A way is provided by obergudt to obtain good locally produced food directly from the best producers, farmers, bakers, microbreweries and beekeepers. As a co-founder, I was able to shape the company's vision and brand from the beginning. I got a deep insight into the startup world and I learnt to pitch ideas, and to fail — many times.
Because many food startups were coming up during this period—and most of them had more financial resources than obergudt, we asked ourselves how we could develop a working product in a relatively short time. We decided to launch obergudt immediately and implement enhancements and new features continuously. My normal working day started in the morning where I designed the information architecture and key screens of our product and put the drafts together in a click prototype. At lunch we briefly discussed the changes, that Arvid our developer was working on and the technical implementation. To summarise we try to make quick design decisions, arrange implementation and then test them with our audience.
In only six months, we succeeded in creating a local food platform where food lovers suggested local producers, made recommendations and bought local goods. The local farmers & producers could register, create a profile and post their stories, show their locations and of course sell their products locally. It was exciting to see how fast you can build a bigger platform when everyone is convinced of the main idea.
Of course, the interface design was a big part of our product branding but it wasn’t easy to focus on designing the product and trying to create basic design patterns of obergudt at the same time. At first I designed a new typographic logo of “obergudt” then I realized that I couldn’t do all this work on my own and I started to build a small design team. It is really interesting to see the importance of mixing different design disciplines like editorial design, illustration design, interface or interaction design and bring them together.
Every design or brand element must fit the personality of the product or service. Building a new brand is a long iterative process—never a job you could do in a week. Product design is a never ending process and at no time a final specific state. Finally our design team was proud that obergudt was nominated for the eco-design-preis and German design award.
Learn to Pitch
Another interesting experience was to pitch the idea to an audience. Moreover I had the chance to co-present with Arvid at the conference “Design-Trifft-Ernährung Konferenz” in Potsdam. It was a great feeling to see people reacting to us immediately, adding ideas, criticizing and expressing interest after the presentation. Communicating an idea in just five minutes requires good preparation and a coherent story that is then presented in a visual way—after all, we all enjoy being entertained somehow.
Learn to Code
As for many startups we tried to reached ambitious goals in a little time slot. We attempted to iterate our product as quickly as possible and that’s why Arvid gently nudged me into the frontend-world. I remember that the beginning wasn’t easy but the more time I spend the more it became clear what HTML and CSS is. Gradually, I was able to create independently new pages and implement them immediately in the code. This gave me the opportunity working myself on important design details of the obergudt-platform.
Pick Up Boxes
After some time we realized that our idea of building an online platform doesn’t work well. Our marketing costs began to increase without having a big impact on getting new users. Maybe it was a lacking connection to the physical world or maybe we deliver a good product at the wrong time. Definitely, we made to many assumptions about the potential customer and added too many features to our platform. Products have a tendency to become very complex because we just add and add to them. Maybe we asked the wrong questions: who will care that this product exists, why is it important for them, what does it do for them, and how does it do it? We didn't know what was the reason has been and I do not want to speculate more about what happened.
At the end of 2016, we made a decision — turning our business from digital to a more physical product. Currently, we deliver local food boxes for companies and private homes. Totally offline and without any development efforts.