The WhiteWall Store in Munich | An Interview with Annika Vonjahr

Submitted by Fabian Peters on Tue, 03/01/2016 - 16:23
WhiteWall Store in Munich

With the opening of its third German store, the online photo lab WhiteWall continues to expand its multichannel strategy. It has been open since early July, giving visitors a chance to experience all of the products on the website in person. The knowledgeable team there can assist in selecting the right printing options for your own pictures. Can an online photo lab function offline? Absolutely! WhiteWall has proved this with its successful stores in Düsseldorf and Berlin. Anyone who isn’t sure which picture will look best in a specific room, or which substrate is optimal for their own photo can come seek advice from the WhiteWall experts. Using simulated images or visits to the site, the trained team analyzes the customer’s space and makes personal recommendations. In an interview, Annika Vonjahr, the WhiteWall Stores Regional Manager, spoke about the Grand Opening of the new store, what visitors can expect to find there, and what sets WhiteWall apart from other photo labs and imaging services.

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Hello, Annika! On July 3, WhiteWall opened its third German location with the WhiteWall Store in Munich. What significance does this have for the company? Annika Vonjahr: A lot! With its website, WhiteWall is already internationally established. We produce our products entirely in Germany, but ship worldwide. More and more, our customers are expressing a desire for a personal consultation. WhiteWall offers a very sophisticated range of products, and it can be very helpful to let our experts help you form a decision. This service is exactly what our stores offer. After opening a store in the Stilwerk in Düsseldorf and the one in Berlin on Oranienburger Strasse, the new store is here to meet customer needs in Munich.   The Grand Opening ceremony took place on July 18. What made that day so special? We celebrated in big style in all three stores. We made our guests in Munich feel right at home with pretzels, wheat beer, and relaxed live music while introducing them to the new store concept. There was also a lot of excitement around the prize drawing, where the winner got to have their own picture produced as a large-format photo print under acrylic glass. We had almost 500 visitors on the day! The stores in Berlin and Düsseldorf celebrated along with us, giving away wonderful, small panoramas of Munich mounted under acrylic glass.

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Image: WhiteWall

What should customers in the new store expect? What kind of atmosphere will they find there? As in every one of our stores, the store in Munich gives them the opportunity to find out more about all of the materials and products in a relaxed environment. They can expect assistance from the competent and friendly team under the direction of Store Manager Iris Förch. For the store in Munich, we reworked our previous store concept to enable customers to take a self-directed, mostly self-explanatory journey through the store. Every wall shows a step in the process of selecting the perfect products for their own pictures.

Why was Munich chosen for the new physical location? What are the advantages and significance of being there? With the store in Munich, we’ve closed the giant consultation gap in Southern Germany. Such a creative and young city with many enthusiastic photographers and agencies deserves a WhiteWall Store. Also, now our Austrian and Swiss customers won’t have to travel nearly so far for a personal consultation.

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Image: WhiteWall

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Image: WhiteWall

What has been the response to the store so far? We’re quite happy to say there has been a huge wave of excitement here! So many visitors already know about us from the website and are thrilled to have a chance to seek personal advice in Munich. We’ve heard everything from “Finally – we’ve been waiting for this for so long!” to “what a wonderful, well thought-out store – so this is what WhiteWall looks like in real life.” What makes WhiteWall different from other photo labs and imaging services? Quality, without a doubt. We are very proud of all the distinctions and awards from the photo press, which we’ve consistently won throughout the years. Working by hand is also very important to us. All of the products are handmade, come from our own photo lab, and meet the highest quality standards. We put another similar standard on our service, which we offer through a multichannel concept, such as the stores. Every day, we work with a highly emotional product. To do that, we require a team with a lot of passion, intuition, and the highest level of expertise. Having a personal contact via the store is worth its weight in gold. We have long-term customers who’ve been with us for over seven years now.

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Are the WhiteWall Stores different from each other? In Düsseldorf, Berlin, and Munich, one thing is the same in all three stores: we offer the best service to our customers through an enthusiastic and competent team that can make complicated things possible. In each store, customers will find a regional selection of works from the WhiteWall Picture World. For instance, if the customers haven’t got a photo of their own they’d like to have made, in Munich they will find the most stunning mountain panoramas, in Düsseldorf the best shots of the harbor, and in Berlin, Alexanderplatz from many different angles. For you, what have been the highlights of working at WhiteWall so far? Any funny or great experiences? As the Regional Manager, I commute between all three of the stores and experience exciting, emotional, and funny moments on a daily basis. For me, the major conventions WhiteWall attends have been especially significant. From New York to Las Vegas to the always-exciting Photokina, my teams and I are there in person. While we were in Las Vegas, we happened to meet a wedding photographer from Hamburg with whom we’d had a close business relationship for years, but had never met in person before. Even on the other side of the world, WhiteWall brings people together!

Annika Vonjahr has been the Regional Manager of the WhiteWall Stores in Germany since 2007. She is in charge of expansion, building the team, and implementing the store concept.