The founding story of the sustainable Slow Interior brand atisan

When Dorka and Daniel couldn't find an answer to the question "Who made my interior?", they decided to take matters into their own hands and founded their own interior company. The mark atisan stands for minimalist and natural home accessories made from sustainable materials and the careful processing of natural raw materials. The focus is on the personal relationship with the manufacturers in the countries of origin. With their Slow Interior concept, they hit the nerve of the times and inspire conscious consumption of handmade products.

In an interview, Dorka told us what skills she thinks prospective founders should have, what the biggest challenges are when founding an online shop and how a brand can be successful in the long term. In addition, she gave interesting insights into her everyday life as an entrepreneur and revealed her 3 personal tips for prospective founders.

Founder Dorka atisan interview nordery

Dorka, what motivated you to start your company?

Before I founded the company, the topic of sustainability played an increasingly important role for me. There were many areas in which it was very easy for me to fall back on fair and sustainable alternatives. This included food and fashion in particular. In the interior area, however, I found it very difficult to find beautiful things for my home that were made from sustainable materials. Ultimately, my founding partner Daniel and I took this challenge into our own hands.

What does the atisan brand stand for and what are your core values?

We call what we want to create with atisan "slow interior". We chose this term because nothing we do has anything to do with speed. It is important to us to enable conscious consumption in the interior sector. For us, this includes: The long tradition behind every product. The unique craftsmanship, the carefully selected raw materials and the personal and co-creative contact with our local partners.

Founder Dorka atisan interview baskets nordery

From your point of view, what does it take to successfully run an online shop or an e-commerce business and what knowledge or skills should you have?

Skills come first for me: stamina and perseverance. On the subject of knowledge, I have found that it is now very possible to learn for yourself by trying things out, using online resources and asking other founders for advice. I dared to change my career as a dentist and was able to learn something new every day during the founding and still today. It is crucial to weigh up again and again which activities you trust yourself to be capable of and where it is better to accept help from experts.

What do you think is important to build a new brand and be successful with it in the long term?

For our founding team, an intensive and detailed design of the brand was of enormous importance. Before founding us, we took a year to find our manufacturers and at the same time to define the brand. In doing so, we asked ourselves the classic questions of why? What? and how? but have also gone into depth, especially in the area of ​​values ​​and brand image. For us it was clear from the start that a stable and authentic brand is the basis for our customers to understand and feel the values ​​our products convey.

What are the biggest challenges when founding and building an online shop?

When setting up an online shop, at the beginning it is very important to determine what your own requirements and wishes for the shop are, in order to then make a number of very important decisions. This includes the selection of the shop system, the merchandise management system and the payment provider, the integration of external platforms and software, the decision on graphics, shipping options and questions such as: Which legal aspects have to be observed? How should the fulfillment take place? And many more! The clearer the requirements and company values ​​are in advance, the faster and easier it is to get through this phase. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here, because I think even these decisions have a lot to do with the brand and its values.

Sustainability has many forms. How did you find the right strategy for your business that you can fully support?

We try to consider the various aspects and characteristics of sustainability for each product and each partner individually and as a continuous process. We work with many partners from various countries and have different products made of different materials. In any case, it makes sense to identify the possibilities together with our partner, to set priorities and, above all, to constantly work on improving. An example: In some places it is particularly important to look at fair working conditions, while at the same time it can be difficult to obtain certification for the raw materials/textiles used, for example. This may be due to the fact that certain countries have not yet initiated the certification process or the costs involved are extremely high. Accordingly, we are currently placing our priority on the topic of fair trade and are working together with our partner on a solution to have the raw materials certified in the future, if necessary.

Founder Dorka atisan Korb Interview nordery

What does your everyday life as an online entrepreneur look like?

Every day is different. That's the exciting thing about starting a business. Especially at the beginning with only a few employees, your own area of ​​responsibility changes very quickly between operational tasks and strategic decisions. I try to keep meetings to a minimum in order to be able to use my time for our projects. On the operational side, most days I'm busy with our new shipments, supply chain and product development. On some days you can also find me in the warehouse, at trade fairs or abroad with our partners.

What three ultimate tips can you give prospective founders and online shop operators?

  1. Keep up.
  2. Try it out and don't stay in theory for too long, but instead constantly improve.
  3. Clearly define the brand and its message and act accordingly before the online shop goes live.

atisan basket interview nordery

Thank you for the insightful and very interesting interview, Dorka!

You can find all atisan products here: