I can’t wait to introduce you to the lovely Ingrid in Hannover, Germany, her products, and her home. I found the sweet things she makes sprinkled throughout stores in Hannover and knew I had to learn more, so I googled her which landed me on her website. From there, a few emails were exchanged, and we met at her spacious and sunny city flat/atelier where we chatted over homemade chocolate muffins and hot chai. (p.s. I love my “job”!)
Meeting with Ingrid gave me this genuine feeling of community – that there really is a global community and spirit that exists out there amidst those who write, or who craft, sew, anything that involves either making or promoting arts and crafts – and it reaches far beyond the internet – there are creative independent artists in even the smallest cities located all over the world – we’ve only been exposed to a glimpse of all the goodness out there.
I find it fascinating and motivating to know that we all share a special bond and a common vision – to promote unique and beautiful items (that aren’t mass-produced), where the artist has almost full creative control and no one higher up to go to for approvals, a small business that can be designed and executed on the living room floor or in a lofty studio – it doesn’t matter where because in the end, the designer decides and no one else. And these are just a few of the reasons why we celebrate the handmade lifestyle.
Entering Ingrid’s home, I was welcomed with her warmth and positive energy, the smell of chocolate, flickering candles, and beautiful ethnic music from Morocco. And look at me, I haven’t even mentioned all the beautiful products that she shared, from handbags to mouse pads and everything in between. It was heavenly. You have to meet her.
things that she made for my visit.
With that, allow me to introduce Ingrid Duvenhorst of YIPPIEYEAH made with love. Would you like to join us while we discuss her business, motivation, and how she deals with copycats amongst other topics? Come have a seat…
decor8: Hi Ingrid! I’m so pleased to introduce you to my readers and show them what you do. First, can you tell us where you and your business are based?
Ingrid: For two years I’ve been back here in Hannover, Germany where I was born. In between, I took several job-related “detours” such as W?rzburg, Paris, and Berlin.
decor8: How long have you been around design and when did you launch YIPPIEYEAH?
Ingrid: It’s been 8 years now since obtaining my degree in textile design. I’ve been working for both industries and agency clients as a trend consultant. Two years ago I started my own label. Looking back, I believe that I started this “business” when I was 11 years old, when I pleaded with my Belgian grandmother to buy very expensive interior design magazines for me. Which most of the time she did. :)
home with subtle shots of color and texture. Ingrid prefers a lot of white
space, so she adds no art to her walls. She adds purple and red tones as accents.
decor8: In regards to the availability of YIPPIEYEAH, do you sell in America or are you looking to? Are you on Etsy or Dawanda at all?
Ingrid: Not yet, but I would love to sell in America at stores. No, I don’t sell on Etsy or Dawanda, but Raumformplan carries some of my products in their web shop.
glass candle holder for use with tea lights.
decor8: I’m assuming here that decor8 readers know what you do – how silly of me! Why don’t you tell everyone about your product line.
Ingrid: Sure. I design and make by hand home and fashion accessories like cushions, lampions, lightchains, lampshades, bags, talismans, sachets, screen-printed T-shirts, magnets, stickers, patches, table mats, mouse pads, brooches, necklaces, buttons, knitted scarves, tattoos, greeting cards and whatever pops up in my mind in this regard.
bedroom, kitchen, and her workspace where the YIPPIEYEAH
collection comes to life. Notice the lighting? Paper lanterns,
cascading cut-out florals, illuminated branches, a charming
chandelier – Ingrid certainly has an eye for subtle beauty.
decor8: Oh my goodness – your line is more extensive than I thought! Do you make everything in your studio or do you outsource?
Ingrid: So far everything is made in my studio, sometimes I outsource to my husband who helps me out when I am sick. :) No, seriously, I’m considering outsourcing parts of my range due to the good response from the shops I am selling to.
decor8: Yes, you are quite popular here in Hannover! How did you get started, you mentioned that you launched your line two years ago – what lead up to that point?
Ingrid: I was thinking of forming my own label when I was designing silly prints for a huge fashion company. But the time was not right. I needed to go through some detours to finalize the idea and get the self-esteem and courage to go solo. In 2005 everything fell into place. I started with a small batch of risk-free little objects and items for selected shops I am befriended with. Over these two years I had good experiences developing the product range. My time working for the industry and trend agencies certainly helped to get me started.
decor8: What are the main characteristics of your work?
Ingrid: A fusion of inspiring materials, techniques, patterns and colors. Everything is (hand)-made with love, unique and produced in a limited amount.
decor8: What are your personal skills?
Ingrid: I think rather than technical skills, or special material knowledge, my intuitive feeling for colour, texture and pattern. I tend to see coherences and trends all around me that I put into my designs. Overall, I’m inclined to decent aesthetics.
decor8: What inspires your work and motivates you to keep going?
Ingrid: Nature, Animals, foreign countries, curiosity what happens next. It’s a beneficial process to stay in touch with my creative resources. And it is great fun to combine colors, material, patterns.
decor8: What was your first success?
Ingrid: Depending on how you define success. The first product that went well were buttons specially designed in the YIPPIEYEAH fashion. My first success personally was to acquire new customers apart from my friends. Feeling like a hawker, I told myself to not to go home unless I had three customers, which I achieved in two hours time. My husband fell in love with me because of a romantic and smart memory card set I created for him. So that’s a success, too, I guess.
decor8: What difficulties arise as a small business owner and how do you overcome these?
Ingrid: Everything is handmade, including the packaging. This takes a lot of time and effort. The prototype building is very inspiring and exciting on the one hand, but it can become incredibly boring to produce items in higher volumes. I overcome this with extreme discipline and my iTunes library — lots of music. And producing these products have some meditative effect on me. On the cost side, it is hard to compete with low-cost products from abroad. Pricing and profitability need to be monitored.
for jeans, t-shirts, pillows, anywhere you’d like them!
decor8: What about problems with copycats, have you encountered much of this?
Ingrid: Of course, it is scary and menacing that your very asset (creative idea) can be stolen and reproduced by some factory in the shortest time period. I personally consider myself a step further on my way than a copycat. If I spend my time guarding myself from copycats I can’t be open for any creative dialogue. And I guess, everybody gets inspired by somebody else’s inspiration and there is an abundance of beautiful things in the world.
decor8: What is the most important advice you can give to small business owners?
Ingrid: Have fun and be authentic, that means love what you do and be content with what you have. But to think big anyway. :)
decor8: What projects do you have in mind for the future?
Ingrid: Bring the label on a higher level in terms of productivity whilst keeping the “made with love” spirit.
decor8: What about personal goals?
Ingrid: Have children, dogs, cats, a fireplace, a sauna, live in a Mediterranean country most of the time. Travel to Tibet and the rest of the world with my husband. Practice more yoga and meditation to keep the inner light glowing.
decor8: What are you listening to these days?
Ingrid: Ch?ying Drolma, Gentleman, The Dears, Wilco, DJ Shantel, Decemberists, Nouvelle Vague, And you will know us by the trail of dead, Habib Koite, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, and Gravenhurst.
decor8: And finally…. What websites, blogs, magazines do you read?
Ingrid: I browse through quite a lot of trade publications such as Elle Decoration, Marie Claire Maison, Marie Claire Idees, Form, View…and many websites.
Thank you Ingrid for sharing YIPPIEYEAH with us. I’m so happy that we were able to meet up and look forward to seeing you again real soon. Spending time with you, your husband, and in your home viewing your products up close and personal made my stay in Hannover extra sweet. :)
(images taken by holly becker for decor8 with the exception of the top photo from Ingrid)