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From TheStudentGeneration to Fypster

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TheStudentGeneration has been a great name for an initiative to start up a highly driven community of youngsters. However, to create a story and include everyone who is committed to our mission, an attractive and recognizable brand is crucial. When looking at our purpose and consistency of our mission, we’ve decided Fypster is the name to re-brand our future.

“A brand is a story that is always being told.” – Scott Bedbury

Looking at the name, Fypster has a story to tell. The acronym FYP entails “Follow Your Path”. Ambitious young people that are driven by their own passion should focus on what they are good at and work towards their dreams. So, follow their path.

followyourpath

By doing so others are inspired. Fypster builds the inspirational environment, the network and tools to: inspire, connect and act.

Everyone is welcome who sees him- or herself finding, following, flying, floating, fixing… your… path or passion! So, be creative and follow our mission by getting active and inspire others with your dreams. You will…

…Be part of our inspiring community

…Have access to awesome new deals & content

…Shape building a global network of ambitious people

…Have to opportunity to share your ideas and story

Help us shape our brand with your passionate path. Sign up & be a Fypster!

Anna
…connecting the dots.

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From tourism studies in Austria to a webshop for camera accessories: Interview with the two founders of DESIGNSTRAPS

Hi Anne and Christina, please tell us a little bit about you. How did you meet? And what are your personalities like?

 

Hi. We got to know each other during our studies in Austria. It was (so to say) a friendship at first sight. We studied entrepreneurship & tourism. It`s funny how life changes your plans and you see yourself working in a business field that has little to do with your study background 🙂

 


You made your passion your job. Since 5 years you run a successful online webshop called DESIGNSTRAPS. What is DESIGNSTRAPS and how did you guys come up with the idea?

 

DESIGNSTRAPS is an online shop that offers unique camera accessories. We work with a choice of small, but fine designers from around the world and discover camera bags and straps off the mainstream. Our portfolio holds items made out of leather or with unique patterns or features.

It was really funny how everything started….After we graduated I decided to travel to India. At the same time Anne was in Frankfurt figuring out whether she should dive into a trainee program at one of the big players or whether she should start her own business. She chose to start working part time for an advertising agency and for the rest of her time she worked on different business ideas.

ciesta

She then saw one of Capturing Coutures camera straps in the InStyle magazine and was immediately drawn to it. She ordered a few straps, fell in love with them and realized that there is no such market in Europe.

Then everything went stroke upon stroke. She called me while I was still travelling and told me about the straps. Then she asked me if I want to start a business with her. And I said „Why not?“

So I came back in February 2011, 5 month after graduation and after a brilliant trip to India, Thailand and Vietnam and we started the whole thing.

 

Did you always want to be Entrepreneurs?

 

Let’s say yes and no. I come from an entrepreneurial family so it was apparent to start an own business. At the same time I saw the the huge amount of work my family put into their businesses and I always wanted that to be different for my life. It turned out that being an entrepreneur and not work hours after hours is possible too. But more about that later.

Anne was always wild at heart and never could really imagine to work for someone else for a long period of time. So it was her who poked me and gave the starting shot for the whole business.


How did you separate the roles in the company and how do you combine friendship and business?

 

It was never a big deal for us to separate roles. We always wanted to be the same person in business as in private life. So we took our values and integrated them into our business. We always wanted and still want to follow our flow so the roles and field of duties came naturally on the go.

DESIGNSTRAPS Online Shop

And our secret to combine friendship and business is to not avoid blocks or unpleasant situations or task but always try to figure everything out by clear and authentic communication with each other 🙂

 


How did you learn all the skills needed to run an online business? Did what you learned at University prepare you for the job?

 

Well, we were total newbies in running an online business. We just followed our flow, talked to friends, googled hundrets of websites and learned everything on the go. It kind of all came together naturally at the end.

Our studies gave us a basic understanding of to create a marketing plan or a budget plan. But further than that it was all autodidactic. All the technical and operational part like choosing a shop software, a fulfilment partner and the wide range of seo, usability, customer relationship, etc. was learned through experience.

University can give you a sense of what you should to when xy happens but real life always is totally different. For example we never learned really practical things in University like how to register a business or how to start a business with 0,- budget.

 

 

What advice can you give to youngsters, who want to start their own online business? What are the first steps and where can they get information and help?

 

Surround yourself with people that believe in you and uplift you.

There are so many peoples out there who project their own fears and insecurity on you and your business ideas. Don`t let yourself be distracted from that.

There is a great quote by Steve Jobs saying exactly the same:

„Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.“

And what are the first steps? Well, start! Don`t think about it too long. Just try it out. Do it. So that at the end of your life you don`t have to torture yourself with questions like “What would have been if I would have started xy….”

And the second step? Get the information you need. Talk to people, watch Youtube tutorials, google things, talk to the uncle from your friend’s neighbor, whoever. Just go step by step and follow the flow. It will all make sense at the end. Don`t be afraid of not knowing everything. You are willing to learn and that is your power!!

 

How does a typically day look like? Do you always work from your office?

 

Well, the main goal we had while starting this business was the 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. So everyone who has read the book and tried to start a business upon that knows that it is not that easy. You always have to invest more time at the beginning and then step by step work towards that goal.

So at the moment we are at a 15 hours workweek. We had an office in Frankfurt but Anne became pregnant and has a little baby girl now so we quit the office and I am now back to home office. I am planning to go to Bali for a few months so I am more flexible without an office.

A typical day? Anne is on maternity leave so she has different days these days. And for me every day is different.

capturing-couture-blue-bell-scarf-camera-strap-kameraband-blau-5

I do Yoga in the morning, then after breakfast I check my mails and try to take care of all the work for DESIGNSTRAPS.

After that I dedicate my time to different projects where I am involved. Like my mums hotel, my yoga class that I teach, or a NGO I work for, etc.

And apart from that I have time for my family, friends and the sweet side of life.

What are your best productivity tips?

 

1) Organize your tasks with the Pareto principle and do the most important things at first.

2) Get up early in the morning. What you have not finished by lunch will give you a hard time in the afternoon or the following days.

3) Stay focus on one task for 30 minutes. Don`t let yourself be distracted by your phone, emails, colleagues, etc. Just focus on one thing for 30 minutes and you will see the magic 🙂

 


Some thoughts on what it means to be a female entrepreneur in a predominately male industry:

Well, there is still a bit of road to travel. It was hard for us in the beginning when we were quite young just after graduation. Being in your early twenties and female brings you in typical stereotype situations like IT meetings where everybody treats you like a naive little child.

And it still happens on the phone every now and then when people ask for the CEO and you tell them its you. I think especially in the photo branch for some people it is still strange hearing a female voice as CEO.

But there are also great experiences where women and men came towards us and empowered us to keep going. And of course our customers who always keep us going. We let our good work and professionalism speak for ourselves. Not our gender or age.

 There are so many peoples out there who project their own fears and insecurity on you and your business ideas. Don`t let yourself be distracted from that.


I read about the concept of „Sharity“ on your site. What is the idea behind it and how can people support this?

 

Sharity comes from the word share and charity. From the beginning on it was very important for us to also give our company a social character. So we searched for a project that we wanted to support and ended up with a project in Bangladesh who helps kids fighting blindness and its consequences. We thought that there is a link between photography and our eyes – I mean, how would you react if you go blind and all the pictures around you start to vanish?

The great thing about the project is, that we can easily help. With only 40 EURO a child can successfully be operated and we have already rescued the eyesight of more than 40 children.

 

University can give you a sense of what you should to when xy happens but real life always is totally different.

 

“To wrap it up: What has entrepreneurship taught you, personally and professionally and what is your main advice students and graduates thinking of starting starting their own thing.”

 

Entrepreneurship gives you a certain freedom. You are not dependent on anyone but your own skills and knowledge.

You learn that in life you either get what you wanted or learn something if you don’t get what you want.

So the question is if you thinking of starting your own business, ask yourself: What meaning do I want to give my life?

Because in the end it doesn`t matter what you did and if you have worked hard for it and if you have earned the money you have wishing for.

In the end the only things that counts is that you did them.

So my advice is…start. The rest will fall into place.

 

 

 

Christina & Anne
As founder and owner of DESIGNSTRAPS, Christina & Anne are building an online business focused on photographers while escaping the 9-5 job mentality and living a life in flow.