She lived in Frankfurt for six years. By the end she felt like Heidi, the girl who missed her beloved mountains. “But I come from Lower Bavaria, where you can only see the Alps when the foehn wind is really strong”, laughs Sonja Ragaller. Out of this feeling of homesickness and a longing for nature and a slower lifestyle, she founded ALMLIEBE in 2012 together with her sister Stefanie.
Although Sonja Ragaller was a journalist at a print magazine until founding the shop, she’s no stranger to the industry: the sisters grew up with their parents’ fashion retail business in Lower Bavaria, with its own traditional clothing department. The ALMLIEBE online shop as well as the whole logistics division are also handled through their fashion boutique. In addition to their online shop, the sisters currently run stores in Passau and Pocking as well as in Munich, the latter of which Sonja personally manages. Alongside her work in store, Sonja takes care of marketing and PR whilst Stefanie is in charge of figures and finances. Important decisions are made together as a team. A future dream: another new store in Austria.
In their shop, the sisters supply traditional clothing and alpine fashion. They believe in the importance of combining tradition and modernity, so they also try to incorporate fashionable influences into their traditional clothing, without it being too harsh or to tacky. “We avoid artificial glitter and bling, but we’re also not strict traditionalists.”
The target audience is relatively young, but older customers also visit ALMLIEBE. In the shop, customers can find brands such as Gottseidank, CocoVero or Wenger. “At our store, 18-year-olds buy girlie hoodies printed with Bavarian sayings by Bavarian Couture, and 50-year-olds buy beautiful skirts from the skirt-maker in Ammersee,” explains Ragaller. Above all, she says that high-necked Dirndls and traditional cotton fabrics are in particularly high demand at the moment. Men are just as likely to invest in expensive Meindl lederhosen as in alpine-inspired sneakers. “In general, customers come to us who want something timeless, high-quality and connected to their home region.”
Finding a name for the shop looked to be a little more difficult and was the subject of intense discussion within the family for nights on end. “It wasn’t easy to find a good name which also still had a domain available,” recalls Sonja Ragaller. “At present we’re still very happy with the name, which is perceived not only as a shop name but also as a brand.”