In dialogue with Martina Hacker, Managing Director of KPM Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin. A strong woman leads the traditional porcelain brand into the future.
Martina Hacker in conversation with Haus von Eden
Martina Hacker has been the new managing director of KPM Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin GmbH since June 2019. Martina Hacker has been actively involved in the operation for several years now and will continue to lead the porcelain brand forward in close cooperation with the company owner Jörg Woltmann.
Martina Hacker, Managing Director of KPM Berlin, Source: KPM
Ms. Hacker, the years of the Bauhaus were part of an important creation phase for the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin. The designs of Marguerite Friedlaender and Trudi Petri produced historically formative designs. To what extent do the Bauhaus years still shape today's design and the current way of working in KPM?
The years of the Bauhaus were a major change in the history of the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin. For the first time pure white porcelain, so-called "health dishes", was offered. Although it took a few more years for this clear line of manufacture to arrive at the end customer, but the long breath pays off today. Today, this very daring step is firmly linked to the brand DNA of KPM Berlin, because white porcelain today accounts for the majority of our everyday business. Forms from earlier stylistic epochs can no longer be thought of as part of our portfolio in white today.
Bust of KPM founder Friedrich der Große, source: KPM
From history to modernity. In today's world of fast pace and transience, which position value does the table culture carry and how can it influence our everyday life in your opinion?
As is known, there is a counter trend to every trend. This also applies to the table culture. Although much faster, the digitization and mobilization determines our everyday life, but that's why we crave more and more for a deceleration. Whether a good book or just a meal together with family and friends. We also feel this trend strongly. On the other hand, we are becoming more and more urban and the living space as such is getting smaller.
As a result, it's rare for us to sell service to 12 people as it was before 20 years ago. Of course, we had to react to such a trend. Starting with modern set compilations of our portfolio to the multifunctional series LAB, we offer suitable solutions for the customer groups.
In this context, Ms. Hacker, which KPM product do you prefer to use at home?
To me, it is an absolute must to drink my first coffee from the LAB cup. I love the feel and the simple, thin-walled shape. I also often use the same cup in the evening to drink an iced cocktail during the summer months.
Mug no. 1 LAB series KPM; Source: KPM
Ms. Hacker, you have recently taken over the management of KPM Berlin as a commercial manager and as a managing director of KPM Berlin Vertriebs-, Handels- und Verwaltungs- GmbH. What goals have you set for the new position?
My first goal is to run the business responsibly. This means keeping the balance between our cultural mission and economic interests. I have been in this company for three years and during this time I got to know and appreciate the employees. The brand KPM Berlin is successfully lived here with sincerity and truthfulness. I would like to continue to preserve that and to live up to the trust that is placed in me.
There have been many different approaches to managing KPM Berlin in the long history. For me it is important not to turn the wheel again, but to learn from the experiences made, to listen to the experts at the respective workplaces and then, taking into account all information in consultation with our company owner to make the necessary decisions. To pause now and then, to question oneself, to feel humility, to receive what one has received, can not hurt either.
Hand painting, source: KPM
The KPM dares to be the only traditional porcelain manufactory to unusual cooperation projects with Bugatti, Birkenstock or Burmester. What are the motivations for such projects?
Many companies are trying to reach new markets with a brand extension. We deliberately decided against it and still do what we do best: porcelain. Nevertheless, we also have to work out strategies to make the company grow healthily. That's why we've turned to strategic partners who are the best in their specific market.
When choosing a partner to cooperate, the eye-level always plays an important role alongside the brand fit. The result is extremely fruitful cooperation, which has brought both partners profitable results and still brings. In this way, new target groups are reached each time, but new findings in production technology are also gained.
The currywurst bowl, the gin mug or the coffee-to-go mug are creative and innovative pieces from your home. Are these ways to approach a younger clientele like the Millenials?
Yes, in any case. We screen the market very closely and observe the social developments. In addition, we have the great luck of our brand to give the seal "Handmade in Berlin". Sustainable production and products, but also regionality play a major role, especially in the millenials.
KPM To-go cup, source: KPM
Environmental protection is a topic that moves the world. What do you understand by sustainability and to what extent is this implemented at KPM in terms of design, technology or production?
As a manufactory, KPM Berlin employs significantly more people than machines. Nevertheless, we do not rest on our laurels, but also try to regularly turn the production processes in order to keep our ecological footprint as low as possible. For example, we have connected our kilns to the Berlin district heating network in cooperation with Vattenfall so that the excess process heat can be used directly in Berlin Charlottenburg for a warm shower.
Our product portfolio is also very sustainable. We do not bring new service to the market every season, but complement it with contemporary pieces. For example, the classic Kurland service from 1790 can still be purchased today, but last year it was supplemented with an It-Piece with the Kurland To-Go cups.
Thank you so much, Ms. Hacker, for taking the time to help us.