One thing that I really like about working with hemp is that it is not as ordinary as being a baker, for example. When I tell people what I do, no one says, "Ah, okay. Cool." and moves on to another topic. Others always ask me questions about hemp and our business and I love talking about it.
After I had discarded my first career aspiration of becoming a lawyer or doctor, which I only had because you earn a lot of money doing that, it was always clear to me that I wanted to do something creative. I found a school in Pforzheim that offered a combination of training as a graphic designer and a vocational baccalaureate, and during my time there I realised that this is exactly my thing and it's what I want to do. But I wanted more than this training and so I studied at the Design University in Pforzheim. During my studies I did many different jobs, like waitressing or selling sneakers, but these jobs were just to earn money and I wanted to do something that was useful for me. So I looked for design jobs in Pforzheim and found Signature.
I didn’t have anything to do with hemp before, but I liked the idea of being able to grow and co-develop something. And of course from a design point of view, working for a hemp Startup is very exciting, because if you do it wrong the people will think that we are just a bunch of youths who want to make big money fast.
My main role is to design internal and external communication channels and help clients make their designs more valuable. But apart from that I help whenever I can. I’m not that kind of guy who just sticks into his specific task area. We at Signature generally always help each other as much as we can, whether it's our department or not. I can be sure that I will get a helpful answer from anyone I turn to when I have a problem. For example, I could call our CTO Max in the middle of the night and he would be ready to help me immediately. This is really great teamwork and I appreciate it very much.
Everyone in the team is different and special in their own way, but we still work very well together and I think this diversity is one of the most important aspects of Signature and a reason why it works. The internationality probably also plays its part and in my opinion it's really cool to have colleagues from all over the world. If everyone was exactly the same, we would probably get stuck somewhere more often. But because we are all different and yet on equal footing and value each other, there is always someone who has a great idea to keep going.
Because of the fact that I live in Pforzheim, the city where our warehouse is located, I have the great privilege that I can go there whenever I need to talk to someone. As I have already mentioned, I work at communication designs, so communication is a big part of my work and the energy at a table with other people is just different than sitting at your desk alone at home. Being able to meet colleagues like Laura, who works in our warehouse, our CTO Max or our CPO Tobi when I want to, is very important for me.
But don’t get me wrong. I also really appreciate working remotely and the freedom of my time schedule. Especially for someone who works creatively, it’s not always the situation that I wake up in the morning and know directly how to start my new task. The freedom to say, "I'm not feeling creative at all right now" or "I'm lacking input" and then go and meet someone for a coffee and be inspired by that is just great. I might see a magazine in the café that has a font or something that I really like, and then I have an idea for my task. Being able to align my task list and my workflow is really helpful for me.
Meeting people for coffee, getting some fresh air and a bit of movement is probably my favourite part of the day. I always feel relaxed afterwards and ready to start working again. I would like to do it every day, but then I would probably be poor and it wouldn't be something special to me anymore.
This freedom does cause that I don’t have a normal morning or daily routine. It always depends on what I have to do today and how I feel. I usually get up at about 7am, when it is a really good day, or otherwise at 8am. I get ready, make myself some coffee and try to get something done as soon as possible. Mostly my first call is at 9am, which is our marketing kick-off call. Afterwards I write down my To Do’s for the day on my whiteboard, where I try to mix different tasks to keep it exciting.
I don’t have fixed working times. The big advantage is that I can fit my work into my day as it suits best for me. A small disadvantage is that I am never really finished. I always have my laptop with me, I always have the opportunity to work and I usually always answer when someone wants something from me. But it's also an opportunity to use the time as effectively as I can and want to. Especially calls where I don't actively present something also work very well on the bus, on the train, in a café or at a friend's house.
I usually try to finish work at 7 or 8pm, but if I feel like working at times like 10pm or 7am, that's fine too, and I like that freedom to do it as it suits me.
Before I started working at Signature hemp was not really my thing. My first contact with hemp was our nibble hemp with different flavours because it was my first design project for Signature. I got a few samples and everyone I gave them to, including myself, really liked them. But my favourite product is definitely our mint-flavoured CBD oil spray. I always have one in my pocket and I still remember the first time I used CBD oil. It was Christmas and I stupidly had a toothache. It occured to me that I could use CBD oil and it might sound crazy but it helped immediately.
If someone had asked me about hemp three years ago, I would probably only have thought of its illegal use. But now I know much more about hemp myself and also the world in general starts to explore it’s value and various possible uses. I mean, who would have believed you a few years ago if you had said that hemp could be used as insulation for houses or as animal feed?
There are still a lot of people out there who don't know this, and my job as a communication designer is to let people know how great hemp is in the simplest way possible.