If you are looking for progressive and unusual women’s fashion in the German capital, there is one place you can’t (and shouldn’t) avoid: the Wald store. In the heart of Berlin-Mitte, the dream-team of friends Dana Roski and Joyce Binneboese sell their very unique mix of rather streetwear oriented labels such as Soulland or Schott NYC blended with more excentric high end collections like Petar Petrov, Freya Dalsjø or Malaikaraiss, all rounded up with one of the finest jewelry selections in town. We spoke to Dana, who also successfully works as a stylist, on how the pretty duo ended up having their own store and why traveling is so much better than business talks. Interview by Maria Hunstig

'Wald' means 'forest' in German...photo: Jakob Olsson
'Wald' means 'forest' in German...photo: Jakob Olsson

Why did you open up your store in the first place? Tell us the story behind!
The store rather “happened” to us. In our mind we never had the fixed plan to open up a store. Joyce was working as a model and I as a stylist when by a lot of coincidences we had the chance to take over Wald. So suddenly we had this store and basically grew into our retailer role during the past 2.5 years.
I am a bachelor professional of trade and commerce and Joyce is currently studying to become one, but no one has shown us how to run a store. That’s partly been hard but it has also given us a great creative freedom in approaching things. We believe this is what makes Wald so unique after 2.5 years of hard work. We rather think of us as artists than business experts. Of course one plus one has always to equal two, otherwise a business does not work out, but we never want to quit dreaming and creating things.

Wald's (own) jewelry collection
Wald's (own) jewelry collection
What has been your greatest challenge in running the store?
We started during the financial crisis and are completely revenue-financed. Every Euro that we spend has to previously be generated in the store. In recent times, there seem to be stores openings and closings in Berlin-Mitte every second, because they simply cannot cope with the struggle, even with large investors. To survive and grow in this kind of climate without any financial security takes a lot of courage and strong nerves. Our online store, the Wald magazine and our own jewelry collection are just some of the mountains which we climbed successfully during the past 2.5 years. It’s not easy to bring up the confidence and the will to create something special every day.

Which are your current bestselling brands?
Our highlight for the spring/summer 2015 season is Sandy Liang from New York, which we discovered over there during past fashion week. We sell the label exclusively in Germany. There are only very few designers, whose talent is creating such a sensation in the fashion business in such a short time. In Europe, we are known for our very particular style, therefore we do sell designers pretty well who others don’t have the confidence to stock because they are “hard to wear”, such as Freya Dalsjø from Copenhagen, Petar Petrov from Vienna, Collina Strada from New York or Purified shoes from London.

Where do you buy your assortments? At fairs, in showrooms?

We travel a lot and visit the fashion weeks in Berlin, Copenhagen, London, Paris and New York. We don’t do any trade shows any longer because we feel they are uninspiring for us. Generally, we talk a lot to our designers and are very close to them – we like it best to order directly in their studio so that we can suggest our latest modification proposals. It’s always much more inspiring for us to for instance visit an exhibition in London than to listen to a dry fashion business talk. It keeps us creative and open minded to discover new talents.

Inside Wald, photo: Jakob Olsson
Inside Wald, photo: Jakob Olsson

How do you inform yourself about trends?
We find the word trend a bit difficult. Housewives inform themselves on trends in newspapers. But we don’t regard ourselves as housewives, but as ambassadors for fashion. We always fall in love with certain things (cuts, colors, styling) and bring these home to our customers in Berlin from our travels. These trips are our inspiration. Very often, it can be very trivial things such as an afro hair dresser in Harlem, where we’re suddenly sitting as the only light-skinned (or chocolate toned, as in Joyce’s case) customers, that we find inspiring. 
For next summer, we strongly believe in New York’s Jonathan Simkai and his architectonic cuts, cool swimwear by Beth Richards from Canada, the Mother Of Pearl slides with crystal stitching and the Peanuts collection by Peter Jensen from London.

Shop window showing the latest Wald magazine cover
Shop window showing the latest Wald magazine cover
How do you keep in touch with your regulars?
We do a lot with and for our customers: our own magazine, parties, dinners or the calendar that we just launched during fashion week Berlin. We created that one together with art director Manuel Schibli from Paris and the photographer Jonas Lindstöm from Berlin. We take our customers with us on our fashion travels, that way they receive daily updates and insights behind the scenes on Facebook, Instagram or our Blog at the This is Jane Wayne blog.
Our online shop and social media communication is all held in English, as our customers are very international.

What does your shop have that others don’t?

What do you like about your city and the customers here?
Berlin is brave and everything is possible. Moreover, we can strongly feel the international spotlight that the city is currently enjoying. People love Berlin, it is cool and trendy, we feel that with our customers – who mostly aren’t Berliners, funnily.

Is there a role model store that inspires you?
We are inspired by a million things, especially when travelling. But more by people, artists or situations than by shops themselves. Our mantra is to keep true to yourself – too much left and right looking is only confusing the own identity.

Wald Berlin
Alte Schönhauser Str. 32c
10119 Berlin