Let’s talk about KaDeWe, the famous luxury department store in West Berlin. It’s the second largest department store in Europe, after Harrods in London, and has this air of old money, fur coats, champagne, and caviar. It was surprising to witness you open a booth there.
Were you approached for that, did you apply?
Jessica: They approached us. I’d never been to KaDeWe ever, and then they sent us an e-mail and were like “we have a spot for you on the sixth floor”, so we went to check it out. Honestly, the first impression was not so good. It felt so outdated, kind of stuffy. That was before they did the whole renovation. It was super old-school. I am not the type of person who really goes to KaDeWe as a consumer, I didn’t really get it.
But then we spoke to a lot of people, and they were all like “oh man, for marketing reasons alone you have to do it”. At the end, we came back to our values and what we actually want to achieve with Brammibal’s. It made sense to just go for it.
Bram: So many people told us “I would never have gone to one of your stores, but I found out about you at KaDeWe”. It’s turned so many people onto to us and opened loads of doors. If we want to rent a location for a shop for example, and the landlord isn’t particularly thrilled about a donut shop. But then they hear that we’re at KaDeWe and all of a sudden, they’re interested.
Jessica: “Must be good.”
Well, if your goal is to help as many people as possible making better consumer choices, then it’s about opening doors and changing perception.
How much of your success is in the product? Could a similar success be built around any product?
Jessica: That’s a good question. If I think back to when we started, our donuts were not that good, to be honest. Not as good as they are nowadays. It was just us back then, and we didn’t know what we were doing.
Bram: Deep frying things helps.
Jessica: Yeah, just coat it in sugar, right? I think in the beginning, the positioning and the branding helped for sure, just to create this hype — because I don’t think the donuts were actually that good.
Bram: Maybe the donuts we made weren’t good, but on the other hand, they were still donuts. Donuts are approachable and something nearly everyone likes. If you were to ask our customers what the most important thing for them is, they would say “the donuts”.
So, I definitely think the product is crazy important and I actually think that a lot of companies don’t focus on their product enough but overemphasize marketing. That maybe gets a person to buy a product once, but if you want them to come back, it has to be actually good.
Let’s flip that question on its head: If the product was really good, but all the other stuff wasn’t, if the branding around it wasn’t in line, how would that change it?
Bram: That probably would not have worked either, because you see that so often. It has to come from a place of passion, from really wanting to change things and, in our case, show people how good vegan food can be. But then if you don’t have the design skills or that’s maybe not in your focus, sadly it probably won’t work either. Just a good product is not enough.