19. February 2014–
Leaving behind her job at Fab in 2013, Lea Lange set out to create her own design-focused eCommerce platform. We caught up with her to find out about the challenges she's faced setting up her new art and fashion site, Juniqe.
Hi Lea, can you run us through what Juniqe is?
Sure. Juniqe is an art and fashion store for young, unconventional and urban art. We showcase current designs from trendy artists, regardless if they're from Berlin, New York or Tokyo.
Our printed motifs are the focus – they have clear, direct messages and loud colours and can be printed on everything from posters to apparel or accessories. Our products are available at a reasonable price – even for framed or canvas art pieces. Plus, three times a week we add up to 100 new products and launch themed pop-up stores.
Who is your target audience?
We focus on the urban, young and hip audience, aged 18 to 35 years. They have a certain lifestyle, follow trends and want to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Their style has many sources of influence but what they all have in common is a desire for individuality. Juniqe offers exactly that – items that stand out from the standard Ikea and H&M products.
Who are the founders, what positions did you have at Fab and what did you do before Fab?
Juniqe is founded by three people: Marc Pohl, Sebastian Hasebrink and myself (Lea Lange, pictured left). I spent two years at Fab, most recently as the head of European Strategy in the position of Executive Director Strategy and Analytics. Previously, I worked in consulting firms before I lead the purchasing team at Casacanda – Germany's Fab predecessor.
Marc also worked at Fab for two years and was responsible for logistics, first at Casacanda and then for the whole of Fab Europe. Previously, he worked as an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse in London and Frankfurt. Sebastian is the only one who never worked at Fab, he's an old classmate of Marc's – they met while studying at WHU. Sebastian last worked as a senior consultant at Roland Berger in Dubai.
When did you leave Fab and get the idea for Juniqe?
I was at Casacanda from day one – it was later acquired by Fab. I left Fab in autumn 2013 as the idea for Juniqe came to me while I was still working there.
I realised that a lot of people are looking for individual, cool art along with an alternative to the traditional, seasonal-driven fashion brands. That's why Juniqe always presents new, unconventional and surprising artists and designs. Our product design team often taps into viral topics, which they get online in various forms – quasi from trend to store within 24 hours. That's what we call "super fast retailing".
Were you always sure you wanted to do something with a design focus?
For me it was always clear. Fab was a great opportunity to live my passion for good design every day. I am constantly on fashion, art and lifestyle blogs anyway – now I can just stick my ideas into Juniqe.
What did you learn from Fab and what mistakes do you want to avoid with Juniqe?
I took a lot of positives from Fab and learned a lot. Fab grew very rapidly in a short time, which is also important for us. We will, however, be careful not to lose sight of our long term goals.
What is your USP?
Exciting products at reasonable prices. We offer an exclusive selection of young, urban art, which is based on a variety of quality products. We are trendsetters and are always one step ahead – soon, there will also be more product groups on Juniqe.
Our understanding of the customer is also a major USP, we are connected via all social media channels with our customers and always have our fingers on the pulse, ensuring our customers have a great experience from beginning to end.
Have you received any financing?
We were able to convince some experienced business angels from the areas of design, marketing and eCommerce of the Juniqe concept.
Do you have a role model?
I don't have a concrete example, but I have a lot of respect for companies that have managed to rapidly build a cool brand that is known worldwide – like Dietrich Mateschitz or Nick Robertson.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in founding a company?
Since I've experienced founding a company from scratch, I certainly have a lot of respect for the scaling of an online business and all the challenges that this entails – regardless whether this is in the logistics, merchandising or marketing. That really motivates us to give our all, every day.