By the Engel & Völkers Team
Growing up in an unassuming Bavarian village, Delia Fischer could not have imagined one day founding and owning one of Europe’s most successful e-commerce platforms, today active in 11 countries, employing 1,200 people and reaching one million consumers each year. In 2011 when Fischer was an editor at ELLE Magazine, she realized there was an abundance of robust, inspiration-based fashion retailers, yet a deep market need for the same in interior design. Thus, the birth of Westwing: the curated, online retailer for all things beautiful in interior design and furniture.
Delia Fischer pictured in her Munich home
The next minute, with a steadfast vision and nothing to lose, Fischer found herself quitting her nine-to-five to embark on an ambitious journey to create the ultimate “shoppable interior design magazine” that would revolutionize the furniture shopping experience for consumers. In just a few months, Fischer recruited her acquaintance and experienced business consultant Stefan Smalla to come on board, attracted 20 additional employees and secured fundraising from a Munich venture capital firm. Today, growing worldwide but still based in Munich, Westwing is a publicly listed company boasting annual sales of 220 million euros.
Of course, Fischer and her company’s current success didn’t come with growing pains. With unprepared market readiness abroad forcing some international office closures, and all company employees—as well as Fischer’s dad—once finding themselves scrambling in the warehouse to fill rush-orders during a busy holiday season, Fischer remained determined as ever.
Even after securing her company’s first round of financing, nay-saying businessmen would still discourage her, her vision and beauty product-loving disposition, but she was resolute that female leaders do not need to compromise femininity for business acumen or strong leadership. To this day, more women than men hold management positions at Westwing than the industry average, simply attributing this to a focus on expertise. Employing people from a range of 40 countries and serving a global consumer base, Westwing engages the help of 100 scouts to constantly seek out and stay on top of new trends and up-and-coming brands in locations the company services. And you can bet Fischer never stops scrolling through Instagram, always searching for #inspo.
“If you have an idea you really believe in, it’s always worth taking a chance on it.” - Delia Fischer
Read more in the latest issue of GG Magazine.