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Meet Popster and its Female Founders: Miriam and Caroline

Today the Styles4Work magazine proudly introduces the two founders of Popster! Three years ago, Caroline Brudler und Miriam Schimka started to sell ice-lolly cocktails, that is frozen cocktails on a stick! Read their interesting interview here and learn about their inspiring story…

Key facts Caroline

Name: Caroline Brudler
Profession: MBA
Position: CEO & Co-Founder
Where do you live? Berlin
Family status: married, two kids

Key facts Miriam

Name: Miriam Schimka
Profession: MBA
Position: CEO & Co-Founder
Where do you live? Berlin
Family status: married, two kids

What is your professional background?

C.B.: I used to be a finance and project manager in the field of consumer goods…
M.SCH.: … and I was a manager for marketing and communications.

Almost three years ago you founded Popster Frozen Cocktails. Frozen ice-lolly cocktails! How did you come up with this amazing idea?

M.SCH.: We discovered ice popsicles made from natural ingredients on a trip to America in 2015. There was a total hype going on in New York and we immediately had the idea to offer something like this in Germany. Back home, we started to experiment in our own kitchen first. Whilst trying out, we then came up with the idea to mix the best flavours with alcohol, thus to make frozen cocktails.

What are your experiences as women in Germany’s start-up scene?

M.SCH.: In fact, throughout quite positive. Most of the people we spoke to very much appreciated the fact that we are female founders and also that we are both mums.

Which obstacles did you have to clear, if any?

C.B.: Since we are both mothers, I’d say that the biggest challenge is to juggle business and family. For both of us it has always been important to play an active part in our families’ lives which sometimes means to miss out on interesting events or opportunities on the business side. You can’t have it all.

Also, the product ice cream is rather challenging because of the cold chain which can never be interrupted. This makes it sometimes quite demanding on the logistics side.

What have been your most important experiences in the last years?

M.SCH.: It is an amazing experience to create a brand, which people actually buy. In a start-up it is very exciting to be able to directly implement your own ideas. That is indeed very different from working for an established company.

Do you have any advice for founders in the scene?

C.B.: Miriam and me have very different approaches to run a business and also have diverse backgrounds. Yet, we were still a homogenous team. I think, a helpful advice is to respect your partner’s way of working and to extract benefit from this diversity.

An important learning is also that sales and distribution play a crucial role. A lot of founders in consumer goods are too focused on marketing and products. But a long-term success is only possible, if you set up a good sales strategy in early stage and also can provide appropriate resources.

Styles4Work is an online shop focused on business fashion and business editorials. What is your estimation on specialized platforms and blogs for future trendsetting?

M.SCH.: Well, I think, this will be increasingly important. People receive information about trends mainly from the internet. In my opinion, everything which saves time and summarizes interesting topics will become more and more significant.

Do you use social media yourselves?

C.B.: Professionally yes. Privately only to stay in contact with friends.

M.SCH.: Yes.

Fashion is an emotional, very personal topic. Is there an outfit that always works for you?

C.B.: No, I like to adapt to certain situations. I very much enjoy to be in Berlin where we sort of have the highest level of fashion freedom.

M.SCH.: Neither for me. Fashion very strongly reflects my moods though.

Do you have a favourite outfit?

C.B.: I adore short dresses in combination with bootees.
M.SCH.: I also like wearing dresses, they are easy to style differently for any time of the day. And I like blazers and jeans.

Do you have a favourite label?

C.B.: Yes, but not in the traditional business area. At the moment I like Ulla Johnson for dresses and for shoes I go for Aquazzura a lot. Furthermore I am a fan of Vivienne Westwood.

M.SCH.: That is changing. Some labels have wonderful things in one season but there is nothing for me in the next one. I like to combine things.

Are you including fashion trends in your business outfit?

C.B.: Yes, I am trying to. I hope, it’s succeeding ?.

M.SCH.: Yes, of course, not permanently though. I also think, there are certain meetings which work better in a very classical business outfit.

Which colours do you wear in the office?

M.SCH.: Berlin shows a tendency to black or at least dark, I think. I follow that in winter, but during summer I am happy to go for more colourful outfits.

What do you always carry in your handbags?

C.B.: I always have my mobile phone, keys and purse in my handbag. Often also a lipstick and a pair of earrings.

M.SCH.: Same here – no earrings though, instead I carry quite a bit of toys for the kids, e.g. cars and pens etc.

Which hint do you have for women who are still looking for their own style?

M.SCH.: I am not sure you really need to have your “own” style. For me, the nice thing about fashion is, that you can constantly reinvent yourself. However, as a first step it always helps to know what goes well with your body shape. I guess almost everybody has this ‘one friend’ who simply looks amazing in everything… but only very little people can go with any trend.

Work and family, an ongoing subject: how do you manage to master both?

M.SCH.: Endurance and a working network. Compatibility is probably the biggest issue for most mompreneurs. You either need a supportive partner or a very good and reliable childcare. Of course, when you found a company something can always go wrong.  It is crucial to react immediately, change the situation quickly and then look ahead again. It doesn’t help to look back or be angry.

Who or what gives you inspiration?

C.B.: CHAN! CHAN are the capital letters of Christiane Haasis und Angelika Nelissen. They are enormously inspiring for all working mums. Both mothers work for Unilever Germany and are worldwide the first two job-sharing vice presidents. That means, they both work part-time on the same job and basically pretend to be one person. At the moment they are hosted on a Spotify podcast „On the Way to NEW WORK“ by Michael Trautmann and Christoph Magnussen. We truly recommend to listen to it!

Which social topic is important to you?

M.SCH.: For me it becomes more and more crucial to prevent the excessive use of plastic. And also, I am looking at potential alternatives to plastic.

C.B.: Sustainability in general – especially in Germany – and an organic production of food in specific. We work in Berlin-Mitte, in a rather wealthy and open-minded society. Unfortunately, even in this surrounding I can’t really find an increased level of sustainable lifestyle and change of buying behaviour. Something has to significantly change, on the supply as well as on the demand side.