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Public Possession, Munich: about drawing a living from a record store

Over a period of years, the duo agreed upon starting a venture together. DJ-ing was a passion, but it could not sustain their finances

Public Possession, open for all

The thesis of Public Possession began as a means for founders Marvin Schumann and Valentino Betz to curate and offer music in its forms to the inhabitants of the environs. In its initial stage of conduct, Public Possession democratized vinyl and records for the masses, curating music and its genres on what the founders liked, and what was wanted by anyone who walked through its doors. The modes of function at Public Possession have then been altered over the course of its ten-year existence. To tell us their journey, Mr. Schumann sat in for an interview, representing Public Possession as its co-owner and curator.  

When nudged on the history of the two co-owners and how they came to formatting a concept store together, Mr. Schumann explains: «Valentino and I have been friends for twenty-five years. After having gotten to know each other for a period of time, we participated in a number of creative endeavors together before agreeing on collating our interests and expertise into running a business».

Music and graphic design as the starting point for Public Possession

Mr. Schumann explicates that in their twenties, while delegating their time between their personal wants and needs, the duo first established as DJs in bars and clubs in the locale. «From our exploits within the DJ and music scene here in Munich, we built a brand for ourselves as musicians. That granted us a spot in international spaces».

Schumann carries on explaining the expertise in which the owners hold. Mr. Betz, thirty-five years old this year, majored in an art program in the Fine Art Academy of Munich. Mr. Schumann, on the other hand, a year older than Betz, majored in Philosophy at the University of Vienna.

Playing into their know-how and what they have taken away from their time at their respective degrees, Betz actively pursued a career in graphic design. He would curate posters for the DJ sets he and Mr. Schumann took part in. Mr. Schumann assisted in contributing written copy for these posters, forming their ideas and intent to realize their exploits in music and in the nightlife circuit.  

The foundations of a concept store 

Having spent years collaborating with one another whilst pursuing their careers as DJs, Mr. Schumann and Mr. Betz shared their downtime together as peers who held similar interests – namely in record collecting and producing music.

The co-owner states that in 2005 the duo gained access to music industry professionals who were familiar to the genre of music they were creating. «While we were discovering things together, we found a slate of other areas that were interesting to our individual selves». Remaining close to one another while exploring their own interests as well, the two retained their shared ardor for music. 

After a period of years together, the duo agreed upon starting a venture. The reasoning behind it was simple and to the point. DJ-ing was a passion, but it could not sustain their finances. «There were a few factors that led us to founding the store. Having completed our education and seeking a means to fund our futures, we drew back to the roots of our interest. Music».

The essences of music and the shared adoration can be seen across the store’s physicality into today. Vinyl was a medium that was dear to the duo. Mr. Schumann added: «We were assisting brands and artists to produce their music as well. With the summation of these factors, we decided that it would be best to draw a living from a record store that could function as a place to sell our music as well». 

Public Possession as a community space for those who enjoyed music

When prompted on how the co-owners came up with the name of the establishment, Mr. Schumann explicates that it was one that was concocted at the eleventh hour. The co-owner adds that finalizing a name was a decision that took them a significant amount of time.

This was done with care as the name signified a state of immortalization for the brand that they were working to realize. «There was the pressure of selecting a name that could hold significance as well. We had the vision of wanting the business to function for a significant amount of time. This left us in a state of stagnancy in choosing a name». 

The story of the name was one that came as a happenstance. Mr. Schumann elucidates a variation of the story. One that is from his perspective. While DJ-ing the duo was mixing music from a label or an artist by the name of ‘Private Possession’. As Schumann recalls, him and his partner drew the roots of their concept store from this. Having made the decision to defer away from a sense of exclusivity hey named the store from the intention of inculcating a community space for those who enjoyed music. 

The purpose of a ‘Public’ space

The ethos of the concept store was to exemplify a creative space that showcased creatives of various backdrops. The aims was to drive the inhabitants of the environs to the store to experience new-found works from artists and to collaborate with like-minded creatives in the music industry. Leaning into the market offering of the time – where there was a lack in record and vinyl stores dedicated to curating and selling contemporary music – the co-owners met. 

Regarding themselves as collectors of various items the co-owners first launched Public Possession in 2012. The store gathered objects from music to concept items like prints and apparel. As record store that catered to the contemporary music scene, they were seeking and offering music that meshed well with the needs and wants of their consumers. 

The space in which the duo inhibits was one that was offered by a peer who owned a skate shop. «In the aughts of the store’s existence, we offered music as our primary source of commodities for consumers». 

Regarding to having had ‘luck’ when seeking out areas to plant the physicality of Public Possession, Mr. Schumann shares that the Klenzestraße area was sought after due to its allure in being a flocking site for the youth and alternative crowds – the target demographic for Public Possession. The physical space went through two periods of changes, where two architects visions were brought together. The first was Giacomo Nüsslein.

Disseminating «the brand and its existence» in Germany

When Public Possession went through its second rebranding, the owners remodelled the space after the designs of Enzo Mari. Inspired by Italian designs, the co-owners utilized a book by Mari and constructed pieces by hand. This etched in a duality in the craft of the space, from Mari and the co-owners. 

Trying to solidify their brand whilst securing a flow of income, they began their first trough towards merchandising their brand. Drawing their individual expertise, Mr. Betz contributed to the graphics and Mr. Schumann supplied the written copy for their merchandise.

Having curated their first t-shirt, crafting them by employing premium manufacturers from Portugal and locations around Europe, the duo built their existence, step-by-step over the years. «We were lucky as we had pushed the pieces out towards concept stores and department stores around Germany and Europe. This was the path we took on to disseminate the brand and its existence». 

Over time, Mr. Schumann and Mr. Betz wove in their personal interests into the offerings at the store. Having produced their first print compilation, they started producing prints and periodicals for a variety of creatives. 

Concept items for the Public

Having sold their first merchandise item with adulation from the public, Mr. Schumann and Mr. Betz collated their intent and worked towards curating an accoutrement of items that can accompany their existing offerings. Some of these items include prints, apparel designed by the co-owners, and concept items like hand-made pottery and ceramics.

«Items grew over time at the store. While we began our start as purveyors of records and vinyl, the shift to carrying concept items were one’s that were prompted by our individual interests and the suggestions of peers, who are creatives themselves or appreciate art». 

Mr. Schumann explicates that in the store’s infancy, Mr. Betz and himself managed creative exploits between them. As the brand grew over its ten-year existence, the co-owners led to collaborative ventures with varied creators in putting out art from the confines of the store to creating art and selling it there. «These pieces varied from fine artists to music producers and singers. Who, for some, we assisted in producing their music». 

Public Possession narrated a journey into a number of offerings, some of which have navigated away from music roots. Mr. Schumann states that expeditions into the arts is done in feeling as opposed to what is right. He also added: «We refused to mold ourselves into a specific mode of function. If an area interests us, we approach it».

The near future for Public Possession

Having been met with laudation by the general public due to its brand positioning, Mr. Schumann explains that the cultivation of sound – though was not one that began at the confines of the store – was met with celebration due to the curation of music and the interest the public had towards records at the time. «We were surprised by the shared ardor that our customers had for music. This navigated our offerings, sharing appreciation for art for and with a community that appreciates it». 

Today Public Possession includes additional items like wine, water bottles and periodicals from varying publications over time. It remains a centerpiece for the arts, disseminating music in genres, and modes to its listeners in Munich, and elsewhere. 

Public Possession 

Klenzestraße 16, 80469 München, Germany

A concept record and vinyl store based in the city of Munich. Public Possession was founded on the sole ethos of democratizing and disseminating vinyl of sorts alongside to esoteric concept items. 

Pravin Nair

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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