The story of Desiree, the owner of NullAlkohol
29 December 2023
NullAlkohol is an online store of non alcoholic beverages and we had the opportunity of interviewing its proud owner Desiree Kleiner.
Desiree is a 42 year old mother of two and she recently launched her retail project, opening her online shop in September.
Why did you decide to open your own independent retail shop ?
Desiree The challenge of founding and running my own company has always appealed to me. Additionally, being self-employed gives me the flexibility I need to balance family and career.
What gave you the idea of opening an online shop of non-alcoholic beverages?
Desiree I originally got the idea when I was in Sweden, I was amazed by the fact that in each restaurant you had the non alcoholic option of wines and spirits. As I never saw something like that in Germany I realised that I spotted a gap in the market and I decided to explore this idea further.
So what did you do to validate your idea?
Desiree I started with some research, I deep dived on the non alcoholic wines and spirits market in Germany, looking specifically at who the main competitors in the market are and what are the global trends of this category. What I saw was that there is a general desire and interest for non alcoholic beverages as alternatives to alcoholic ones, other options that offer the good taste of the traditional alcoholic beverage, but without alcohol.
And how did you decided to position yourself in the market
Desiree I offer products of high quality, good taste but without any judgment. My idea is not to focus only on teetotallers. I want to normalise the idea that someone can drink what they want, and have non alcoholic beverages among the options.
How do you differentiate your offer from the competition?
Desiree The alcohol free market is a growing market. At the moment there are a few competitors in Germany, but the offer of non alcoholic drinks is still quite limited. I carefully select high quality products, from different countries, of different varieties, with an excellent service and a fast delivery. I have a large selection of alcohol free products.
So you started with your idea, you ran your market research, can you walk us through the next steps of your journey to shop opening?
Desiree After I validated the concept and refined it based on my market research findings, I started contacting manufacturer, building the website and integrating the shop system. Set up the legal framework, such as general terms and conditions, data protection, shipping conditions etc.
Did you have any previous experience that helped you in that?
Desiree Yes, several years of experience in a consultancy company in project management and marketing have taught me to approach and implement projects in a structured way and to create a good customer journey. I know very well how to run a project end to end.
That is great to hear. And at what point of your journey did you join the Ankorstart programme?
Desiree I joined the Ankorstart programme when I was working on my website, at the time I only had my URL, nothing more, but my concept was clearly defined and I had in mind all the products that I wanted to sell in my store.
How was the programme helpful to you?
Desiree Well, the Ankorstart programme very much adapts to your specific needs. In my case, as my concept was already defined, my market research done, my marketing strategy ready, I only needed some support in my product selection. With the programme I had a dedicated retail expert that assisted me with product recommendations specific for my store and supported me with everything related to taxes and fees. Thanks to that, I discovered many international brands that perfectly matched my shop concept.
Was there any difficulty that Ankorstart made easier for you?
Desiree With Ankorstart I was able to submit my orders even before my shop was live. I had been in contact directly with several brands and most of them had told me that with only a project and not an effective online shop running, they were unwilling to sell products to me. Meanwhile those brands that were happy to sell me their products, only accepted orders with very high minimum quantities, which meant investing a lot of money in a high quantity of products I was not even sure my customers would have liked. With the support of Ankorstart, I was able to access the entire Ankorstore catalog from the very beginning, place my orders and test products! With the 100€ minimum order I could start with low quantities from many different brands and test what my clients like the most, and also what I liked the most to include in my shop.
Would you recommend other future retailers to join the programme?
Desiree Absolutely! Ankorstart makes it all easier, you have a direct contact of support to better develop your project, they give you advice and resources and they can assist you on many different steps of your shop development based on your needs. I believe that if you need some guidance to launch your store, the programme can help you a lot.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about starting their own retail project?
Desiree If you have an idea, an entrepreneurial desire, don’t be afraid to try! Start with a test if it makes you more comfortable. But most of all be patient and persevering. It will take time, you will put a lot of effort into your project and you will think it’s amazing, but it will take time for others to notice how good your concept is and even to discover that your shop exists. So be patient and don’t give up.