture. In addition, customers prefer clear lines. Gold has also been in trend for some time now.
How do you get inspired for new designs or colors?
We don't have a creative product development process yet. I want to be completely honest about that. Currently, the TASCHENBÄUME are Scandinavian and simple. But since Instagram allows us to be in direct contact with you today, I want to use this platform in the future to discuss new color lines in polls.
How do you get motivated and what motivates you the most?
I’m motivated by our customer reviews. I personally read every review and try to find a way to quickly resolve any complaints – which do and may exist. Feedbacks like "once a TASCHENBAUM – always a TASCHENBAUM" or "I can't do without my TASCHENBAUM" confirm to me that we have created a very practical all-rounder for everyday use.
Before you started, what did you think would be easier than it actually was?
I thought it would be easier to inspire confidence in our product. I realized that the factual product advantages only convince at third or fourth glance. And I also didn't imagine the marketing to be so complex. Unfortunately, it's just not enough to have a website and an Instagram account. And to be honest, I have not focused on our branding for the last few years. I always put the product front and center. By now I know that it matters for many people to see who is behind a product, why you do something and what motivates you to do it.
What is the most important lesson you've learned so far?
The most important learning or the biggest surprise really happened last summer in 2021, when Larissa from ZOÉ LU simply replied to me on Instagram and showed our TASCHENBAUM hung with beautiful ZOÉ LU bags. Overnight our channel gained 1,000 more followers. I could barely sleep that night because my phone was blinking constantly. And that was beautiful proof for me that TASCHENBAUM hits a nerve with bag lovers.
Where do you see your company in the future?
I would love for our TASCHENBAUM to find its way into German, Austrian and other European households. To be honest, I have no clear big vision, but I would be happy if our TASCHENBÄUME excite customers for a few more years because the "TASCHENBAUM business" is a lot of fun for me and I meet so many women this way.
What is your Must-Have color of the season?
Personally I lean toward classic, timeless colors. But you do need some highlights. That’s why I can’t wait to see your 2022 collection, dear ZOÉ LU team.
Find more information about Daniela and TASCHENBAUM here.