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Starting a Revolution

Each Advent Sunday we’re introducing one of our values on the blog. This time it’s the turn of “treading new paths and providing inspiration”.

Because with Wildling we want to re-imagine not only shoes, but also entrepreneurship and ways of working. Remote work is an important part of our company culture, and that’s not the only thing we at Wildling do differently from many other companies. “Different” is also the focus of a book in which Wildling founder Anna has shared how it was to found Wildling.

Alongside other inspiring women, Anna tells how she founded Wildling with her husband Ran and their three small children, what motivated her, and how within a very short period of time she built a team of over 100 people and involved them in management processes.

Foto: Peter Jeschke

Starting a Revolution: What we can learn from female entrepreneurs about the future of business

The authors of the book, Naomi Ryland and Lisa Jaspers, have also founded their own businesses. As salaried employees they experienced stress, unfriendly bosses and that depressing Monday feeling. So when they set up their own businesses they had a good idea of how they wanted to do it better. But it wasn't as easy in practice. They soon felt they were falling back into old patterns and making the same mistakes as their former bosses.

They identified a lack of role models and best-practice examples, and so turned for inspiration to women who’ve founded a business themselves and are treading new paths rather than opting for “business as usual”.

“We interview some of the most progressive female entrepreneurs worldwide, and in our book you can read about radically different management approaches and experiences.”

In the book we get to know wonderful people like Dame Stephanie, who, back in the 1960s, was already employing female programmers who could work from home and participated in profits. We read that founding a company takes a lot of work on yourself as well as the courage to make mistakes and talk about it.

A book not only for those planning to set up a company, but for anyone who believes that our current world of work needs to change.

Foto: Victoria Kämpfe

Wildling: Who are you and what do you love about what you do?

Lisa: I'm Lisa and along with my business partner I founded Folkdays. Folkdays is a fair-trade label, and it’s our goal to make fair trade available to a target group who traditionally tend not to buy fair-trade products: young people. They see it as being mostly for grandmas. We want to appeal to young, design-conscious people and to that end we are working with artisans from a total of 28 developing countries. They produce everything the design-loving heart desires, whether textiles or interior design, baskets or jewellery. It's all available for purchase in our online shop or in person at our location in beautiful Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Naomi: I’m Naomi and I founded my company tbd* about five years ago. Tbd* is a digital hub for people who want to use their career for good, so people who want to change the world. Ideally for the better. On the platform you’ll find lots of jobs with social, sustainable companies and NGOs, but also there are now more in the private sector, and there are companies there that have realised that they no longer want to be profit-oriented. You’ll also find interviews with fascinating people from the different areas, relevant presentations, workshops, conferences and lots of news and trends. We founded tbd* back then because there was nowhere people like that could feel at home. People who want to pursue a career, but not at a company that is solely profit-orientated. They can find all the information they need.

Lisa and I have also published this book together. That's our great love right now. In the book it's about how we want to start a revolution in the startup world. Because we ourselves have had the experience that some structures don't work for us or our values and that we need other role models that show how it could be. We looked for these role models: female role models who do things differently from other entrepreneurs in the startup world. And we introduce them in this book.

Wildling: What's the wildest thing you’ve ever done?

Lisa: Privately or professionally? I proposed to my husband after being together for just three weeks. I was 20. And he said yes [laughs].

Naomi: I just moved to Stockholm without ever having been there before. And of course publishing this book. That took lots of courage...

Lisa: ...and was pretty wild!

Wildling: Which child-like characteristics do you still have?

Lisa: I've kind of rescued the creativity from my childhood. Before Folkdays I was a consultant in a completely different area, until I realised that I'm creative and actually love it. Now I can live that out in my company.

Naomi: I think for me it’s naiveté. That’s what allowed me to found a company without really having a clue about what I was doing. That trust that it’ll work out somehow.

Wildling: What's your wish for a sustainable future?

Lisa: I think that fits in well with our book. We’d like to see lots more people who love their job and know why they're doing it. And don’t start every Monday thinking that they’ve just got to get through the week. I'm absolutely convinced that if everyone enjoyed their job, the world would be a better place. Because if we all had a task or a purpose in life and could be ourselves, we'd need to consume less, we'd be less aggressive, we wouldn't spend as much time satisfying our own egos - that's what I’d wish for.

Naomi: My wish is for more diversity, more women taking on leadership roles but also people from other minority groups that are currently under-represented. We could benefit from that in business, in society. We’d be able to develop better ideas for how we can all have a better life.

Wildling: Thank you for the interview and run wild!

Header: Victoria Kämpfe


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