Anke founded her company HANDFUL in 2020. HANDFUL stands for creativity, tactility and a conscious process with clay. Her vision was born years before and grew deeper when she moved from Berlin to London to study Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins.
With a previous international career in digital communication she knows the challenges of creatives working for leading agencies and international brands under the pressure to perform and be creative on a daily basis. Having embodied both worlds — the digital and tangible Anke is very much aware that most of our every day in today’s western world is dominated by heady activities without our body or hands being engaged. As a result we feel stressed out, depressed and uninspired, lacking happiness, satisfaction or liveliness.
With HANDFUL she envisions to offer space for people to calm down and be inspired at the same time. A haven where the inner child can play and worries, doubts and rational thoughts can be transformed in a mindful process of creation into objects made with ones own hands, leaving people refreshed, inspired and motivated.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
Being “conscious” is probably one of the values I care most about in life. To me it stands for being aware of oneself, including body, mind and actions as well the surroundings. Combined with entrepreneurship for HANDFUL it includes the process of setting up and running the business with an awareness for what we offer, why and what impact it has on the people and the environment. I aim to inspire people, offer moments of deeper connection and allow them to appreciate the process and the experience at least as much as the physical outcome. For me only a presently created object is worth keeping, because this energy is what surrounds us. Everything else just ends up to become landfill.
CAREER — What led you to your particular career path?
I never forgot the very first moment I touched clay. I was six years old. And even though my grown up mind decided to take a different path, my body always remembered. So at one point in my career I had to give in and return to my roots — the clay. Sharing my passion with others then just came naturally.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Who hasn’t been a valuable mentor, would be more the question to ask. I believe that we can learn from anyone we encounter. I am also very grateful to have wonderful friends and loved ones in my life that inspire me on a daily basis. In my professional career I was supported by a lot of talents and masters, being given great opportunities that impacted my growth in beautiful ways. I wouldn’t be able to pick just a few names. A mentor that keeps showing up whenever I am in need, is clay. Clay has been my mentor, my teacher, my inspiration. I return to this insightful material often, when I am lacking clarity.
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
That is a beautiful question. I love getting people on board and supporting each other. Every time something needs to be developed for HANDFUL I look around my network first, thinking of who would enjoy this opportunity and how could both sides gain the most from the experience. When it comes to offering my service to others, I try to give as much as I can especially in times like these. Currently I offer online clay sessions through the website creating inspiration for people to get out of the darkness of lockdown. Most of the online sessions are donation based. That way I try to include everyone and make it accessible for as many people as possible.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
I think a big challenge will be to keep talents and good people in the company. Keep them motivated to stay and not letting them wonder off to do their own thing. It will be important to create a work environment that respects the employees as human beings. Listening to their needs and offering services around wellbeing and creative acceleration. It’s one thing to want the best, it’s another to allow this to happen.
ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?
Trust and connect! If you have a strong business model, trust in yourself, your product and the process. We don’t have to know the answers to all the questions at the start. Things will fall into place when they have to. Stay open and connect to the right people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People like to support a good cause. Along the way hold on to your motivation and power. Never forget your Why. Remind yourself in challenging moments, why you wanted this in the first place. That will keep you up and running.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
Being born in a communist country leaves some imprint on the mind, I assume. So yes there are moments where old values show up such as modesty or thinking about public needs rather than your personal ones. But I try to find strength in them rather than letting them hold me back. In the end I believe showing respect and love to myself enables me to offer the same to others. So for example instead of building a smaller workshop for just myself I am aiming for more, which in the end serves the public. Wanting a spacious workshop big enough to welcome other creatives and makers allows for a community to grow.
CHALLENGES — Entrepreneurship is very challenging. We each have our own coping mechanism. Mine is humor. What is yours?
Dance! And sleep! Moving or resting my body creates space and allows shifts. Getting out of the head is a must for me in difficult moments.
INSPIRATION — Is there an entrepreneurial book or podcast that inspires you that you would like to share with our readers?
“The daily stoic” (Ryan Holiday). A book not with an entrepreneurial focus, but with a healthy outlook on life, that also works well for entrepreneurs.
YOU — Is there anything you would like to share that we have not asked you here?
Thank you for your inspiring blog. I am very grateful for the articles from likeminded professionals and for being giving a platform to talk about my work. HANDFUL is still in the growing phase. I would like to take this opportunity to shout out, that we are always interested to collaborate or work with other bright humans that are passionate about materials, creativity and mindfulness. Please write an email to email@example.com and tell us about yourself. We’d love to hear from you.
Follow HANDFUL on Instagram.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.