Severine Köhn is a 25-year-old Graphic Designer and the Co-Founder of a small handcrafted bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer called Manufaktur Bamert. In her interview with LocalBini she shares with us how she managed to make a living out of not one, but two of her passions.
Could you share your passions with us?
I am a visual person. As a teenager, I was interested in photography, painting, graphic design, calligraphy and bookbinding. In 2011, I graduated from Fachklasse Grafik in Lucerne as a graphic designer.
For me, something becomes passion if I can create it with my own hands. For example, when doing my work as a graphic designer, I start by folding paper until it takes a form that I can use as an idea, for a layout of an invitation card or a print publication for example.
This also applies to the work I do at Manufaktur Bamert. When producing chocolate, I get to influence the process from the cocoa bean to the chocolate bar. If I want to create a certain texture or flavour of chocolate, I can experiment with the ingredients, time and temperature. During the roasting of the cocoa beans, a process which gives them their rich chocolate flavour, the temperature has a huge influence on the outcome (earthy, nutty, floral, fruity, sweet, bitter). I get to experiment at every step of the process and that’s what makes it so interesting. Every batch of chocolate is unique as most of them are hand-produced.
How did you manage to make a career out of your passions?
I never had the desire to run my own business before. I always wanted to be independent so that I can live and work according to my own rhythms. Currently, I have two different jobs: I work as a self-employed graphic designer as well as a chocolate start-up owner.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition of it?
I don’t have an ultimate definition of success. Working for a small start up, I have to rely on the little things that give me motivation and encourage me to keep on doing good work.
Our chocolate addresses the needs of people with allergies or intolerances and people with special preferences.
Engaging in a conversation with a customer can be very rewarding. I can teach them a thing or two about chocolate-making and often manage to win a customer in the process. This can further lead to a cooperation or recommendations, which is a form of success.
Do you think a dream job exists? And if so, is your current one your dream job?
My life is full of chocolate- isn’t that enough?
I personally never had a dream job, because there were too many different things I was interested in. I cannot limit myself to only one profession. But chocolate-making comes close to my dream job.
I get to connect with people from other businesses, to exchange know-how with my customers and receive their feedback. And last but not least: I get to learn by doing.
What tips would you give someone trying to live his/her passion to the fullest?
I don’t like to follow recipes blindly. I learn from them but in the end, I have to try for myself and so do you.
Try things your way, gain experience. And don’t be shy to ask others for help, especially those who were once where you are now.
It’s all about your own story. Be a total nerd and be extreme in one way or another. That’s how you will stand out and get people to recognise you and your product.
What are your future projects or challenges?
There are a lot of new things going on regarding food intolerance. We are in touch with a specialist for food allergies. On the request of her patients, who we think of as our future clients, we are working on a lactose-free chocolate.