Meet The Retailer is a series where we want to give the spotlight to our retailers all around the world. The Retailers get their chance to introduce their shop, themselves and talk about all the things they want to share. This episode is about Burg & Schild in Berlin, Germany.
Burg & Schild, Berlin, Germany
Burg & Schild
Burg & Schild website
The Burg & Schild interview
There’s only so much you can fit in one video. Therefore you can read the whole interview we did with Shane, Tim and Maria in their store, Burg & Schild, Berlin below and see all the things they had to say about retail business, life and other things. Enjoy.
Please introduce who you are and what you do?
Shane: I can start. So, this is Maria, she’s the owner of Burg & Schild, this is Tim, the Store Manager and I’m Shane Brandenburg, I do the buying for the store.
History of the store?
Shane: I moved to Berlin in 2006 and I had this idea with my old partner Kay Knipschild. We opened this store 2007 and actually on this street there were no other stores then and we were kind of the first in this area. So then it started very fast and I think I met Mats Andersson from Indigofera in 2008 in Stockholm. He was showing me the first Indigofera collection and I was completely impressed. It was something that was completely for this store—authentic and nice quality denim. Very down to earth. So we did their first order world wide and that’s something we are very proud of. So that’s how it started you know.
Tim: I would say that Indigofera was kind of a baby for us from all brands ‘cause I think the main part was that you (Shane) and Mats got along so super well. And that really good friendship was there. If you know the people behind the brand it’s always much easier to stand behind it. Explain the prices, where the passion comes from… where everything comes from. It gives me—as a sales man—so much leverage to tell the stories. Especially with Indigofera the friendship with these guys… Going out having a beer with them… It makes it pretty easy to introduce them to the customers.
Maria: Turns out to be one of the best brands in the store, if not the best brand.
Tim: Yeah, I think so. We make our own collection with these guys…
Shane: We started talking about a collection—not like a collaboration piece—doing like a complete collection. The basis was that, if you go out for example for a survival weekend somewhere, what you need is some jeans, a shirt, a vest maybe and a blanket. So we did these five pieces. And we in Burg & Schild did the whole design and Indigofera did the production and everything. This is something we are also very proud (of).
The reason why you started the store in the first place—some insights behind the story?
Shane: I was working in the industry for a couple of years before I started Burg & Schild with my old partner. I had very strong passion to denim and workwear. I was travelling a lot, took a lot of photos and… (All of a sudden there’s lots of people coming in to the store, people get distracted, background noises blur the tape and Shane gets interrupted)
(continued after a small break)
Tim: Shane was travelling a lot all around the world and he started to miss this kind of a store in Germany. Right?
Shane: Yes, there were like two stores in Germany. They had this vintage and motorcycle stuff. One in Münich and one in Hamburg. But there wasn’t this kind of American and Japan denim industry inspired place. There was like really nothing.
“You just have to love what you’re doing”
What about other things besides the store and clothing? You seem to have a big passion for all kinds of nice things…
Tim: You know I have to tell a quick story. I came in five years ago and the store was three years old then. They had this old Chevy pick-up truck parked in front, Chevy C10 from 1968. Just pitch black with a white roof… And it had the name Burg & Schild hand-painted on the door and I was like “Oh, fuck, what is that!?”. So it was one of the best advertisements from where I noticed that these guys are interested in all this kind of stuff. That’s the reason why I came in to the store—because of the old truck that they used in front just to advertise the store. Of course Shane liked to drive it as well. So there is definitely a passion for cool cars and I think this time Shane has an old Triumph from ’68, Right?
Shane: Oh, yeah. My first bike in Berlin was an old Triumph 500 from ’68. A nice bike.
Tim: I think it was kind of the same bike Steve MqQueen had in The Great Escape in the big jump over the wall—that type of bike. So to answer your question, there is definitely a big passion for all this stuff and also for the American classics, the heritage, also the jewels we sell with the Native American influences in it… I think there has to be a passion.
Shane: There’s definitely a big love for vintage clothing too. In the last couple of years I’ve travelled to L.A. to Rose Bowl flea market, to Inspiration… and those are also a big influence in what we get and have here in the store. You see all these pieces like the photographs, the eagles on the wall and stuff… Most of the things are from L.A., from the flea markets.
Why should people come in to your store and not go into some other store?
Tim: What I feel the buying is not the first purpose… Of course people come in if they are interested in what we do but also people come in just for whiskey, for coffee or for beer… to hang out…
Maria: …for a chat…
Tim: …to listen to music… It’s just a place where people meet. I think it would work really well even if we’d put in a bar in here and would sell drinks, right?
Shane: Yeah, why not. Maybe we could make like a one time bar and burger place in here, or something.
Tim: It would work. I mean Burg & Schild is a place where…
Shane: Yeah, if for some reason we stop selling all the shoes and such, we could also sell some burgers… why not. You just have to love what you’re doing.
What would you say for a customer who is not in the denim scene but would probably still love this stuff. Somebody who just walks in, likes what he/she sees but might get afraid of the prices for example?
Tim: We like what we do and we like what we sell. For example, that couple who just left, they were pretty scared for a 150€ shirt… but end of the story was, that they bought also a pair of shoes and jeans because I explained them where the prices come from. I think when people see that you really stand behind your product and you are not dressed in some kind of a uniform in here, then of course they see the passion too.
Shane: The people understand what we are doing and they also like the whole history of each brand and they see the difference (compared to cheap clothing). And they don’t want to have cheap clothing. Of course, there’s a big industry of cheap clothing you know, but what we are doing is completely different. What you get here is something for the years ahead. It’s getting nicer and nicer over time and that’s something the people understand.
Tim: Yeah, I had a client who said that he buys his jeans from “one of the big two” for 70€ and I said that for that pair of jeans I think that’s expensive. Then I explained him that my grandma always says that we don’t have enough money to buy cheap things. That’s what it’s all about. You buy a pair of whatever for 70€ which rips apart in half a year and you buy one for 150€ which lasts you the next three. So actually you save money if you buy a good quality product. I think people are getting there more and more.
Maria: Yes. They appreciate it even more. We see that the faster fashion world gets, the more the people appreciate what we do.
Nice. Is there anything else you’d like to say that we haven’t discussed yet? A free word
Shane: Beer, bikes and burgers…haha!
Maria: About our customers, We have a really great relationship to our customers. We have a very loyal customer base.
Tim: Yes. It’s funny when sometimes I see some customers in some other stores I visit and they recognise me and they are a little ashamed that they are in there. I say that “Hey, come on, it’s your decision where you shop, no worries”… So it’s like this loyalty and this friendship what we have with our customers.
Any personal favourites from the store?
Tim: I like the Indigofera blanket a lot. It was actually my first christmas present from Shane and I really, really appreciate it. It looks good, it feels good… I like it. It’s a really nice item to have.
Shane: Actually one of my favourite pieces is also the Indigofera blanket, actually I cannot sit on the couch without that blanket.
Maria: That’s true. They are just great…. But I don’t really have a favourite piece. We have such a good selection… Especially the brands from Japan. They have so great items for every season. I really like how creative they get, brands like Stevenson Overall, Real McCoys… They have so great pieces…
Tim: Yeah, there’s always a big wow-effect when you see the new collections
Shane: Yeah. Sometimes I’m surprised what people spend for these pieces, for example also for, Iron Heart. People see this kind of quality and they pay for it. They see it… I mean, especially for the Japanese brands, the passion is so high, it’s just amazing what they are doing. This is also very important for us. We have a very great relationship with every brand we work with.