In just four years, the 29-year-old from Munich, Delia Fischer, turned the idea of an exclusive shopping club for furnishings and home accessories into a rapidly growing international New Economy company: Westwing Home & Living GmbH . The trained fashion journalist honed her sense of style at the magazines "Elle" and "Elle Decoration" before launching Westwing.de in April 2011 with a team of enthusiastic colleagues. The rest, as the Americans say, is history.
Westwing is currently active in eleven countries with a total of 17 million members and employs over 1000 people. And since Delia Fischer is a self-confessed cashmere fan, it was a double win-win when she and Andrea Karg presented the Allude Home Collection exclusively on the living portal in mid-January. Pillows, opulent blankets and other cuddly soft items that bring feel-good luxury into your home. It shouldn't stop at this premiere, more on that soon.
But first our interview with the likeable Delia Fischer – about happy interiors, youthful (room) sins, dream trips and beauty secrets.
How does your day start?
My day starts around 7 a.m. by turning off the alarm and turning on my phone. read emails! It wakes me up right away, even though I'm not really a morning person. Then into the bathroom, choose an outfit - and after a cup of tea straight into the office. I'll catch up on breakfast later in the morning.
Which beauty product do you trust?
Every day I use SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPV 50, a lightly tinted day cream with a mineral sunscreen. I don't need makeup anymore. In general, I've never left the house without UV protection cream for at least ten years, which is extremely important to me.
The coolest song on your iPod or iPhone?
I can't get enough of jazz singer Karen Souza's track "Creep" and all the old Elton John songs.
How would you describe your own style
I definitely follow a mix of styles, simply because I see so many furniture, objects, brands and home accessories in my job. I couldn't even follow a single dictation. What is important to me is a tidy cheerfulness. Bright rooms, clear accents with pastel tones and selected retro elements - be it photographs or my bar trolley from the 1970s.
My taste in fashion actually goes in a similar direction, here too I like pastel shades and a certain feminine elegance. As a founder and managing director, it's just hard for me to come into the office in a wild hippie look.
Do you remember your first cashmere garment?
That was when I was 17, my mother gave me a cashmere scarf. I still own and wear it today, for example yesterday when I was lying in bed with a slight cold.
Do you have a favorite piece from the Allude collection?
I like the long cardigans that don't fasten at the front and fall in perfect little waves. I usually wear blouses or silk shirts to the office, and when I get cold, these pieces are just lovely. Cuddly and elegant, noble and comfortable. Also my definite must-have for the plane. In Cashmere you just feel wonderfully comfortable and at home.
Do you adore style icons?
I especially have a crush on the actress, columnist, horsewoman and socialite CZ Guest (1920 – 2003). She embodied all-American glamor like few others and her house with its Roman columns and huge pool must have been heaven for fans of unusual interiors. Incidentally, CZ Guest also tried her hand at fashion designing cashmere sweaters. And she also had her own garden line including bug spray. I have a large photograph of her up front that Slim Aarons took in Palm Beach in 1955. Of course, Kelly Hoppen and Jonathan Adler are each incredibly inspiring in their own way.
When did you discover your soft spot for stylish furnishings?
That started early. When I was about twelve, for example, I renovated a friend's dollhouse for my younger sister for Christmas, painting and furnishing the small rooms differently. I really enjoyed that at the time.
I certainly learned the joy of redecorating, rearranging and designing from my mother, who shares this passion with me. And sometimes drives my father to despair because she got it into her head that a room needs to be completely remodeled. A certain degree of etiquette, i.e. no kitchen roll at the table but napkins and so on, was always important at home. Not stiff or tense, but rather with a certain love of celebrating being together.
Oh yes, and of course the most important living magazines were always scattered around: "Schöner Wohnen", "Architectural Digest" and "Elle Deco".
What did your youth room look like?
Of course, there were posters for all the bands that were popular at the time, of course. But I also had a chandelier, floral bedding, and fairy lights. And pillows whose covers I sewed myself.
your greatest treasure?
A book of quotes and prayers that my late grandmother, who was very religious, gave me when I was ten. I guard it like a sack of gold!
What or who inspired you most recently?
I was on the plane the other day watching the documentary Life's but a Dream, which features Beyoncé's amazing career. How her music and personality turned her into a pop culture icon who, despite negative headlines, has never stopped speaking her mind - hats off, as the saying goes.
Your most beautiful trip?
That was definitely the student exchange to Pune in India when I was 17. I lived there with a family for seven weeks and initially had a hard time getting used to it. But in the end, the experience shaped me a lot. Also wonderful was a catamaran trip in the Seychelles, which I treated myself to with friends after two years of hard work at the start of Westwing. Urgently needed, because my family and friends already said: Delia, you have to go on vacation, you're getting hard to bear. I found it hard to switch off until morning, coffee in hand, standing on deck as we headed for La Digue Island. With so many shades of turquoise in the water around it. Unbelievably pretty.
what makes you happy
Recently I was very happy when I saw the result of our small internal competition "Your office needs to be nicer". Each team was given a budget to upgrade or decorate the office - and everyone put a lot of effort into it, including our IT guys. Simply great!
Your best book tip?
"Waves" by Eduard von Keyserling, written in 1911. It's about a summer swim on the Baltic Sea around the turn of the century - and an illustrious group of vacationers and locals whose encounter degenerates into a social tragedy. A number of years ago, Karl Lagerfeld staged a fashion series for Vogue based on the book. During my last four-day vacation, I read “The Big Lot” by Meike Winnemuth, in which she talks about her trip around the world. Great holiday read.
What is your favorite film and/or favorite TV series?
I love series like "Nashville" with Hayden Panettiere, "Modern Family" or "Hart of Dixie" with Rachel Bilson. And all films that are incredibly elaborate or bring another era back to the screen. "The Great Gatsby" maybe or the offbeat comedy "Down with Love" with Renee Zellweger and plenty of Sixties charm and the coolest clothes.
And a friend recently gave me the presidential series “The West Wing” on DVD for my birthday. After all, it can't be, she said, that our company is called that, but I don't know this series.
What talent would you like to possess?
I would love to be able to sing, I always admire the musicality of others. I sing too, but only in the shower or alone in the car. It's better that way, believe me.
Your photo from Instagram with the most “likes”?
What are you dreaming of?
My most important goal is for everyone in Germany to think of Westwing first when they think of buying furniture and furnishings online. A household brand, a brand you know like Tempo or Coca-Cola.
The secret of your success?
Imagination and perseverance, because when you build a company like Westwing, you absolutely need both!