OFFICE TOUR: MEIN MONOGRAMM
Some days I really miss my days as a corporate designer, the buzz of meeting a new client and walking into a blank canvas space ready to create something that represents my client’s brand perfectly. Of course nowadays I get to do that on a much more intimate level with our brand partners, but it’s more flowers and jewellery than paint colours and floor finishes!
Today I get to indulge a little in my own life, as we follow the journey of Jennifer Henja and her partner Conrad as they create a new space for their business Mein Monogramm, in an old warehouse near their home town of Münster, Germany. Selling a range of luxury monogrammed gifts, they needed a space which could accommodate the manufacturing, stock and office for their new business venture, and their contemporary and industrial warehouse office couldn’t be more perfect!
Since setting up Jennifer Hejna Photography in 2009 we have focussed mainly on wedding photography and have been blessed to have our work featured in many of the world’s top wedding publications (including B.LOVED!)
In January last year we came up with a second business idea, a business for the future, because who knows if will be able to photograph weddings for the rest of our lives?! Starting a family, or one of us getting sick could prove very difficult with just being a wedding photographer, so we decided we need a second business that had nothing to do with photography but would be as much fun and combine our strengths! Conrad (my partner) comes from logistics originally and I studied marketing and worked for online shops before starting my photography business.
One evening I was searching for personalised presents, I realized here in Europe there wasn’t much to find, so the idea for a monogram shop was born. We wrote a business plan, got a loan, bought an embroidery machine and launched our online store “Mein Monogramm“.
The first steps were really hard and we were celebrating each single small order in the shop. We worked on getting published, creating a sustainable Instagram account and going to winter fairs. And then Christmas season started – a time of year that as wedding photographers had been our slow season!! The shop exploded and so did our old, small office. We couldn’t really welcome wedding clients in it as everything was crowded with boxes, products and production. We couldn’t really work as the machines was running all day and it was just one big mess when clients came over who wanted to pick up their products in person. The first sentence always was “We’re so sorry for this mess but…. this place is just too small.“ Even getting new product images was a big challenge because we didn’t have free space.
One evening we started searching online for a new space. and found a perfect office at an old veneer factory which we had both known since childhood as it was just on the border of our little village. The next day we visited this bare, brown, dark, cold hall. Our landlord was very gracious and installed heating, windows and stuff like that, so we had one month to renovate and move. We thought about it and decided with a little creativity we could make this a very nice loft office with industrial style.
The big lamps were a lucky catch too and now are the highlight of the room. The white walls and white floor make the space white and open even on dark days. The corner with the blue couch is our client corner where we meet wedding clients and people who come to visit. We have an island for the desks from where I can oversee the whole office and see if somebody comes to visit. We have a big grey sliding door, that we kept from the old hall, which gives the white room some depth. We have a little showroom for our monogrammed products and a kitchen for coffee and lunch breaks. In the back we have a second room for the storage and the sewing and embroidery machines, which makes it a lot less messy than our old office! When I now photograph the products for Instagram or for new products launches in our shop I have plenty of space while Conrad works on our orders, produces and packs the monogrammed products. He has his own packing station so everything works smoothly with the orders.
All in all it was a big, scary, project and when we show the before pictures to friends or clients they don’t believe we took that chance and dared to recreate this room, but we’re so glad we did!