Herbert’s job is one that many of us might envy - he is the buyer and creative director of Berlin's Voo Store, the go-to Kreuzberg concept store. Comprising of 300 square meter, the space has made a reputation for itself over the years thanks to a precise curation of designers and products. The vibe of a space only being the reflection of the people occupying it, Voo Store thrives thanks to its international team of creatives and professionals. Human connections, fav Berlin spots and fancy music suggestions – Herbert kindly took the time to tell us about the ins and outs of creative collaboration in Berlin.
Hallo Herbert! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. What's your background?
I studied Geography in Austria and Sweden. Working in fashion came after my studies and my relocation to Berlin.
What drew you to Berlin?
Initially, I wanted to live in Stockholm which I really loved, but the more I visited Berlin, the more I was falling in love with it. For me, Berlin was and is still a city a city in which it’s possible to have a lifestyle that is impossible to have in any other big city.
Of course, the city has become more expensive over the past few years, but the city is still quite massive – there’s a lot of space and the rents are still correct. It makes people less stressed: it’s not necessary to have three jobs to be able to make ends meet here. In Berlin, it’s not so much about your status and job – it’s about being happy, if I had to put in a cheesy way. Coming from a small city in Austria, it was important for me to be able to feel free from the pressure of other people's expectations.
In your view, what is drawing most people to Berlin?
Berlin gives freedom. You can have a great time without money and many people with a creative background moved here, which has created this really great atmosphere. Germany in general is in an interesting phase right now. In many ways, it’s moving towards a more open and innovative future - people feel that through politics, economy, music, art and culture.
What's the project you are the proudest about?
Without a doubt, Voo Store is the toughest and longest project I have ever worked on so far. Retail is taking a lot of work and energy but I'm super happy we found people who appreciate our way of mixing products and designs.
What's the most precious thing that the VOO adventure has taught you so far?
I’ve learned that staying true to yourself and following your instinct (and that of your friends') is key. Keeping a project small can also be satisfying - bigger does not necessarily mean better.
What Berlin go-to places would you suggest to a newcomer?
I would always suggest the Boros Bunker - one of the most exciting contemporary art collections I’ve ever seen - the location and its history are quite amazing. In summer, it’s also nice to have a beer on the street at Admiralbrücke in Kreuzberg, as you can watch the sunset from there. It’s the same for the old Tempelhof Airport which has now become a park in which you can walk around. Hanging outside Voo Store with a coffee is also nice - we have fun customers and it’s a good place to meet new people.
What is VOO keeping in store for its international shoppers?
We started having many products that are in-store exclusives. For some, it can be a better experience to buy in a physical store where you can actually touch, feel and try on the clothes. Some limited sneakers and items would also sell out in one minute online, so we like to give people the possibility to buy them without any stress in the physical store. When we find a new brand or project that we like, we also love to show it in-store first and keep it exclusive for our customers.
We heard you are quite the music fan - name 3 tracks that you can't get enough of lately.
These three are surely some favourites of mine. In general, my music tastes can vary a lot - it goes from Mariah Carey to trance, whale sounds or even Gigi D'Agostino. Check out my Spotify page!
Drama Duo - Walk Away
The Blaze – Virile
King Britt pres. ObaFunke - Uzoamaka (Dixon Update)
Images courtesy of HERBERT HOFMANN
interview JEAN-FRANCOIS ADJABAHOUE
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