Let’s spread good vibes, people!
Rosalie Cramer-Klett & Carlotta Cramer-Klett
Who are you? What do you do? Tell us about your concept.
We are Carlotta and Rosalie, the sisters behind HIITU, an intercultural project dedicated to creativity. Driven by our passion for design, craftsmanship and culture we seek out the most skilled artisans and manufacturers around the world to co-create unique designs, which carry their very own multi-faceted aesthetic – from handmade jewellery to vegetable tanned leather accessories and easy fair trade fashion.
HIITU means “feather” in Caddo, the language of the Skidi Pawnee – Native Americans originating from Nebraska. Our maternal roots derive from this tribe. This heritage is the inspiration for the brand and its pursuit of synergy among humans as well as between humans and nature through the process of creativity. Feathers are an important symbol in the Native American tradition, often used for decorating ritual objects as they stand for the connection between heaven and earth. It is said that they form the wings with which we can transcend from our earthly reality and its restrictions and rise to new creative heights.
We believe in energetic connectedness of everything. It is truly our goal to create pieces filled with good energy that will accompany their owners hopefully for a lifetime. “Let’s spread good vibes, people!” The brand’s philosophy is based on this simple message. It begins with the love and dedication that we put into the design process of each product and continues with a clear focus on fair, personal and long-lasting collaborations with our manufacturers, while using responsibly sourced fine natural and local materials. It is our goal to ensure that this positive energy inherent in each HIITU product results in some very happy customers who yet again will continue to spread those good vibes.
Where are you from?
Your style in 3 words?
Rosalie: simple, smart, unique
Carlotta: contrast, comfort, detail
Your weakness? Your strength?
We get easily over-excited, sometimes this makes it hard for us to narrow down what we want to focus on. So we can get a bit lost and do too many things at the same time… But simultaneously this has made us brave, always open to try new things and ready to jump into the deep end. Plus, we believe that our sisterly bond gives us a lot of strength. And we seem to attract sister power too – coincidently two of the workshops we collaborate with in Portugal are also led by sisters. We often laugh about the similar work dynamics inside each of our teams. With their many years of experience in successful sister team work, it has been helpful more than once to listen to what they have to tell us J
What makes you different?
You tell us
How did it all start? When did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
It started way back in 2012, when Carlotta started making headpieces herself, inspired by the Native American jewellery that the women in our mother’s family wear. When travelling in Rajasthan, India she spontaneously ended up developing her first little silver jewellery collection there. In 2015 we decided to join forces. Rosalie is a trained shoe maker and has a lot of experience in working with leather. Since then we have taken HIITU to another level, fusing both our skills in a sisterly collaboration, expanding the collection from jewellery to clothing, accessories and interior.
What’s your businesses’ USP?
The HIITU mission is to increase the creative flow of energy around the globe by connecting with the skills of our producers and together think of unique ways to apply their traditions and craftsmanship to our design ideas. We want to inspire our customers to pick up on this result and take some of the creativity into their daily life. With our new Pick-n-Mix Collection we have taken it even one step further by giving our customers the opportunity to join the creative design process themselves by “pick-n-mixing” different elements and beads to match outfit and mood. So far it is received very well and we have the strong feeling that this concept will be guiding HIITU into exciting new directions, aiming to unite the different creative forces of everyone involved with the goal to enhance global connectedness all together.
What were the greatest uncertainties when you started? Your certainties?
There were the obvious little uncertainties like how will we find partners we can trust, will people like what we do etc. But the biggest uncertainty was how we would work as a team. We both have pretty strong characters. “Made with good vibes” is a bold statement that of course we need to follow at the very core – the relationship between the two of us. It isn’t always an easy ride, however, we both agree that we have never learned so much about how to make professional as well as personal relationships work like in the past two years. Besides some little cat fights once in a while, we have learned to stick with “Good Vibes” most of the time…at the end of the day it is all about communication J.
Regarding certainties: Somehow we have always been 100% convinced that HIITU is going to be successful. Of course success can be defined in many different ways. For us, every minute since we have started this project has been a huge learning curve and we are excited to see where it is going to take us. We aim to stay as open and flexible as possible.
„Crisis, crisis, crisis“ it’s all people are talking about… do you care?
So far crisis has not yet landed on Planet HIITU.
Your success: How much of it has been “hard work”, how much “luck” (in percentage)?
75 hard work/25 luck – this is extremely difficult to say, we work VERY hard, but we are also VERY lucky!
Finish the sentence „More important than my career is…“
…world peace No seriously, a very healthy work life balance has become a must for us. There was a moment in this past year, where we had reached rock bottom. We were completely overworked and our personal relationship started to suffer. Eventually we decided to take some time off individually to re-evaluate on how we want to continue with HIITU. During this time we both realised how important it is to stay in sync with yourself and your needs in order to keep your life and your career flowing.
What do you find most fascinating about your work?
Definitely interacting with so many beautiful people from different cultures and backgrounds. HIITU has brought us to some incredible places. For example, at the beginning of our journey we got to spend five weeks in Fez, Morocco, running up and down the Medina and searching for the most skilled craftsmen in town. We are now treated like locals, know where to go for the best juice, the real Moroccan food and the authentic local markets. We have made some great friends – our “Moroccan family” makes us feel at home when we go back and that is a very special feeling. Around the Medina we are now known as the tall German twins – which much pleases Rosalie being four years older. This twin thing has followed us to Kenya too. The Maasai women from “Basecamp”, a foundation we work with in the Maasai Mara, also keep thinking the same thing. Collaborating with these ladies has been one of the most exciting experiences in our life. We learned so much about their amazing tribe and its traditions. Plus the nature and the wild life we have seen in the Maasai Mara – no words to describe it.
Someone else’s work that inspired or inspires you…
The artisans and manufacturers and especially the cultures they come from are our inspiration. We work with incredible craftsmen and -women that have a great passion for what they are doing. In Morocco for example, we visited several craft schools. For years the students are taught in one very specific areas of expertise – seeing the intensity of their training is impressive and earns so much respect. Our artisans’ skills therefore are a huge inspiration for us. It is generally on our travels where we get inspired the most. Besides the artisans it’s the colours, the nature, the people, the architecture of the places around us that influence our designs strongly. Every colour combination of our collections so far derived from a moment on our adventures abroad. We let ourselves be inspired by the moment. For example, one of our favourite colour combinations – pink/green – we discovered in a museum in Nairobi, when we were all of a sudden surrounded by lots of little school children wearing a uniform in the mentioned colours. We looked at each other and new that we had to pick up on this – and we did!
A new project coming up or an idea you want to work on? Tell us about your future plans…
We have spent the last two years laying the ground stones for HIITU, working hard on finding our awesome manufacturers, developing our first and second collections and beginning to make a name for ourselves. With this built up we are now getting everything perfectly organised and structured with the mission to spread the HIITU love further and further. As already mentioned, our focus is currently on wakening our customer’s creativity. We are working on more collections with a similar concept as our Pick-n-Mix jewellery but we also want to reach people’s creative minds through other channels. More on that will follow soon!
Your city’s favourite spots?
We moved back to Bavaria when we started HIITU, but we are still very much connected to Berlin since it’s like a second home. Of course our No. 1 spots are our brother’s restaurants, Katz Orange and Panama. The food is incredibly delicious and the cocktails are to die for! We used to live right next to the Museumsinsel and that would be our go to place for a quiet moment by ourselves (at night when nobody is there). Also Saturdays and Sundays there is a great little flea market where you can find beautiful prints, rare books, and cool vintage coats.