Those envious of her success believe that “She only sells to her girlfriends.” This, however, is far from the truth. They have no idea that every two days the delivery agent in Krumbach rings Clarissa Steurer’s doorbell to deliver a van full of made-to-measure carpets, placemats, baby-changing mats, glass coasters and desk pads. Such deliveries are the foundation of Clarissa’s business, which serves hundreds of customers and eighteen specialist retailers – including fine interior boutiques and shops for children’s products.
Clarissa Steurer imagined a completely new product idea: embroidering cork leather. Today, her dream of one day providing for her family with her own company is within reach. Originally, her goal was to become a fashion designer. After graduating from the HTL Textile College in business administration, she was responsible for the production of functional clothing as an overseas technician. At the age of 19, she looked over the shoulders of seamstresses in Bulgaria, quickly rose to the position of product manager, looked after customers such as Intersport and Hervis, and managed the entire production process from design to completion almost entirely on her own. It was a tough job.
While pushing her three-month-old son in a pram through Krumbach in 2017, she feverishly searched her mind for an idea of how she could become self-employed. At a market for companies looking for successors, she discovered an Upper Austrian company embroidering table linen. Clarissa went to visit the company and a path forward started to form in her mind. Unfortunately, the offer was not very concrete and the designs were not to Clarissa’s liking. Nevertheless, Clarissa became convinced that she could do something similar, i.e. have self-designed linen sewn in Lithuania and Poland, commission a contract embroiderer in Vorarlberg, and sell the products herself.
And yet when visiting an embroiderer in his workshop, who was busy embroidering beautiful wallpaper, she received some negative feedback: “I hope you’re not planning on getting rich,” he said. “Come back if you have another idea.” Disillusioned, she returned home, turned on the TV and watched a news feature about vegan leather bags made from cork leather. Thinking of the embroidered wallpaper, she began to thoroughly research this exciting material. Cork leather is breathable, hypoallergenic, vegan, lightweight, supple, robust, tear-resistant, water-repellent, saltwater and stain-resistant, sound-absorbing and easy on the joints. Interestingly, it even stores heat and has a high abrasion resistance. All these properties inspired Clarissa, who immediately searched for suitable cork throughout Portugal in order to produce her own designs.