Selfmade Experts: Barbara Molnar on Neuzwei

©Maidje Meergans

Barbara Molnar is the owner of the Berliner vintage store Neuzwei. She told us where her love of vintage fashion comes from and how her store came to be

Neuzwei is a small vintage store in Weserstraße in Neukölln. Barbara Molner studied communication design and opened her own store at just 30 years old. She tells us how it came to be:

My focus is on timeless and high-quality vintage fashion in like-new condition. The selection includes many designer pieces: a coat from Max Mara or woolen trousers by Jil Sander, but I also love the classic Levi’s 501 jeans. The pieces can be easily combined with one another, and some customers even walk out the door in a complete outfit. The clothes are hung with lots of space, and the selection is kept relatively small; that way, I can offer a regularly changing variety. As soon as something is sold, I replace it with another piece – so there is always something new to discover.

 

Even as a teenager in Budapest, I rummaged with my girlfriends for pieces that no one else had. Other girls went to shopping malls; we went to second-hand kilo shops where we spent hours looking for our new favorite pieces. It was always a lot of fun, and the search became a passion. My love for vintage fashion developed more and more into an approach to life. A conscious approach to clothing is very important to me, and one of the most effective ways to make fashion more sustainable is to reach for existing pieces of clothing and use them in new ways.

I had the idea of opening a vintage store for quite some time. But first, I definitely wanted to study something creative. I decided on communication design, which now in retrospect turned out to be very useful. During my studies, I learned to think conceptually and developed a feel for design and function. This was always a lot of fun, but by the time I finished my internship, I realized that I did not want to work as a graphic designer in an office. For my thesis, I decided to take on the topic of sustainability. As a part of it, I opened a pop-up vintage store to test my concept. Sales ran for one week. Afterwards, I was convinced that I wanted to start my own business. Because I knew that I wanted to open Neuzwei shortly after finishing, I did not start a steady job after moving to Berlin. Instead, I began to realize my concept right away. The biggest hurdle was getting over the fear of failure and just doing it. I didn’t want to deal with the “what if…” thoughts. Now, I have a lot of returning customers that I am happy to see and I am always meeting new, interesting people – I love hearing their stories.

When buying the clothes that I sell, I always have certain outfits in mind. Seeing them on people who bring the clothes to life in a unique way and who are happy with their new look – that is always a highlight for me. The fact that my work brings so much happiness is a huge luxury that I really treasure. In the future, I can imagine integrating an online shop. At the moment, I already sell regularly by attentively curating my Instagram account. I work hard every day, but I don’t want to be forced to expand. It is important to me to have time for my private life and not to let self-imposed career pressure get in the way of enjoying the work

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.