If you want to win in pitching, you have to be able to convince. And that’s in a maximum of three minutes. Because you don’t have any more time if you want to convince a potential financier about your business idea, e.g. with an elevator. This is the idea behind pitching. At the Transparent Factory in Dresden, Martina Faßbender, like her four competitors, wants to convince the jury of the “Saxon Entrepreneur 2022” competition and become the best start-up. The winner can count on media services worth 60,000 euros. A price that should help you become known and rise.
“A woman is passionate about her company,” said the audience after Martina Fassbender’s performance. – It was convincing. And: “The bread tastes really good.” This is what Martina Faßbender wanted to hear and why she started her own business: “Baking gluten-free and wheat bread – and it tastes good,” says the head of the startup “Brotfeuehle – gluten-free, vegan, organic Bakery Manufacture”.
In Dresden, he leaves nothing to chance and wins. During his performance, he gives out sampler snacks. Even the Prime Minister of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, who is among the guests, can taste and praise Hilde and Waltraud. Martina Faßbender gave her loaves a name. Brownie isn’t just about brownie. His name is Henry. And Werner’s marzipan pastries.
The over 60-year-old could actually retire. But it doesn’t fit in with her nature. He is a performer. It would also be a waste. Because thanks to its activities, it found a gap in the market. Her clientele, she says, is growing every day.
The impulse for self-employment was one’s own gluten intolerance, which was confirmed a few years ago by a native resident of Düsseldorf. “Plain bread gives me stomach ache and cramps.” As a result, she turned her life upside down – not only her diet, but also her work. Since then, she has ceased to run luxury fashion stores, but has passed the gluten-free baking exam, obtained a special permit for a career change and obtained double certification – as “organic” and as a gluten-free bakery and patisserie. Everything is regularly monitored by auditors and a laboratory. The latter is important, he says.
“Many today print ‘gluten-free and wheat-free’ on their products, but that is far from what I mean by that.” After I inevitably try many of these products, she knows what she’s talking about. “Many things are not healthy.” It literally goes off the rails when it says you need to refrigerate the gluten-free bread or toast it before eating it to make it taste good. “It has nothing to do with bread,” he says.
She stood in the kitchen for three years, baking gluten-free bread. This is usually part of the mix, just as the flour is part of the baking of the bread and holds the dough together.
But Martina Faßbender and the others do not tolerate this normal bread. “Strictly speaking, 20 to 30 percent of the people in Germany cannot tolerate it,” says the entrepreneur. So when it is said to be in a niche market, that is not even the least true.
Her husband, Horst Richter, has an office close at hand. Accordingly, the turnover in this market segment amounts to over EUR 5.3 billion worldwide and is expected to increase to EUR 7.8 billion by 2025. “This process is being driven by the transition to a healthier diet,” he says. A management consultant helps his wife as much as possible “so that she can fully concentrate on her work”. When they were both still living in Frankfurt am Main, it was the other way around, he says.
In 2018, Horst Richter moved to Leipzig to work. Martina Faßbender goes hand in hand and starts with a production plant in Leipzig-Wahren and then opens a store in Nikolaistraße. “Martina’s Bread Feelings” just becomes “Bread Feelings”. The store is now on Brühl, one of Leipzig’s oldest streets.
During Corona, she ran the shop herself, as she says herself. “70 hours a week was no exception, it was the norm.” She hadn’t thought of giving up, even if a large chunk of her savings was lost during that time. He describes himself as someone “from the old school”. By this he means, for example, that she has built her business without any outside financing. “With every loan, always remember that you have to pay it back.” Her father’s words are still stuck in her head and are also a signpost for her future.
Customers sometimes come from far away to buy their products. “I am often asked why I don’t open my store in other cities. ‘You have to finance something like that,’ I reply. She would have taken this step with the investor behind her. But licensees are also welcome. For those who cannot come to Leipzig, Martina Faßbender has created the ready-to-bake mixture “Fraeulein” for the home oven. The customer base is growing week by week. From summer there will also be a lot of sweet baking mixes. And it won’t stay that way anymore … lvz
Business Award “Saxon Entrepreneur of the Year” and the Founder’s Award “Saxony funds – Start-up 2022” are an initiative of the “Sächsische Zeitung”, “Freie Presse”, “Leipziger Volkszeitung” and MDR, as well as Volkswagen Sachsen, the audit and consulting company KPMG, the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and the health insurance company AOK Plus.