Hase Weiss - Have the heart to try something new

Hase Weiss is a wonderfully wonderous store in Berlin-Charlottenburg, a lovely area full of cafés, galleries, flower shops and antique trades. The name comes from the German word 'Naseweis', which means jackanapes, and is a combination of Hase (bunny) and Weiss (white). Owner Anna Pfeiffer told us about being an architect in the children's world, encouraging toys and why Berlin is so special.

1 When did you open your shop?
In November 2004.

2 Why did you choose to open a shop for children?
As an architect I designed a lot of interiors and then my two daughters were born.... So I tried to combine the architecture with the life as a mother, opening a shop with self designed furniture and toys for children. The first thing I made was, of course, a dollhouse.

3 How would you describe the concept of Hase Weiss?
A lot of things I sell are my own designs. The things I add to retail have the same philosophy: that is, that children should play with things, that allow them to create their own world. I don`t like toys, that are already finished, looking nice, but nothing left to do. I think toys should encourage the children to make their own things out of them, to use them in their special way, different of what adults would do. If they manage to do so, the child will not loose the interest and will keep on playing.

4 Which labels do you present?
I like small lables, that are not so well known yet. Most of them I met on fairs, where I represented my own brand. Like Mitik and Quelle est Belle from France or skinky studio from South Korea. I also like the traditional German toys. Some of the old manufactures of wooden toys still exist in the Erzgebirge in the former eastern part of Germany. 

5 What is your favourite spot instore?
I love the paper toys and all those handicraft things the most. Kids have a great time doing them and after some time you don`t have to feel bad throwing them away to save the children's room from overflow.

6 Do you have a bestseller?
The bestsellers are the dollhouses and the farmhouses. Probably, as a former architect, houses are still my speciality.

7 What was your favorite toy when you were a child?
I used to have a rocking horse, just like the ones I now do with a workshop of disabled people. It is a really wild horse and I loved sitting on it and dreaming of riding through the forest. Even when I was 6 years old it still worked dreaming that way.

8 Tell me about the craziest item you've ever sold!
At the beginning I made one of those dolls, which I call Little Man, for a guy, who gave me the foto of his boyfriend to make the doll look alike. It had to have grey hair and a receding hairline.

9 Hase Weiss is in Berlin. What is special about this city?
In Berlin there is no money, but a lot of creativity. It is a really tolerant town and leaves you the space to try all kinds of things. Like for me. I'm an architect and I guess in almost every other town I still would be working in an office. In Berlin the rent is low, so one has the heart to try something new.

10 Do you have any plans to extend your range?
We just finished a new product. A paper circus to assemble, paint and play with. I love the circus of Alexander Calder and the film about it and always thought what a wonderful thing it would be to do something like that. Poetic, somehow old fashioned and full of humour.



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