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CLARISSAKORK is my label and was born out of my passion for interior design, my experience as a textile designer and the great desire to pursue creative work independently. I love beautiful things, high-quality materials and neat craftsmanship. All these things and all my passion go into every piece of CLARISSAKORK - they should accompany you for a long time and give you pleasure. FIND YOUR FAVORITE PIECE!


What does your son have to do with your cork passion?

My son was a so-called spit-up kid, at least in phases. In other words, the standard cotton crawling blanket was often stained. Then we have a cat who also liked the blanket - so the blanket was in the washing machine more than on the floor - not exactly environmentally friendly for that reason alone. Well, and once the blanket was on the ground, Mini-Me tried to move forward. Unfortunately, this doesn't work - crawling blankets are generally not non-slip. And so he gave free rein to his anger early on. My first prototype was an embroidered cork rug. I put it through its paces in the bathroom. As a mom, you take your child everywhere with you. So he lay on the cork carpet in the bathroom and - of course he spat again - but wipe over it once and everything was gone.

Then I started to think about it more intensively. And realized that this is not the only reason why cork is perfect for children. It remains flat on the ground when they try to crawl. The carpet doesn't fluff either, and bacteria don't stand a chance with cork. Perfect then. No other material offers this many advantages.

What were the 3 most important steps to get to where you are today?

The first right decision for me was to attend the HTL for clothing technology in Dornbirn. I learned a lot there that I am still building on, and I was able to develop both creatively and commercially. I probably learned the most at the first company. At the age of 19, I was already looking after major clients in the sports and textile industry. I was on my own in the company, I was allowed and had to make a lot of decisions. My job was to get the development through the prototype channel and production, while at the same time making sure that the quality and price were right. Agreeing delivery dates with suppliers and sometimes hitting the table if the quality is not right. Later I worked in sales - on a commission basis - a job that requires a lot of stamina and tenacity. Calling the same potential customer again after the 10th no for the next project - but it is often the case that this 10th time pays off. There were small and larger things at many of the stations, which were always a challenge. However, these are important steps that must be learned as an entrepreneur. It was certainly an exciting journey and fascinating to see how different people run their business, how processes work in different sectors, but also to see clearly how you don't want to do it.

What activity gets you in the flow?

I love tinkering with designs, I forget everything around me, hours go by. I am just as happy to go to my team in the factory and discuss product ideas with them, get their opinion and we continue to work together. Privately, I love going for walks in the forest.

What did you do in your job as a textile worker?

I worked in very different areas, starting as a technician abroad in Bulgaria and then as a product manager. As a product manager, I have accompanied major outdoor brands with their garments from the development of a design through to production. From the choice of fabric to the development of accessories such as embroidery, printing, zippers and much more. Fitting the cuts and planning the time and costs were my tasks. I later worked for an underwear brand in quality assurance in China, where the ball was in my court when it came to discussing the collections and setting the quality standards.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Finding ideas: Whether it's a graphic pattern for embroidery or when I'm thinking about a product. I do have help with individual figures, but as far as the theme world, placement and color values are concerned, I do everything on my own. I often forget the time on my laptop and spend hours trying out colors, moving everything back and forth, thinking about where it will look best - for me it's all about millimeters and nuances. Some people lose their nerve just watching.

What was your dream job as a child?

I was interested in many creative things, such as being a goldsmith, window dresser or photographer. But my dream job was always to be a fashion designer.

What 3 tips would you give 15-year-old Clarissa?

Don't take everything so personally, be self-confident and believe in yourself and don't listen to what others say. Do your thing and do what makes you happy.

Do you dream about cork at night?

Sometimes the cork doesn't let me sleep - because I'm always thinking about what products I could make, how best to implement them, what pattern might look good as embroidery or what themed worlds might be exciting for children.

How did your passion for cork come about?

On the one hand, I am fascinated by the look, it is dyed very leather-like and yet vegan. What has sparked this passion is the wide range of possible applications: From a shoe to a couch, a
a cork pinboard for the children's room
or a
placemat or placemat for children
everything is possible - there are virtually no limits to the imagination. And what I love about it: not only is it beautiful, but it just makes so much sense to use cork. Cork is easy on the joints, warm, antibacterial, easy to clean and a sustainable natural material.

What used to be your favorite subject at school?

Drawing and handicrafts, of course, and later at HTL Dornbirn: fashion design

What have you learned for life on the job?

To be honest, I have had many jobs in many areas. The business cards and e-mail addresses I had could fill a small booklet. But I always had great jobs and when things weren't so great, I learned something everywhere. You just have to be attentive and look where you can pick something up. It's often the little things that are important at some point - even if it's just recognizing your own weaknesses or learning a great trick in a program. I worked in the textile industry in Bulgaria and China. I have also worked in advertising agencies on two occasions. What did I learn most of all? Everyone only boils with water.

Which topic should be given more attention?

People should remember what nature gives us. What wonderful materials you can use. For example, leather made from pineapple and cactus or jack fruit instead of meat or straws made from glass. In recent years, things have been made far too easy, far too many things have been made from plastic, even though there are alternatives such as cork leather, hemp, wood or other vegan materials.

What was the most formative moment in your life professionally?

I started my first job when I was 18 and just one week after I was accepted, I flew to Bulgaria for the first time with a colleague of the same age. We were responsible for maintaining quality there. More or less on our own. A short time later, I was often there all alone. On the one hand, it was a great trust that was placed in me. But it was definitely not a job for Cheshire cats. We had to assert ourselves daily against resolute sewing room managers in order to insist on certain standards.

But it was also formative for me to see how people live and work in Bulgaria. A whole new world has opened up for me. Bulgaria is a very poor country, even more so then than now. The contrast for a "Wälderschmelg" (Bregenzerwald girl) was great and I began to appreciate my homeland even more.

When was the first time you held cork in your hand?

The first time I worked with cork as I do now was in February 2018. Not so long ago, cork was virtually unknown to me. Of course, I knew cork as a wine stopper and as a 70s "tiled floor".

It was more by chance that I read up on the properties. I was simply amazed at how a material can have such a wealth of properties. My favorite thing about cork is that it is antimicrobial and that it absorbs and retains heat from the air.

The fact that cork is obtained from renewable bark - and that this bark can be harvested in such a way that the tree does not have to die in the process - was also decisive for me to work with it.

If you could change one thing in the world: Which one?

Especially in the area of food, much more should be learned from the ground up. Flavorings, sugar, flavor enhancers. We eat so much nonsense that makes us ill. Many people simply don't know this and you only find out if you actively deal with it. I think it would be good if this topic was taught at school.

Another issue that often concerns me is how the textile industry deals with our resources, and that it is cheaper to scrap entire containers of returns. There is simply far too much production without the necessary demand. It simply must not be the case that throwing things away is cheaper than planning better from the outset or putting things back into circulation.

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