Diverting from the constructs of a structured work format in offices that focused on monetary goals, Janasch’s identity contrasts that of a professional job setting
Janasch’s in Magdeburg
Situated, in estimate, one-hundred-and-sixty kilometers away from the city of Berlin, is Magdeburg. A city hosting a multitude of landmarks and a waterway junction, Magdeburg is home to Janasch’s. A store founded and owned by entrepreneur Jana Fischer. The seventy-two square meter concept store is home to novelty items and books in the children’s and design genre.
Founded in 2014 and constructed in 2015 in the Stadtfeld district, twenty-nine-year-old Fischer at the time founded Janasch’s upon the completion of her degree. Fischer shares that in her youth, she had the intention to pursue her tertiary education in interior design. «I wanted to pour my focus into design work. My passions have lied in creative expression. What halted me to going forward with that degree were the tasking entrance exams. The results, in fact, proved my lack of artistic talent».
Jana Fischer, the bookstore’s founder
Fischer’s secondary option that had a semblance of creative air was landscape architecture and environmental planning. She pursued it in Hannover. In her time at her bachelor’s degree, Fischer acquired a depth of knowledge that roused her motivation to ratify the concept store as we know today. «It was a fast-paced chain of events that followed after the completion of my studies. I registered the company. The epiphany came from a mix of experiences I had gathered over time».
Having worked at an art gallery toward the end of her tenure in Hanover, Fischer found fulfilment in the exchange she had with the patrons who frequented the space. Diverting from the constructs of a structured work format in offices that focused on monetary goals, Janasch’s primary identity contrasts that of a professional job setting. That is what the store is famous for today.
«In its infancy, the store was a space where there was also a café. Then, changes were made, and it shifted to a café, a delicatessen and a bookstore selling coffee table books. Then, the focus turned to children’s books, titles in design, urban planning, architecture and art books with novelty items, like greeting cards and stationery». The curation of items was, in fact, a response to standing away from the norm of existing retail stores in the area.
Janasch’s focus on books and concept items
The name of the store, while it sounds like a derivation of her name, comes from the formation of two words in the German language. The words Ja brings the meaning to the word yes – an affirmation. The latter, nasch a term derived from the German language, alludes to the word snack. The combination of the words brings forth the affirmation to the consumption of snacks in a pace of enjoyability.
At its core, Janasch’s intent was to be an outlet that disseminated input onto others, in importance, to its customers. Having shifted in concept in sales items over time, Janasch’s business model remains the same. A focus on books and concept items. Today, in its store, there are design books and children’s books written by authors who Fischer has a deep adoration for. «The content of the books we carry are on the present and the future of how we intend to live as responsible individuals. These books teach us values, the ideations that we find in the process of learning them and how we can implement these steps into our routines».
Choosing to situate herself in her hometown, Magdeburg, Fischer tells us that this location was not her primary choice. Having returned with her partner who was working in the area at the time as a freelance media designer in image and sound, she states, in fact, that it was far from her ideal choice. Fischer shares the environs to be paced in a manner of lax as opposed to other cities. «The city has potential but there is no upkeep. There is a lack of creative input, district centers, the ‘café culture’, and stores of quality. I chose to set up the store here. A responsibility I took upon myself to assist in the betterment of the city and its people».
The location of the store has a dense population of residents that allows Janasch’s to stay in business. Prior to the store’s opening in the neighborhood, a number of self-financed businesses settled into the area. The building that she enlisted in was in a state of desolation. Enshroud in greenery and left unattended to over the years. Upon renovation, Fischer agreed to a contract with the building owners and then began renovations for the store.
Lampoon review: Janasch’s design
Having windows in considerable size allowed for light to pour in and illuminate the store. The interior design approach of Dagmar Chrobok suited for the founder very well. They looked together with her at what felt right for them. Sundered into three sections using wall paneling, the interior of the store remains welcoming and open. The middle of the store displays a counter used in tandem while the café was functional. While, on the right, bookshelves stack the walls alongside product shelves that hold stationery. Independent furniture designer, Jörg Bachmann ‘Feinfach’ designed them. Seating areas by the window sills are brought together using cushions for its guests.
«When I met Chrobok, she mostly cared about human needs and materiality. Those aspects were close to her at the time, but it did not fit the concept for Janasch’s. We delved inward for the design of the store, discussing spatial layout and materials. It happened that I met Bachmann months before the opening. I commissioned him to create shelves that were from his aesthetic focal point». Further, Magdeburg based artist, Dorothea Hertel, painted the left side wall of the store that held the café. In its reconstructive period, the store underwent fixings for its stucco that were left in decay.
Fischer does not intend on reopening the café area in Janasch’s, closed at the start of the pandemic. Rather, she states, «I see it as an opportunity to expand the library section of the store. We are now able to carry volumes of items at a time. While it was an integral part of the store, it was a financial risk on our end». Standing out as an independent entity that caters to select goods is a challenge. Fischer overcame this through the thematic curation of items sold in the store. While she agrees that commercial bookstores can procure books, the curatorial aspect of eye-catching covers and piquing contents that she carries in Janasch’s varies from what is sold in chain bookstores. The books and concept products in the store agree well with each other.
Janasch’s products selection
Carrying works from authors in the vicinity, the books and items challenge and inspire customers as it addresses issues in environmental sustainability. Books carried by Janasch’s vary in genre. DIY design in wood, paper, sewing and construction from Swiss publisher, Haupt Verlag, urban planning, architecture, graphic design, guidebooks, photo travel books as well as art design titles.
Fischer sources reading materials from locations from neighboring states and countries by working with publishing house Hermann Schmidt Verlag, who owns Gestalten Verlag. Books in graphics and silk screen prints and greeting cards designed and made by local artist live in the store, for purchase. «While it is a vision to carry books and other reading materials from renowned publishers, our intention is to assist in discovering and supporting up and coming publishers instead. As of late, we have discovered Zuckersüß-Verlag that publishes items on the subject of diversity».
Apart from the reading items sold, fixed brands maintained in the store include Penco, tyyp, Jaja, noull, Mark’s and Holger Dülken. Having kept the coffee section from their café, Fischer sells Fairtrade coffee beans from Coffee Circle and Fairtrade Zotter chocolate. Offering an accoutrement of items that positions the store in a positive allure to draw in customers. Carrying forth items are based on instinct. Items that pique Fischer’s interest, in fact, make it to the top of the list. Following a set rule of criteria allows Fischer to gauge what types of items fit in the sections of the store. «On occasion, an item leaves me in a state of conviction. I am alright with getting them for the store before the rest. Traits in crafted production value or a brand from a designer in the area is something I look out for».
Sustainability at Janasch’s
In its infancy, Janasch’s partnered with the owners of Bellamento, a furnishing store in the complex they share. The women revived the town square with flea markets and performances. This caused a stir in the community of store owners that joined forces with the trio. Having joint marketing campaigns and a platform to exchange the grievances of shopkeepers and traders, the complex is now rising from a state of stasis.
The acceptance of this also prompted Fischer to initiate an association to host an organic food market in the neighborhood. Attracting patrons in a kaleidoscope of interests and identities, visitors’ seek for materials in sustainability and design. Young families come flocking to the area and the store for children’s books. Having built a set of customers over time, Janasch’s still ropes in fresh, wandering customers to its store.
Efforts in sustainability are also maintained in social and environmental aspects. For their social sustainability, Fischer shares that while the space is limited in size, she stands in support of budding creatives who intend on using Janasch’s presence to champion them. On an environmental aspect, the store recycles their boxes received during shipment, graphics are wrapped in cellophane and backboards are repurposed from cardboard boxes that are cut by hand. When the café was in operation, organic sources – from farmers or from the neighborhood shop, Frau Erna – brought fresh ingredients.
Frau Schellheimer – online store
Due to the effects of the pandemic, Janasch’s now exists online under Frau Schellheimer, an entity with neighbor stores Bellamento and Livland. An effort to share and spread awareness of their online presence, Fishcer states that their catalogue of items complements each other. Looking to work with Polish creatives in graphic design, Fischer’s intention is to expand the reading section as well as to offer overnight ordering services for its customers. «It is a need for a concept store selling specialized books to keep up with the times and offer an alternative to its customers as opposed to existing online shopping platforms».
Am Lessingplatz, Stadtfeld, Arndtstraße 40, 39108 Magdeburg, Germany
Janasch’s is a store founded and owned by entrepreneur Jana Fischer. The seventy-two square meter concept store is home to novelty items as well as books in the children’s and design genre.