Villa Sorgenfrei: Making beauty stand still
Claudia Pöpsel studied journalism and political science at the University of Münster, and has now found true joy in Villa Sorgenfrei, based in her Berlin home. “Studying is highly overrated. Everything I ever learned, I learned on the job.”
Are the designs all your own or are there multiple designers? Do any designs come from outside of the brand?
Claudia: They are all my designs, except, of course, the original vintage items. These, I will sometimes just restore, but most of the time I integrate them into my own creations.
Do you have a team working with you to help manage the brand?
Yes, my team consists of seven people. We run a very successful German language online store, so for all that handmade jewellery you need many hands. In addition, communication with all our customers also requires one full-time position.
You work a lot with enamelling. What drove you in this direction?
To me, enamel is a very sensual material, which allows for many facets of creation. And once you really dive into the possibilities of any material, it is very satisfying and rewarding to pursue the process to its fullest extent.
Do you ever use vintage items to create your pieces?
Villa Sorgenfrei exists because of my weak spot for vintage jewellery. Whenever I see vintage jewellery I like, I have to buy it; I always have a whole storage full of vintage items. This upcoming season, the vintage jewellery, re-designed and/or combined, will finally get its own shop section with many unique items to come.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Villa Sorgenfrei has been the constant highlight in my professional life. Just a few weeks after I put my first piece on the Internet, I quit my previous job in the media industry, and a few weeks later I had my first employee. Today, around two years after my very first sale, we are a group of seven plus many more freelancers in busy times…If someone had predicted this two years ago, I would have asked them what drugs they were on!
Would you say your work is directed at a particular trend or group of people?
Women! From young to old. Women who like to go and play with trends and fashion, women who spend reasonable money on timeless things that will hopefully be in fashion for a lifetime, and women who prefer individual, unique items rather than mass-produced mainstream ware.
What are your favourite things about your job. Are there any negatives?
My favourite pastime, professionally, is being all by myself in my workshop creating new designs! There is nothing more satisfying than coming up with a finished prototype of a great piece of jewellery! Among the less liked tasks involved are things like accounting and doing the taxes.
How do you feel fashion/jewellery can affect an individual’s image and/or self-esteem?
I don’t think it should. I would find that too serious. Jewellery can augment or enhance an image, but I don’t think self-esteem should be derived from it. I believe it should be all about fun and passion, joy and playfulness.
How would you describe your personality, and is this reflected in your work?
I think I am a fairly typical Aquarius: my mind, more often than not, is somewhere in the sky… I just worked a lot on the summer and even my next winter collection, although the upcoming spring collection is not entirely finished!
How do you feel Etsy has helped your business?
Etsy is the perfect environment for what I do, both in its spirit and practicality. Etsy allows me to be in touch with a world of people out there, and it provides great feedback and satisfaction. It always spurs me on to get even better.
Please tell me about the creative process that went into your current collection. What techniques were used?
I work a lot with natural materials, such as dried flowers, seeds and greenery. I invented a special drying technique that allows conserving without pressing natural materials into a flat form, so they remain “3D”. I combine the results with enamelling and also with leather.
Have you any plans for the future? When can we expect your next collection and where do you hope to be in five years?
Right now, the new spring collection is almost finished and will be online next week, with new things to come continuously every week following that. Then I’ll move on to the next season, and so forth. To me, it is all about spontaneity.
Photos: Courtesy of Villa Sorgenfrei
To check out Claudia’s utterly stunning pieces, head to her Etsy shop Villa Sorgenfrei.