Die Entstehung unseres Eco Concept Stores

The creation of our Eco Concept Store

Jan 12, 2024Manuela Frei

Good things take time

The first chapter started about 2 years ago. At that time, the warehouse was bursting at the seams and since I didn't want to move everything 50 times just to gain a few centimeters of space, as I had done in my apartment when I started with the Sage , a new warehouse and a new location were soon needed .
I had dreamed of opening a store long before the sage , so I thought that the new warehouse had to have this option because I didn't want to move again after a year.
I had looked at a few options, including temporary solutions for a pop-up, but due to the tight budget and the modest, experimental landlords, it wasn't that easy. And then, quite unexpectedly, I found the current location, in March 2022. A quick visit, negotiations and listening, et voilà! The move by December 2022 was fixed.

The planning phase

Shortly after the rental agreement was signed, planning began. Since I did everything alone, i.e. the planning, the move, the construction and also keeping the online shop running, precise planning was essential. The planning phase was also my favorite phase: As a designer, I am at home in the world of colors, patterns and materials. Right from the start I had clear ideas about what I wanted and definitely didn't want and was able to really live it up, of course always with the tiny budget in mind ;-)

the-sage-blog-experience-report-store-opening-eco-concept-store-switzerland-romanshorn-thurgau-lake-constance-zero-waste-sustainable-vegan-floor-pattern how do you open a store

The concept store consists of a large shop area, which I have divided into different areas and themes, including a separate area for the office & studio and the small kitchen (the storage is in a separate room). The store should be adaptable, i.e. not contain too many fixed elements. The range is constantly growing and changing and so it was important to me to design modular furniture and furnishings. A pegboard, several console tables and wooden cubes, as well as a grid on the ceiling provide flexibility. Dark and warm wood, natural-colored accessories such as baskets and bowls, plants, simple, timeless furniture and an accent color make up the design.

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The move

At the end of November 2022 the time had come: the move and the adventure began! The two of us transported the entire inventory and furniture over two weekends. So there was chaos at the new location, right in the middle of the Christmas season :-D Luckily, thanks to good planning and many hours of work, everything worked out and the chaos remained hidden from the outside. The plan was for me to clear the shop space in the new year, finish setting up the warehouse and then start building the shop. Unfortunately, things turned out differently: somewhere through a small crack, water entered the camp. A real shocking moment! But luckily the water only hit a few boxes and the products all remained intact. But now the leak had to be stopped before I could finish setting up the camp. Unfortunately, the shop construction would be delayed.

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In mid-March the repair work was finally completed and we could get started! At the end of March, the warehouse was almost set up and the shop space was ready for the final planning phase.

Construction begins

Since it was my first time designing and building an entire store, I wanted to make sure all the dimensions were right and there was enough space for customers to move around. I marked everything in its original size with strings. After a few small adjustments, I was finally able to start planning the individual pieces of furniture.
Since 90% of the furniture is self-made, the first step was to build a test piece of furniture to ensure that the wood was the right thickness and that the dimensions and workmanship were feasible. Unfortunately, the test furniture was very unstable, luckily I tried it out! After much thought and a phone call with the carpenter, the new wood was decided and I dared to definitely order it. There should be a total of 88 wooden panels and 74 slats & rods (I ordered most of the wood cut to size and pre-sanded because we didn't have large, precise machines available for cutting and also to save time). I was very nervous that something wouldn't fit or that I had calculated the mass incorrectly. But lo and behold, only 2 small plates were wrong. They were simply too small, greetings from decimal errors! :-)

While I was waiting for the wood to be delivered from the local carpenter, I already painted the walls and assembled certain substructures. Even though most of the things are homemade, I didn't want to build drawers or something similar myself. You have to draw a line somewhere :-P

the-sage-blog-experience report-store opening-eco-concept-store-switzerland-romanshorn-thurgau-lake constance-zero-waste-sustainable-vegan-interior-design-interior furnishings-moebelbau

The wood arrived in mid-July 2023 and the first thing I had to do was sand it and oil certain parts. You remember, it was supposed to be dark wood. Put on your work pants and let's go!
By the way, I couldn't possibly have done the furniture and the renovation all by myself, a big thank you to my family for their active support!
At times they helped me with the construction 1-2 days a week. And I worked on it every free minute and weekend.
Over the next few months, furniture after furniture was created, but the biggest work was still to come: the room dividers and the accent wall with the 60 wooden slats.


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The lighting

When the room dividers were finally finished, the only thing missing was the light. I didn't want to and couldn't do the electrical work myself, so I preferred to leave it to professionals. And here too I was very lucky and a company from Romanshorn supported me and found a great solution for my small budget.
Most of the lighting is provided via a rail system with spotlights. But there are also two floor lamps and 3 pendant lights, which I planned as accent lights. I had already started another experiment in the summer: I wanted to grow a lampshade made of mushrooms, or more precisely mushroom mycelium. I will write a separate blog about this at a later date. Here you can see the result:

the-sage-blog-experience report-store opening-eco-concept-store-switzerland-romanshorn-thurgau-lake constance-zero-waste-sustainable-vegan-interior-design-interior-mushroom-lamp-mycelium-mycelium-lamp

I actually wanted to buy the other two pendant lights ready-made, but I couldn't find anything suitable, so I spontaneously made them out of cardboard a week before the opening. Feel free to comment if you would also like to read an article about this.

Eco Concept Store Eastern Switzerland, Thurgau, Romanshorn, sustainable, plastic-free, self-made

Final spurt

The opening was finally in sight and all that was missing were accessories such as baskets, bowls and other containers. I got a lot of things second hand and found little treasures that bring charm and liveliness to the store.
Of course, plants couldn't be missing either. Some I bought, others I grew at home from my own plants over a long period of time.
The checkout area received a wooden logo relatively spontaneously, and here too I was lucky and found someone from the region with a laser.

Shop fitting, self-made, checkout area, zero waste, Romansorn, Thurgau, young company

The opening

I then opened the shop secretly on December 1st and didn't tell anyone beforehand. On the one hand, I'm someone who doesn't like big opening ceremonies and on the other hand, I wasn't sure when I would actually open because I had probably already postponed the date 10 times in my head :-D

Shopping sustainably, Thurgau, Lake Constance, Switzerland, start-up, Eastern Switzerland, vegan, plastic-free


Of course, there is a lot more to completing a concept store than just the furnishings: for example, permits, external signage, price tags and the cash register system. By the way, the latter led to me transferring and redesigning the entire online shop in the summer of 2023 (-:

Nevertheless, the construction took up most of my time and it is an experience that I had wanted for a long time and that I no longer want to miss despite the many additional hours, sweat and tears.

I am incredibly grateful that I was able to implement such a project from AZ according to my own ideas. I really hope you share my joy with the result and I hope the joy lasts at least as long as it took to create it ;-)

You can find information about the Eco Concept Store and opening times HERE .

Store opening, interior design, eco concept store

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Comments (1)

  • Der Laden ist wunderschön geworden und die Produkte sind spitze!
    Toll, dass der nachhaltige Lebensstil und Zero-Waste-Bewusstsein sich auch in Romanshorn ihren Platz erobern!


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