Christoph Fahle
April 2, 2012

Startup of the Week: Merisier

Anna Bojic, is an inventor, and is the founder and CEO of Merisier. She studied art at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin, and also Cultural Studies at the Freie Universität, Berlin. She is interested in culture and communications, and for her, gift-giving is one of the oldest forms of communication.Merisier presents a new and fair direction for idea-creation as an online shop for stylish and sustainable gifts. Fair trade and sustainability play a central role in the selection of their products, because they believe that they can change the world with many small decisions. Merisier helps customers choose a handsome, elegant and original gift to give straight from the heart.

Interview by Mateja Plaskan

Anna Bojic, is an inventor, and is the founder and CEO of Merisier. She studied art at the University of Fine Arts in Berlin, and also Cultural Studies at the Freie Universität, Berlin. She is interested in culture and communications, and for her, gift-giving is one of the oldest forms of communication.Merisier presents a new and fair direction for idea-creation as an online shop for stylish and sustainable gifts. Fair trade and sustainability play a central role in the selection of their products, because they believe that they can change the world with many small decisions. Merisier helps customers choose a handsome, elegant and original gift to give straight from the heart.

Does the name 'Merisier' have any special meaning for you, or for what do you do, or did you decide on the name at random?

Well, it’s a little bit of both. One day, back in August, we were just thinking of which name to pick as we were walking through Kreuzberg, where there are a lot of wild cherry trees. The wild cherry is an almost-black fruit, and the ones that had fallen on the ground looked marvelous, like little dark rubies. They were everywhere on the street, and were glittering beautifully; and we thought that would be a really nice picture with a lot of glamour. We wanted to take these colours and make a logo out of it. The German name for wild cherry is ‘Vogelkirsche’, which means ‘bird cherry’; and in French, the word is ‘merisier’. We picked the latter because it somehow matches what we do: we pick the most beautiful things that we find out of everything, and then put them together. I am like a little bird: I pick all those little things and try to match them with each other.

Nowadays, we are overcrowded with online shops. How do you handle the competition, and what makes you unique?

Well there are a lot of online shops, and also a lot of online shops that sell gifts, but I haven’t yet found a online shop that actually combines gifts in a narrative way - a way in which the gifts are telling a story. So this is what makes us special: we have a narrative approach to making and giving gifts, taking small components that we put together to tell a story. We find something new, funny, tender, loud; something that reminds you of the 80s, or of when you were little. We make those kinds of combinations, and that’s what makes us different.

Another thing is that we can send gifts you buy online directly to whomever you want - even outside of Berlin - including greeting cards with custom text, gift wrap, and so on - without having to receive and repackage it yourself.

"Himmel und Erde" - one of the many themed gift packages from Merisier

Your website shows us different target groups, such as “for her”, “for him”, babies, and business associates. Which one of those is your main consumer client?

So far, we haven’t found a lot of gifts for babies yet, but a lot of birthday presents for either men or women, and an increasing number for business clients nowadays.

How are you inspired to create and design the right gift for the right target group, and make them happy?

I try to find a gift that you wouldn’t throw away. I try to find a gifts that are both usable and special; that you cannot find in just any store or supermarket. Somebody can then get a present that he or she cannot easily find. And maybe that makes the gift more special and surprises the person, as they would be getting something they may not have seen before.

"You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" gift package

Are you collaborating with any other firms at the moment?

We work with a few other brands, such as the independent film store Arthaus, and the cosmetics company Uslu Airlines, and create gift packages with their products. We are also starting collaborate with Lego, the toy company. They introduced a new line called Lego Architecture, which is aimed at adults who remember playing with Lego as children. I’ve created some really fun and interesting packages from the Lego Architecture series.

How long has Merisier been existence? What are some of your plans for the future?

We just went online in the middle of November last year. Anyone who speaks German at this point can use this website, because we haven’t translated it into English yet - though we plan to do that in the next 2 to 3 months. You can also send gifts worldwide as well: there’s no problem if you want to send a gift to China, USA, or France. We actually have sent some gifts worldwide, which is kind of fun because it can travel across the world and make someone happy there.

Want to become a member at betahaus l Berlin? More information here!

 

Claudius: Design is the core of what we do and what we’re all passionate about, but hardly our only focus. Design, at LAUDO, stands more for designing a whole strategy, often very close connected with marketing. We’re developing websites and apps for our clients, but also help them reach their target audience through SEO, Google ranking developing newsletter systems, print brochures etc.

Claudius: A lot of other companies are seeing themselves as a service provider and don’t really question what their client wants and why. We pay very close attention if the work we provide for a client is in line with our personal values and vision. It’s not just delivering a product to the client, getting the paycheck and leaving, but also building relationships with clients and collaborating. Because they are often our doors to new opportunities

We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’

‘’We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’’
Photos by Lea GK

Orietta: I think one thing that makes us stand out on the market and our number one strength is the team. We’re a small team and we all look in the same direction and have the same approach and vision. That makes the communication go smoothly.

Joey: Another thing is that we have a very hands-on approach. We are the guys, who say: ‘’Okay, let’s do it’’. That’s our culture.

Orietta: When we started looking for a place I was already involved in the betahaus community. Working from previous betahaus locations and attending the community events, I already knew a lot of people in the 'haus ...

Joey: Yes, I remember on the first day we came to betahaus Orietta was like ‘’Oh, hey! Hi! Hey, how are you doing? Hi!'' giving high-fives to everybody and we were like: What is going on, why does she know everybody?!

Orietta: Well, the vibe in betahaus is just super easy going. You directly feel that you can meet people easily. If you go to the kitchen for example and just ask ''Hey how are you, what are you working on?''. We made many new contacts too.

Claudius: What makes it nice here is that people are enjoying being here and working on their projects.

Photos by Lea GK

Claudius: The truth is, we could probably afford an office for the same price, but that would put us between these four walls, which put you into a box, much harder to exit and to connect with new people. We went for a Team Desk because here we have so much more space and everything seems much more connected. You can easily meet people.

Orietta: And it’s just so spacious here. We have this super nice garden.

Claudius: I like being focused on my work but I also like if someone disturbs me from time to time. It helps when the door opens. In an office we would work in a whole different way. Here Gillord (Coworking Manager) is coming in everyday, giving me a hug, telling me about his workout .. that’s the main reason - the personal connection.

The day in betahaus starts with a hug and ends with a hug. The time in between is pretty much spent on doing what you love.
Photos by Lea GK


After you’ve taken care of your paperwork and you’ve signed up both in Bürger- and Finanzamt, you are all set up to start working. One of the best ways to get integrated into the city fast, meet like-minded people, and even find clients is by working from a coworking space. There are tons of benefits for freelancers and luckily Berlin has a lot to offer in this way. A coworking space is a physically collaborative shared workspace, which brings all kinds of creatives and entrepreneurs together. It’s a perfect place for startups, freelancers, digital nomads and even corporates searching for innovation. And it’s the biggest advantage towards the typical office space is that it pushes a collaborative exchange between its members and facilitates the creative process and networking.

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