From backpacks and suitcases, to jewelery and footwear, are dozens of products that have Portuguese cork in common and that attract many Germans at the Friedrischagen Christmas Market on the outskirts of Berlin.
The Portuguese Ana Cláudia Färber started selling Portuguese cork products in Christmas markets in Berlin and Brandenburg four years ago. The interest is such that the husband and daughter also decided to help.
“I don't spend six weeks in a row in the same market because it's a lot of work, I can't, so I just decided to do it over the weekend. I try to be at two, three, and sometimes even five fairs a weekend, but for us it pays more, ”Lusa tells the small businesswoman at“ Cork Gallery ”.
While Ana is on Friedrischagen Main Street, her husband and daughter also take the brand to two other Christmas markets.
“She is very fond of working with me because she is so proud of her second country, she loves being able to show things from Portugal,” she confesses, adding that her husband, who is German, has supported her from the start, encouraging her to open the business.
“I have been traveling to Portugal for many years and I have always known cork. I was interested in the material that does not exist here in Germany. So I thought about starting a business and it goes really well because customers value natural products so much. And it is ours, I like to present what is ours, ”says Ana Cláudia Färber, living in Germany for 23 years.
The conversation is interrupted several times by customers interested in learning more about the product. Many approach the booth in front of number 98 because they read “Portugal”.
“I've been to Lisbon where I attended a congress, I also visited Sintra, it's all very beautiful,” confesses a German while opening a wallet with pink and blue flowers.
“The German really likes things with flowers, with colors, he doesn't like natural cork very much. It also sells well, but mixed results better. They like the fact that it is a very light material, I have several old clients who prefer cork to leather precisely for this reason ”, explains the Portuguese businesswoman.
The Cork Gallery was first designed for online only. But then the family realized that because the material was little known to the German clientele, the sales system would have to be different.
“We figured we'd have to go after the customers so they could pick up and open a cork bag. We are not thirsty and every weekend I participate in various fairs or events, ”he reveals.
There are backpacks, luggage, accessories and prices range from 10 euros to 200 euros.
“At Christmas we sell little things like glasses cases, purses, costume jewelry. Ladies sometimes send their husbands for larger bags. Seeing a lot of shoes during the year, but in winter this does not happen so much ”, clarifies.
“100% natural, vegan, trendy, water resistant and long lasting,” reads a sign hanging on the stand. A different Christmas gift that is also a piece of Portugal, shares Ana Cláudia Färber.