How we built our store in Munich

How do you open a physical store in the middle of a pandemic, with no experience and no budget to speak of? Probably not at all! We did it anyway and today we are very proud of the result.

It must have been sometime in late summer 2020 when, over a few beers, we decided to add a local store to our BandWerk online presence. A small commercial property had become vacant right around the corner from our workshop in Munich, so we simply had to strike it.

In retrospect, that was of course very naive, but you could also say adventurous and impulsive. In fact, many of our ideas come about with the motto "just do it and see what happens" and without this basic attitude we probably wouldn't be where we are today.

Interior Design?

So there we were, a few weeks later, with the rental agreement signed, in a 400 square feet room with a linoleum floor and dirty walls.

Neither of us had any retail design experience and a professional interior designer was way beyond our tight budget. So we had to get creative.

Of course the store should be cool; young yet luxurious: maybe a mixture of Apple and Aesop store. The scarce space had to be used efficiently so that we could display our complete product portfolio, while at the same time each product had to have enough space to stand for itself. Under no circumstances should the store feel crammed.

The first ideas were created with a ballpoint pen on a sheet of paper. Now we knew what the store was going too look like.

We needed an imposing table in the center for our watch bands and small wooden panels for our iPhone cases and other products on the wall.

First steps

So there was an approach, but before we could start the right interior, we needed a solid basis.

A decent floor and baseboards were laid and all walls were painted - by ourselves. After our usual working hours and during the weekend we struck the nights in the store. All in all we had planned six weeks for the renovation.

The Interior Equipment

So eventually we could start with the furniture. It is probably not necessary to mention that it should of course be as inexpensive as possible and still look presentable.

Can we build a solid wooden table by ourselves? As always, the motto was: "Let's just try it". We benefited from the "Bauhaus Blox system", which helps building the structure of wooden furniture using various stencils and connecting parts and makes it (relatively) idiot-proof.

Vincent (Co-Founder)

"The sketches for most furniture initially emerged as a simple CAD model in Tinkercad, then a trip to the hardware store was on the plan and we could start."

Vincent (Co-Founder)

"The sketches for most furniture initially emerged as a simple CAD model in Tinkercad, then a trip to the hardware store was on the plan and we could start."

Technical Complications

Quite frankly, not everything went as smooth as it might appear here.

The first problem: Of course, even the simplest Blox system does not replace the professional carpenter. In the end, our table, for example, was so uneven that we had to grind it for several hours a day for a week to get a reasonable table surface.

The other thing: As we needed to painfully learn, you should probably also leave it to real professionals to attach ceiling heating.

The heater had to be replaced eventually, in the ground you can still find the scratches where the part had landed. The surveillance video of the incident still ensures amusement at our Christmas and company parties.

As much as we had overestimated our craftsmanship skills, we underestimated the time we had to put in the shop altogether.

In the end, the six weeks we had originally planned with turned into ten. The fact that we were able to "open" during some of the worst Covid lockdowns in December 2020, fit ironically well into the chaotic overall experience.

However this small damper couldn't lessen our enthusiasm about the finished place. In two and a half months we had built a beautiful small store in the heart of Munich, where anyone can feel at ease.

Regardless of whether you want to take a closer look at our product portfolio or just want to examine the epic, heating-related scratch in the freshly laid laminate, you are always cordially invited to visit us.

The opening times and all further information can be found directly on our store page.

We look forward to meeting you!