Dear Berlin: A Letter From Local Shopkeeper, Martin from Maerz

Dear Independent shopper,

My name is Martin and I’m the owner of Maerz, one of Trouva’s newest boutiques. I’ve been a shop owner in Berlin for the past 14 years, and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the city in that time.

When I opened my first boutique more than a decade ago, it was the first of its kind in the Friedrichshain neighbourhood; it was called Visby and it stocked Scandi womenswear. I opened it with a friend and while it was a lot of fun, it was hard in the beginning. Nobody came to Friedrichshain to shop; the area was full of students and we didn’t make any money.

But, things were very different then all those years ago. Rent was so cheap it meant that you really had the freedom to try things and experiment. Even if it didn’t work out, you’d just pick up and move on to something else. That’s how a lot of boutiques, bars and galleries in Berlin came into existence. I know I never would have opened Maerz if I hadn’t got into retail back then.

Nowadays you need much more money to open a business; rents in Berlin are getting higher, and as a small shop you have to work hard to compete with big online retailers. With the huge costs associated with setting up a boutique, if your business doesn’t work right from the go, you’re done. It’s a hard world for independents and I feel that over the past decade the indie community has grown further and further apart.

But I don’t think it has to be this way. Myself and some other boutique owners in Friedrichshain have started an independent collective or, as we say in German, a ‘stammtisch’ where we socialise together and share ideas. We also advertise our shops together to try and make (and keep) Friedrichshain an appealing shopping destination. It’s true what they say – there is strength in numbers and that’s where the customer comes in. You’re as much a part of this independent community as we are; if you weren’t here, we wouldn’t be either. Your passion for buying independent is what keeps us afloat. So I hope you enjoy shopping with us on Trouva, and if you’re ever in Friedrichshain, be sure to pop in.

Herzliche Grüße,

Martin

Discover and shop Maerz on Trouva.

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Kate Richmond

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