Founders profile: Justus Thegemey & Anna-Sumi Ahrens
Your ginseng - active plant substances for the tired moment
Actually, Anna-Sumi Ahrens wanted to make something out of her tree house idea. During the 2018 Masterclass, however, everything turned out differently. There she met Justus Thegemey and the two decided that they would like to implement a completely different concept together. In our founder profile, she reports on her founding around your ginseng .
What's your idea? What are you guys about?
Our ginseng tea is made from 100% red Korean ginseng. We make sure to ensure the highest quality and do without fillers and additives, as well as sugar. By importing it directly from the ginseng field, we guarantee a natural product of certified quality at a fair price.
What fundamental problem are you solving with this?
Especially in the current situation, we are learning how important it is to have stable health, a strong immune system and a resilient psyche. Ginseng has proven to be a helpful companion for many common diseases over thousands of years. It has a supportive effect in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and stress and significantly strengthens the immune system.
But healthy people can also benefit from the ginseng root and use it to prevent their health. Our vision is that more people take conscious care of their health. And before it is endangered or lost. In this sense, ginseng contributes to life energy and physical strength and harmonizes body and mind.
How did you come up with the idea - tell a bit about yourself, your past, interests and how your development towards entrepreneurship took place?
Justus and I met in the master class of the Entrepreneur Foundation in 2018. It quickly became clear that we could imagine a good cooperation. In addition to our full-time jobs, we were looking for a creative and independent project. This is how the idea of ginseng was born, as we both already had a connection to it. We traveled to South Korea to learn about the origins of ginseng, visited many ginseng farms and learned a great deal more about the root and its uses from Korean expertise and experience.
Where did you need help, what were the biggest challenges?
There are some subject areas in which Justus and I are not at home. In these areas we get support from professionals. There are for all concerns. We have learned to focus on our individual strengths and distribute the tasks accordingly. We prefer to give away things that we cannot solve. That saves a lot of time. But sometimes it's enough if you don't solve things perfectly for the time being, but find an interim solution. Later, when you have gained more experience in the field or have met someone through the network who has the knowledge for the problem, you can always optimize the interim solution.
The good thing about a team is that sometimes one, sometimes the other, is more motivated and thus pulls the other along. This means that you don't give up!
In our opinion, the biggest challenge is always staying on the ball. There are situations that are challenging, but we now have more and more practice and we really enjoy tackling and solving these challenges. The good thing about a team is that sometimes one, sometimes the other, is more motivated and thus pulls the other along. As a result, you don't give up and endure the long start-up process.
You took part in the proof of concept at the Entrepreneurship Summit, to what extent did it help you with the development?
The proof of concept was one of the best things that could have happened to us. He encouraged us to go public with our product given the status quo at the time. Far too often people wait until a product or service seems perfect and representative, but once again we realized that it is worth presenting the product to the outside world in the early stages. As a result, we were able to collect many good tips, suggestions for improvement and valuable feedback and have now further improved both our ginseng tea and the concept and adapted it to customer requirements.
We would like to say once again clearly: Thank you, dear Stiftung Entrepreneurship, for giving us the opportunity to present our tea. We would do it again and again!
How did "Your Ginseng." develop afterwards?
After the proof of concept we had a lot of to-dos. We had received a lot of feedback and suggestions and continued to work on the company and product. We were also represented at the Veggie World in Berlin with a start-up stand. That was very exciting for us and we made many helpful contacts again and brought our wonderful ginseng tea into the world.
What do you think is a "job with meaning" and what does it mean to you to act sustainably?
A meaningful job is one that fulfills you. Because he solves a problem for others or creates and makes available a product that customers want or need. Then you are also passionate about it. As we know, we can only be really good at things in which we feel positive emotions and full motivation. As a result, we combine our values and deep convictions with our work every day. There is probably nothing more beautiful than living this every day.
For our project, sustainability is a value that is at the top of the list. We want good cooperation with all our partners and customers, which is designed to last. Therefore, the further development of our business is about healthy growth according to our values.
And also in relation to the product, this means checking, building up or improving the entire product chain step by step for responsible components.
The framework conditions should enable people's creativity to be used for improvements and problem-solving.
What would you like to change immediately in the world of work?
This is a big topic that would take up too much space here. In principle, the general conditions should make it possible for the psychological pressure of acquiring land on each individual to be reduced. The framework conditions should enable people's creativity to be used for improvements and problem-solving. A nice keyword is also the system of "bullshit jobs", in which the (life) energy of people with a lot of (life) time for sometimes a lot of (painful) money but with no real value for others fizzles out. As I said - a wide field.
What is the attraction of self-employment for you?
It is always an extremely exciting journey, an adventure with encounters with great people and the opportunity to constantly develop and learn as an adult. For us, the great attraction lies in being able to devote oneself to one of the things that are close to our hearts and to work self-determined and independent of location.
Can you imagine (again or at some point) working as an employee?
Since we are both employed at the moment, this question does not arise for us. There are a number of advantages to starting a business as a part-time job. In particular, the financial security that is guaranteed should not be underestimated. So there is no extreme pressure that the company has to "stand up" overnight.
And we believe that we have become better, more valuable employees, even for our current employers. We have already acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience, which we bring to our "permanent" jobs on a daily basis to the benefit of our employers. None of the usual employer-paid training could do that!
What would you like to say to entrepreneurs from your experiences who are at the very beginning of their foundation?
Just do it, keep at it and get better.
Looking for like-minded people to share. This helps immensely with perseverance and progress.
Live your dreams! There is nothing more fulfilling than starting your own business. During the start-up phase, the learning curve increases dramatically. Much of what we can do today, we would not have been able to solve 2 years ago. Bit by bit it goes on and on. And the experiences are priceless.
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