Archive for November, 2006

Writing a business plan at 30,000 feet

November 22, 2006

Unfortunately, our family vacation came to an end and we boarded a return flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Newark, New Jersey.  Once the plane was at a safe cruising altitude (somewhere around 30,000 feet) and the kids were settled in, we started brainstorming about how to import and sell Terra Keramik’s handcrafted tableware in the US. We booted up our laptop and began drafting the outline of a business plan and crunching some “back of the envelope” numbers to explore whether or not the business could make sense.  This started a year-long journey to bring to market a unique product and create a new online marketplace.


What started out as a family vacation…

November 20, 2006


In early November 2006, we launched to sell handcrafted tableware imported from Switzerland. The tableware features clean, simple designs and rich, saturated glazes in eight funky colors. Each piece is accented in platinum and hand-signed by the artist. While we offer a full line of beverageware and dinnerware, our focus is espresso cups, cappuccino cups, caffe mugs, tea mugs and teapots, and fondue sets.

How did we start?

In August 2005, we were on a family vacation in Switzerland and were enjoying a late morning cappuccino in an outdoor cafe (aptly named Cappuccino) in the city of Winterthur.  Looking across the street, we were immediately captivated by the array of shapes and colors of cups, plates, and bowls displayed in a large storefront window.  The sign above the shop read “Terra Keramik” and we were on our feet (no, we did not forget to pay for our cappuccinos) and hurried across the street to take a look.

We entered Terra Keramik and were greeted by Felix Vogler, Founder and Creative Director with an offer to tour his studio, which was located adjacent to the store and separated by an open courtyard.  Talking with Felix and understanding his approach to design and creation led us to believe that we had discovered someone and something unique and special.  His creations were unlike anything we had seen in the US or anywhere else in our global travels.   As we left the store with a couple of brochures in our hands, the beginnings of a business idea started to emerge.