Selfmade Experts: Judith Springer on “Fine Deodorant”

©Photo: Jules Villbrandt / Collage Oriane Baud

Judith Springer about her career and the Fine Deodorant, which leaves our entire editorial staff absolutely thrilled

There’s no other (beauty) product that appeals to me from as many different angles as this one: FINE Deodorant. When our editor Nella also brought the incredible woman behind it to my attention, it was time to make a request for one of our Selfmade Experts features. Sent on a Sunday afternoon, her answer (including a translation!) actually landed in my inbox a few hours later. She is crazy inspirational. But, read for yourself!

Before starting the FINE Deodorant project, I didn’t actually have a “real” job as all of my pursuits ran more or less parallel – until now, in any case. That could of course change at any time.

For the last decade (oh, how that sounds?!), I had mostly been dedicated to art and hadn’t just worked as an independent curator in different contexts, but also ran my own project space Espace Surplus in different locations and under varying concepts. My specialty there was always site-specific art and how art engages with the built environment.

In the meantime, I also spent over ten years writing my dissertation on that topic. And for the last few years, I’ve also continuously been working with the wonderful Angela McRobbie on different research projects at Goldsmiths College in London. As a rule, the focus there is on the creative economy, fashion business, and creative entrepreneurship. Yes, and for almost one year now I have been a certified Iyengar©-yoga teacher.

And last but not least, I’m now also a business owner in the beauty industry. It all started about a year ago after a conversation with my friend Jessica Prescott, who’s a gifted vegan chef and blogger (and whose first cookbook has just been released). Incidentally, she was working at Aesop at the time and I told her that even though I love the scent of the classic Aesop deodorant, it just doesn’t work for me. To which she replied by asking me why I didn’t just make my own. I should just simply mix this and that together, that’s all. Said, done.

My first self-mixed deodorant already won us over, and my other friends as well. FINE was born. A little later one of my yoga students, an amazingly talented graphic designer – her name is Maria Walnut – came to me by chance asking for private lessons. At that time, however, I was still in training and I wasn’t officially allowed to take money for my lessons.

So I got the idea that we could simply barter our services and asked her if she might work on the graphics for FINE in exchange for the yoga lessons. I didn’t have any exact idea what it should look like.

The next thing that I remember is that she came to me with one of the most unbelievably professional presentations which also contained a complete CI for FINE. I was totally overwhelmed, but somehow also very surprised. After a quick breather I thought, why not, just go with the flow.

Things were curbed for the first time by (the classic here in Berlin, when you have a good idea and try to put it into action with a lot of drive) – the public authorities. Everything has to be controlled and given the official nod. My first call to the health department (at the time I still wanted to produce the deodorant myself) was a little sobering. He nipped almost everything in the bud: “we don’t know that, don’t have that, don’t want that.”

Ok then, I thought to myself, someone professional can make it and I won’t have to fight through this anymore. And that’s how I found my producer in Munich. I went to him with a clear recipe and also with a clear idea of what should be in it, and most of all what not. The deodorant should be as simple as possible. My producer perfected everything exactly after my concept. In the end, it’s not just the single ingredients that are important, but also the way that they’re mixed together. Like cooking.

FINE came onto the market at the beginning of July, so it’s still a little baby of just three or four months. The feedback and reactions up until now have been staggering. I didn’t expect it and, to be honest, it knocked my socks off. It was sold out within a few hours of both of our big announcements.

What will come next? I had stupidly planned my whole life, forced things and tried to make them happen. That was so exhausting! Now I try to be rather flexible and adaptable, but of course not without structure and character. So, I’m open to whatever may happen.

But probably in the next five years there will be more than one scent of FINE Deodorant and a version for very sensitive skin – and yes, maybe a few more products that I see missing from the market.


Fine Deodorant

Deo, € 28 via MDC Cosmetic

More information can be found here.


translation: melissa frost

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.