We had the good fortune of connecting with Marianne Steinborn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marianne, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I always thought of myself being one of the most risk-averse persons in the universe. In everyday life I try to minimize risk whenever I can, although I know taking risk, even in the tiniest situations, spices up your life and takes you forward. But, I would be the one who always picks the same dish on the menu just to avoid disappointment. Stock markets are not for me, I fear losing to much money. I really never asked myself what role risks played in my life. So, you can imagine my surprise when, triggered by your question, I realized, looking back to the major milestones in my life, that I have used to choose the most different and risky path in every case. For example: While everyone of my peer group stayed, I left my small hometown right after high school to work in Frankfurt. I quit my first job not knowing if the university I applied for would except me (it did not). I left a long and good relationship not knowing if the man I have laid eyes on would love me back (he is now my husband and father of my children). I did not just change my job in public relations and hired with another communications agency, I quit the secure position and decided to start my own business in a challenging time. Definitely need to reverse the picture of myself!
What should our readers know about your business?
Nearly every day I think: Crazy! This is real. You are doing it. And you are doing it well. People love the things you create and pay a good prize for them. I’m proud of what I personally have achieved so far. I’m proud of ,us’, all the people who helped and made this project work. I’m proud of being a good role model for my kids. Every day, it makes me happy to come into my studio knowing that I can work creatively with my hands and my mind, create beautiful things and that there are people at the end, who love my pieces and have a good time using them. Along the way I have learned two things. First, I can do it and it’s easier once you have started and go step by step out of your comfort zone. Second, there is more help and support I could ever imagine. With everything I do, doors open and show new possibilities and new great people to work with. The idea to start my own business evolved not just out of the unsatisfaction with my old job but also out of simple things in everyday family life. I wanted to have lids for my bowls, so that I can put leftovers into the fridge without using plastic. And I wanted to have minimalist and stylish tableware with really good quality that withstand the family life’s challenges. I wanted timeless and robust tableware with matching “living” colors that also go with existing tableware in my cupboard. So, combined with my passion for being a ceramicist, the desire to work creatively and the love for Scandinavian design the idea came up to create my own ceramics tableware, just the way I wanted it for myself. And that is what I did and do. indre Ceramics are versatile and robust stoneware cups, mugs, bowls, plates and more with minimalist Scandinavian design suitable for everyday use. There is a sustainable approach to every aspect of the business and the products. Most important, the ceramics are handcrafted just around the corner here in Germany, which has a long and excellent history and reputation in craftsmanship and pottery. The business model is based on two pillars. First and big one: I design the shapes, models and the matching glaze colors, create prototypes etc. and the final ceramics of the main collection are then handcrafted in a small pottery near Frankfurt. Second and smaller pillar includes a limited and more edgier studio collection that I produce directly in my studio. So, I have both: a scalable business approach and the pleasure of handcrafting ceramics. Well, this is just the beginning. I started last year in spring. There is so much more to learn and to gain. I just go for it, now that I know taking risks can prove quite successful.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Having a good time here in Frankfurt is quite easy. After a Saturday morning strolling over the farmer’s market, enjoying fresh croissants from the French bakery I would take my friend to the Lohrberg. That hill just around the corner not only offers a great view of the city of Frankfurt and Germanies only real skyscraper skyline but is also Frankfurt’s last vineyard. We would drink apple cider and have a chat with friends and family. Next we would watch the skaters in the urban quarter next to the European Central Bank at the river Main and after that enjoy the Old Masters at Städel Museum. After a day of walking through the old city center and enjoying the different quarters with its parks, we would grab a good coffee at The Holy Cross Brewing Society and have a night out with cocktails and beats at the Bahnhofsviertel district. Also, there are great hiking trails and ancient Roman walls to discover on a day spent in the Taunus woods near Frankfurt. Last, but not least, we would make a day trip to famous Rheingau region with its exceptional vineyards. There is a gorgeous walk from Castle Johannisberg to Castle Vollrads where we would taste the Riesling wine. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First person that comes into my mind is my husband. I cannot wish for a better partner in heart and mind. He encourages me in everything and tries to convince me that I can make it. Also, he is a really good mentor business-wise und supports me even in day-to-day tasks regarding my start-up. And of course there are my mother and my friends who encourage me and help with advise and contacts. There is also a certain part of inspiration and encouragement by women who are not close friends or family, that lead to the point where I stand now. There is the self-made ceramist on a craft fair who inspired me to follow my passion even if I do not have an educational degree in the field. There is the business and life coach who showed me that it is right to follow my impulses. There is the coach from the women’s business network who helped getting my ideas straight and make a business plan. And there is a friend and business partner who encourages me and helps a great deal in getting the products public and recognized and acts as an excellent brand ambassador. It is not you alone, but you and your personal environment that creates success and happiness.