For more than four years, I’ve known my current interview guest, Vanessa Janneck. At that time the native Cologne woman was part of a pop-up project in Hamburg, about that I wrote on the blog. The pop-up quickly vanish into thin air, but Vanessa remained in my life. From there on, we regularly cross our ways on design markets on which Vanessa sold the products of her label “Vanewonderland” on weekends. During the week, Vanessa was still following her agency job, but then in 2015 she finally quit her old job for starting her own store. It’s named “B-LAGE” and located in the district Sternschanze.
I am always fascinated by Vanessa’s courage and creativity. Her cactus shirt regularly travels with me on journeys and I also love to wear her cozy sweater with the word “MOIN” (which is a typical german word for “hello” in the north of germany). But not only Vanessa’s clothes are grown to my heart. A true friendship developed between her and me, for which I am very grateful.
When Vanessa and I visited our friends of TØRNQVIST last Saturday (a café project that ran a pop-up in the district St. Pauli last winter and will serve coffee again this summer with an old VW bulli on Hamburg’s markets), I finally asked myself, why Vanessa actually has not got any place in my interview series. The proximity is sometimes too far away. But this power woman is definitely missing and so the afternoon became a spontaneous interview for her. This interview by the way is the first one I also translate to Englisch – more of the past interviews will follow step by step.
After the common coffee-drinking we went for a walk and landed by chance at an apartment liquidation in the district Eppendorf. Vanessa’s bulky waste yield for the B-LAGE can be seen in the last picture. Especially when visiting the old building, furnished as in the 80s, we had a lot of fun.
What inspires you for your Label VANEWONDERLAND?
I usually find inspiration while traveling. Cities and cultures inspire me. My first bracelet collection was made in Barcelona. The anchor became a symbol and stands for me personally above all for the holding and releasing of my life sections, as well as the associated places and moments (Langenfeld – Cologne – Lanzarote – Essen – Barcelona – Hamburg).
The products, which were created last year, are an ode to the tropical elements of Hamburg. The #NORTETROPICAL collection makes us dream of warm summer days and shows that we can feel in our own city as on holidays through the local botanical garden, the harbor and the Elbstrand – or a boat trip over to Finkenwerder. The girl-power-patch came because of my independence. A product that stands for the cohesion and the strength of the women and which carry the message of equality into the world!
Sometimes products are also created by the ideas of friends who say “Please make this or that!” so also the “MOIN” sweater, which I for myself would never have designed because I do not wear prints. Same to the anchor cap, it was developed in a collaboration with Moritz of HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS. The next collection is already in production and will bear the name “LOVE Revolution”. The subject has occupied me for a long time and is now finally turned into a collection. There comes the little harmony hippie out of me, which carries a lot of love in it!
Were there moments when you regretted the step into self-employment?
Not even one! I grow with the challenge of being my own boss. Sometimes you miss your solid salary and the security, of course, but I have already survived with 400 euros per month during my studying time and my life standard never really changed. Luxury for me is not to live in a large apartment or to own a car, it’s the feeling of freedom.
The things you sell in your store come from many small labels. Which ones do you like the most and why?
Basically I gather in the B-LAGE only labels, which I can represent myself and which can not be found everywhere. The stories behind it count for me. I am friends with many designers, I get to know them at trade fairs or find them by chance at Instagram. Two weeks ago, I had Nindyaa as guest on my pop-up area. They producing organic cotton bed linen in Pakistan. I was instantly convinced of the products and of course have directly hit. Since then, I sleep as on clouds. The products of redfries and thie studios are also at the top of my favorites list. I love the fancy postcard design of the girls. The jewelry from tiphine is meanwhile fixed part of the assortment of the B-LAGE. Marieke forges every piece by herself and has her own special minimalist style.
What other women inspire you with their projects and ideas?
Phew, these are many. Actually, all who realize their ideas in their own way and thus also themselves. You belong also to it.
Where are you in Hamburg, if you can not meet in the B-LAGE?
In Eimsbüttel, I live there and meanwhile all of my friends. Otherwise I like to visit other shopkeepers in St. Pauli, in the district Neustadt (for example Winkel Van Sinkel) or in Eimsbüttel (for example the Krämerladen). For coffee drinking I often visit Linus (as with you today), go to the Nord Coast in the old town or the Klippkroog in Altona. And on the Elbstrand, there I am also more often.
What did you learn about life that you would like to share with others?
Just do it. It does not always go according to plan, but often through unknown paths exactly the things rech, which makes you happy.
Thank you very much for the interview! I am curious about everything that will come.