A formula for success
Ute Czeschka knows how to combine the right elements – she studied chemistry before setting up her own marketing agency. One day she hit on a formula that gave her a whole new perspective. Czeschka, who comes from Meissen, mixes time-honoured tradition with a clever vision.
It all began quite by chance when Ute Czeschka advised the Hoffmann linen weaving mill on their marketing and sales strategy. The mill in Neukirch had been producing linen fabric of unrivalled quality for decades, but unfortunately not enough customers knew about it. Ute Czeschka changed that, boosted the mill’s sales and embarked on a new venture after realising that Saxony was home to many other craft-based industries and workshops. They are a terrific cultural asset that should be preserved and developed, she says. Many of these skilled trades and crafts are already in danger of dying out.
Bringing individualists together
Mother-of-two Czeschka wanted to find out more, so she set off around Saxony, visiting one workshop after another and getting to know the people behind them. She was convinced that the individual manufacturers would benefit from a dedicated network as a platform for advertising their businesses and generating sales. Essentially, it was all about creating awareness. Which was precisely what she did. Virtually all of the craft enterprises she encountered faced the same problem: they were not well known enough, even in their own region.
Anyone who is familiar with family-owned businesses knows that there is usually a strong personality behind them. A foundation of mutual trust is essential to bring such a group together. The chemistry needs to be just right – and with Ute Czeschka, it was. She set up the Manufakturhaus.com website, which now features more than 30 Saxony-based manufacturers and a selection of outstanding craft enterprises from other parts of Germany, allowing them to sell their products online. Czeschka advises the companies on product development, pricing and exhibiting their wares at trade shows. She has also been responsible for organising the Saxon Christmas market at Wackerbarth Palace since 2010. In the stylish surroundings of this wine-growing estate in the heart of Saxony, artisans and manufacturers sell their products and also showcase their impeccable craftsmanship skills. Other plans for the future include the chance to take a tour of some of the workshops and watch the craftsmen and women at work. And as if she didn’t already have enough on her plate, the 45-year-old opened her first brick-and-mortar Manufakturhaus store in Meissen in 2011, where customers can browse, touch and feel the products and buy top-quality hand-crafted items made in Saxony and other areas of Germany. Shoppers are delighted, which confirms Ute Czeschka’s discovery that hand-made products from Saxony make people very happy indeed.