Interview with Lara Grün
Founder @ Cousture

Lara founded Cousture in 2017. They offer fashionistas and fashion conscious a shop where you can conveniently shop fashion that is not from big design labels. Independent designers show with their fresh ideas and creations that you can not be successful only as a big fashion label. The designer produces individually, picks up trends, and always brings in his own style. This makes every lovingly designed garment more valuable and stand out skillfully from the bar product. They specialize in attention to detail and desired extravagance, which is reflected in individualism, fabrics, and design.
Hi, Lara! Could you please introduce Cousture and what led you to found this company?
Good morning from me, my name is Lara Grün, I founded Cousture.de a few years ago. So yeah, let me introduce to you Cousture.de: we are an online platform for independent fashion designer. And there you can shop, but also get to know who is the designer and who makes your clothes. So yea, how or what led me to found Cousture? It was, I think in 2014, there was that TV show with Heidi Klum and there was Marcel Ostertag - now a pretty well known fashion designer here in Germany, but at this time, nobody knows something about independent fashion designers. So what is independent fashion design? That means that these designers, they're all creative directors, so they do their own collection and manage mostly everything by themself. So the first collection from Marcel Ostertag, there was that red coat which I loved - I pretty loved it. And I thought, what did other designers do? So I said searching on Google and found out you can't find them, so there is no space for them! And so I decided to found Cousture.de where independent fashion designers can introduce their self - or themselves, sorry - and also sell their clothes.
How did you initially build the networks and partnerships needed to found a company like Cousture? Do you have any advice for professionals looking to establish their own startup?
So the next question is: How did you initially build the networks and partnerships needed to found a company like Cousture? That was also pretty hard, 'cause I didn't know a lot of people. Especially in the fashion industry, I don't know anybody. So when I founded Cousture, I went to university and I asked my university for help - there was something like a founders office. They told me they can't they can't do anything for me so that wasn't very nice. So yeah, I took myself and started to Google people around the area where I live, and there I found the first people with who I work together: someone who built up our online shop, and yes, a friend of mine is something like a creative director and she helps me with our logo and the visual creation of Cousture. So they were two people very important for me. And how do did I get to know the designers for Cousture.de? I went up to exhibitions like Berlin Fashion Week, and searched the designers and I took pretty much to them. I asked them all the questions: where do you want to go? What do you need? How do you think about Cousture.de? Will that help you to sell your clothes, and to try to show other people who you are and what you do? So for all the founders outside in the world I just would say: talk to other people. Talk, just talk.
How do you decide which designers you want to feature on Cousture?
So the next question is: how do you decide which designer you want to feature on Cousture? Most of our designers, we get to know via exhibitions. So we talk to them - how old is your brand? How many collections do you have? Where do you want to go with your collections? And, if all these answers are fine for us and for them we introduce Cousture and we told them what we are, what we are doing, and where do we see ourself our selves in a few years. And if anything fits together and the designer is fine with our conditions on Cousture.de, and we get the feeling that the designer is very honest and there is a transparency in production and the production and we really know where the clothes came from, then we start our Cousture.de onboarding process with the designers, where we upload some pictures, some text, and also the products, so that the customer gets to know the designer, and the company behind the designer, and also the way they produce their products.
How do you incorporate a blog and newsletter to your vision? Do you find that they both increase sales?
So the next question is, how do you incorporate a blog and a newsletter to your vision? Do you find that they both increase sales? We have, in general, the problem that our customer base is not yet as big as we want it to be. So we build up a loyal customer base and, in my opinion, a blog is very, very good to build up loyalty, 'cause in a blog we started to tell our customers more behind-the-scenes, and more about the designers and their stories. So it's a very, very good tool for storytelling, and with storytelling you build up your customer loyalty. The newsletter - I think it's also a good thing, but you receive so so many newsletters, every day. You push up your e-mails and get around - myself, I think it's around 10 newsletter per day. I don't like it, 'cause you just push delete. So, our customers receive newsletters, but we don't send them every day or every week, just once or twice a month cause we don't want to spam too much.
What does a typical work day look like for you? How do you forsee this changing over the next four years?
So let's come to the last question, it is: what does a typical work day look like for you and how do you foresee this changing over the next four years? Most of the time, I am working from my home office. I do also have a partner, it's Carina, which - ah, who - lives in Hamburg, and so sometimes we meet up there or here near to Düsseldorf, and then we work together - but most of the time I'm sitting here in my home office and working for myself. I do also work as a lecturer for a private university; I really, really like that 'cause I don't have to do, all day, the same thing. So sometimes I work here, sometimes I work for the university. How do you foresee this changing over the next four years? I really, really, really, really hope that I can work just for Cousture because I love this work, I love this project and, it's not like work - it's a part of my life, it's like my own baby. And yeah, I love it. So, I hope I just work for Cousture in four years. To get a little step closer and stop dreaming it, I and Carina decided to go for a crowdfunding campaign in the next month and, yeah, we're hoping that we can get a little money to make some money to invest more in Cousture.de. Thank you.