A woman who’s sticking around

Stefanie Brauer built up her „Sticky & Sweet“ company all by herself – and devotes herself to the special side of everyday things

© Sticky & Sweet

In reality, Stefanie Brauer comes from a very different world. In that world, she sometimes went looking for tanks or old steam engines – or set up contracts with actors. That world had nothing whatsoever to do with her sweet and sticky idea for children, with which she set up her own business half a year ago: super-adhesive name stickers and iron-on labels that can by personalised via an online shop. „Sticky & Sweet“ is the name of her company, for which she turned her back on the film business. Her company’s slogan tells you what it’s all about: „No more losing your stuff!“

Ultimately, Brauer took much more from her time as Head of Production than you would suspect from the obvious relics, the silver aluminium boxes on the floor of her office: for example, knowing how to look for and find things. „If you don’t know it beforehand, you have to familiarise yourself with it – and at some point you understand it,“ says the young entrepreneur. For example, it took her six months to find a suitable, machine-washable film for her stickers.

From her time in the film business, Stefanie Brauer also knows how important short paths and direct communication are. For this reason, the people she works with are situated in Berlin: the graphic design office, the programmers, the printer and also illustrator Tomek Sadurski. He designed the six colourful characters who strike cheeky poses on her stickers. Brauer had been a long-time admirer of his work – then she simply called him up and asked whether he wanted to work with her. „It’s so important to find people who are right for you,“ says Brauer. „If you think, I’ll just quickly pick someone to make the logo, this isn’t going to work. You have to know the other person’s work to be sure that they’re right for your idea.“

She first had to come up with her idea. In the beginning, Brauer only knew what she liked: brands, fashion, illustrations, good packaging, products, and things that can be given as gifts. She liked making something special from everyday things. At some point, she came across stickers from Canada and the US, and one night in bed she came up with the name for her company: Sticky & Sweet. „I knew I was going to have a go at it,“ says Brauer. „And when I do something, I see it through to the end. I even stay in the cinema if I don’t like the film. Quitting is against my nature.“

If anybody can be called „self-sufficient“, then it’s Stefanie Brauer. While others rely on surveys, she gets stuck in and does her own field research. Though Brauer knew that her own daughters liked the Sticky & Sweet characters, she also wanted to hear other people’s opinions. And the Head of Production became an employee for a while. At her temporary place of work in children’s fashion, one of the things she discovered was that girls up to the age of five in particular like the pink character, then „pink allergy“ begins to set in.

From her office in the Charlottenburg Innovation Centre (CHIC), the young entrepreneur pulls all the strings herself for the time being – and not only for budgetary reasons. Before delegating any of the work, she wants to know how it’s done. „First do it yourself – this has always worked out for me,“ says Brauer. At present, she still packages and sends the stickers herself and organises all the advertising. On the map of Germany on the wall behind her, little flags indicate the range of her ads and the places from which she has received orders. Brauer is currently concentrating on Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but the first orders have already been placed in her online shop from Moscow, China and the US.

Because she’s so good at calculating and planning, Brauer approached many aspects in the right way. However, she really underestimated the online shop: „It’s actually like opening a real shop: here you also have to continuously redo the shop windows, put up shelves or reorganise the warehouse.“ With the label maker, customers can design their own stickers individually and select characters and a background colour: for example, the reserved blue one with the curved eyebrow, or the ravenous orange one. You can see that each of them has its own story – but Brauer isn’t telling it as yet. „This is the next step: what they’re called, what they like, the world they live in ...“ And who knows, maybe it’s the same one that Stephanie Brauer comes from: the world of film.

Susanne Hörr
Kluge Köpfe 2013