Fesch’Markt Co-Founders Katrin Hofmann & Barbara Daxböck Talk About Design in Austria

The Fesch’Markt co-founders have given Austrian designers and artists a platform to hock their wares to the hungry hipster market

What gave you the idea to make a large event like Fesch’Markt?

Katrin had travelled to New York City where she fell in love with the art and design markets.  When she returned, we came to the conclusion that Austria definitely needed a space like those she had found in New York – a platform for the creative designers in Vienna.  Barbara was working with the Ottakringer Brauerei at the time, which was serendipitous because it meant that we had the perfect space for the project.

How many people work on each Fesch’Markt event?

The fixed crew is quite small. However, at the events there are always plenty of helping hands, which is really what it takes to make a large event like Fesch’Markt work.

What makes the perfect Fesch’Markt designer?

Passion for what they do – for their ideas and products.  A great feel for upcoming trends, new and sometimes crazy ideas, but, ultimately, fesch ideas. For many of our exhibitors, sustainability is very important and so this has become part of our approach. We like every style, from
traditional handicrafts to very modern designs.

How do you find the designers that exhibit at Fesch’Markt?

There are two application periods every year, where designers, labels and street food artists can apply. We get a huge amount of applications and are always surprised at how cute, funny and special they are. They make us laugh and are another reason we are always impressed with how many cool, young and fresh companies exist in Austria. We try to have new exhibitors every time so our visitors can discover the diversity of Austria’s creative scene.

What is the most important thing underground/indie designers should do before coming to Fesch’Markt for the first time?

We want designers to develop creative and fresh products with plenty of heart and charm. We want them to be aware of the uniqueness of their products and ideas. Just be fesch!

What marketing decision has made the most impact?

Essentially it was luck. From the very beginning, so many pieces of the puzzle came together: it was the right time, the right team and the right location and we had a healthy dose of luck on top of that. The name Fesch’Markt, and all of the wording connected to it in our advertising, was an important decision and it has worked out really well for us.

Did you ever think of throwing in the towel or pivoting to another business model?

Katrin: Not at all!

Barbara: Three times a week! But seriously: When we are at our events and see that everything has worked out, we feel blessed and are motivated to keep going. Founding Fesch’Markt was the best decision we ever made!

Who comes up with the creative sayings on the Wundertüte tote bags?

This happens quite naturally. The term “fesch” accompanies us every day and many of our sayings just “happen” in our meetings. We really
enjoy playing with proverbs and sayings and fesch-ing them up!

What was the biggest challenge when building the brand?

The biggest challenge was our rapid growth.  There was a great deal of interest in the Fesch’Markt from the very beginning.  Soon after we started, we realized that other cities in Austria were a viable market for our event, not just Vienna. However, being a start-up presents its own challenges and it is not always easy to overcome and carve out your niche in the market.  We have always had to deal with the risks associated with being self-employed.

What does the future hold for Fesch’Markt?

We are still growing and we are curious as to what developments the future will bring. We are looking to build events in new locations and in different cities. However, we won’t forget our existing visitors in Vienna, Graz, Linz and Feldkirch; we want to improve our existing events in those cities.

Their next event in Vienna is November 18-20 at the Ottakringer Brauerei

Jennifer Cornick
Jennifer Cornick is a contributor to METROPOLE and avid reader. When she isn't writing, she can be found in Vienna's English bookstores.

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