Gärflasche © Lars Franzen,

Start-ups in Hamburg turning DIY trends into business models

Brewing beer and designing mobile phones are latest trends - knitting is out

More and more start-ups in Hamburg are turning to Do It Yourself trends for new business ideas. The DIY sector is brimful of bloggers presenting their latest tips and clever ideas to the handmade scene. In her latest blog entry, Meike alias “FrauCrafteln talks about finding the right pattern for sewing personal summer skirts. Another blogger called elbmadame presents DIY ideas for decorating that she collects on her travels and brings back to Hamburg. And start-ups are taking notice of the trend.

Pride in self-made goods

Vollkorn Internet GmbH is selling varied, high-quality types of bread mixes. Founders Sophie Oestreich and Hanno v. d. Decken launched an online store called “Meisterwerk” in March and began offering vegan, gluten and lactose-free bread baking mixes for the home. Oestrich, who is also responsible for marketing, said: “We found conventional baking mixtures neither exciting nor contemporary. That’s how we got the idea. There is a trend towards doing things yourself and really experiencing originals.” Meisterwerk also encourages users to combine recipes and try out different baking moulds resulting in individual products and “giving pride in having made something yourself”.

Off the beaten track

DIY is also the name of the game for founders Kathy Gabel and Jörg Iversen. They are selling a so-called “Braubox” or literally brewing box via their online store “Besserbrauer”. Users can then brew beer at home. The DIY set contains hop, malt and yeast as well as a five-litre glass fermentation bottle, a glass thermometer and filling pump. Buyers can choose from Pale Ale, light or dark beer as well as Frühlingsbock beer. The whole procedure takes about five hours. Gabel and Iversen believe: “Hand brewn, high-quality beers off the beaten track are in great demand.” And there is a growing demand for brewing beer at home.

Fabbing becoming global trend

And the craving for homemade items is not limited to baking or brewing. All kinds of technical products – from mobile phones to robots – are being designed and produced individually. This latest trend is called fabbing and originated in the United States and gained a footing in Germany some years ago. The goal is to provide tools and give everyone access to a digital production that has so far been confined to factories. The Fab Lab Fabulous St. Pauli e.V. is part of a 600-strong, worldwide network of “Fabrication Laboratories” and is bent on making fabbing accessible to the widest possible audience. Many big cities have community workshops for new computer controlled machines like 3D printers, laser-cutters and CNC milling machines. Anyone can try turning their technical designs into real products at Hamburg’s Fab Lab in regular workshops.

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