Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Clemens Burkert and I was born in Hamburg, Germany. I spend my summers running and cycling, then travel to Germany’s highest mountain — the “Zugspitze” — for a winter filled with plenty of snowboarding.
I have always been creative and enjoy making things with my own hands. After spending a year in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, I began to study product design. When I finished my studies, I tried to get a job working as a product designer but it was very difficult to find what I was looking for. After some time, I decided to set up a business and be my own boss. I realized that this journey wouldn’t be easy but I knew it could also be a great opportunity.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
When I’m at work or on the move, I’m always thinking up new ideas or ways to improve upon my existing products. When inspiration strikes, I always make a note of it in my little black book. I love visiting museums and exhibitions or meeting good friends at a vernissage (art exhibit opening). Exchanging ideas with creative people is a very important source of inspiration for me. I often spend my weekends with friends either in Hamburg or Berlin. Berlin simply has everything — history, culture, art, architecture, design, fashion and people from all over the world.
What first made you want to become an artist?
I can remember spending a lot of time with my grandfather, watching him constructing and repairing things in his garage. Having worked as an engineer, his constructions were rich in detail and inventive while remaining fully functional. Though this experience didn’t transform me into an engineer, it influenced my decision to become a designer. Once I was in school, I designed my own messenger bag made of used tarpaulin. A week later, I had about ten requests from friends who also wanted a similar bag — so I started to produce them. By the time I finished school, I received enough orders to pay for my trip to Australia and New Zealand.
Please describe your creative process.
For me there is no greater inspiration than pictures — whether they are product sketches, architectural illustrations or photographs of nature. Through pictures, you can see shapes and structures that might give you the perfect idea for a product. For example, my laptop cases have a simple yet elegant character. I designed at least ten different models before I created the current version. One day while sketching, the perfect solution stared me in the face: a slightly rounded flap and two buttons. Some people consider this case a simple object but, for me, these objects are alive and part of this world. This is why I have given names to all of my products — each one is named after a traditional breed of sheep. If someone describes my product as being simple and plain, then I would consider it a great compliment.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
1. You have to love your product to sell it and produce the best quality.
2. Try to take the best product shots possible.
3. Give your customers the best service you can. Always be reliable.
4. Deliver your goods promptly and your customers will be very happy!
What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I like the Treasury very much. Every day I get convos from people who have my products in their treasuries. It’s so flattering to see their collections.
How do you promote your work?
A personal recommendation is one of the best ways to promote your work — it’s the most convincing form of advertising! I also use social media marketing instruments such as Facebook, Blog and Twitter.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
In ten years I would like Pack & Smooch to be a famous brand that stands for high quality, good workmanship and excellent design. For me personally, I would like to have a small family, a wonderful wife, at least three children and two daschunds.