1997 - The beginning
Once a freelancer - a freelancer forever. That's how I might describe the beginning of Jahn Grafix. After finishing my studies at Munich University - there was just one question: What's next? Actually - that question was just hypothetical because deep inside I already knew the answer. During college I worked in creative jobs and I also attended market and advertising psychology as subsidiary subject. My former girlfriend (who now is my wife) had been working in an advertising agency for years. So - the answer to "what's next" was obvious: Stick to it!
No sooner said than done. In November 1997 I got my trade license and opened my own advertising agency. The only thing still missing was a company name. It should contain my name - so Jahn was the first part. But it should also contain something describing my benefits and what I'm doing. Mostly I was working on graphics. So the term Grafix came up. Containing both the word "graphics" but also the term "fix" - which is a colloquial german word for "fast". Because I have been really fast in what I have been doing. The company was born: Jahn Grafix. And the first office was: the desk at home.
The early days
Though it might be unusual for a newbie: The business was doing well, especially in the earky days. Having worked while still studying brought up jobs and customers - and soon the workload was too big for just one man. So what happened next was a logical consequence: The one-man-show turned into a dynamic duo: In 1998 Alexandra Jahn quit her job at the other agency and joined Jahn Grafix.
1999 - The expansion
Who dares wins. Or not. Nobody could tell in advance. The order situation was excellent and there were opportunities to generate some new business. And the office at home was already about to be bursting at the seams. So chances were good that it might work out the way we wanted: Expansion. We moved the office from home to a new, representative office, which belonged to a business partner, who also promised some new business. That just didn't happen. The first few months everything was fine, until the New Economy collapsed. This fact also caused some financial trouble for our biggest customer. They cut the complete budget down to nothing. Promised projects were cancelled, nothing followed. But high office rents, ancillary labor costs, and insurance costs stayed. Plus we were bound to the rental agreement for three years. Jahn Grafix was about to drown in a river of red ink, with empty accounts, and no projects coming up.
2002 - Moving again ...
We had to take some action - otherwise the business was dead. We had to cut costs. A bigger appartment was available right on time in the house in which we were living. So shortly before the rental agreement was to be discontinued, we were allowed to cancel the contract. We started to move again: From the old appartment to the new one. The office came back home. This meant that costs were reduced already - but not enough. We needed to save some more money. So I did what not every man can do at ease: I fired my wife! (Don't worry, we are still happily married). That helped to reduce costs a lot, because I didn't have to pay the ancillary labor costs anymore. And the debt was already killing us.
The following years were hard, we had a long way to go. But still Jahn Grafix is alive. We are still suffering finacially from those bad years - and it will definately take some more time. But we managed to survive. And the business started to recover. Working endless hours started to pay off. Just following one directive: Getting back on top again ...
2006 - One more time: Moving!
This time it was more then just changing appartments: We moved from the big city to a small village. One reason again was finance: Rent levels went up again - and paying about 1,500 euros for just 3 rooms seemed to be a little expensive. Plus we knew that elsewhere we would be able to get a whole house with a garden for less money. So we packed all our stuff and moved to a small, pleasant village called Ampfing, located about 80km east of Munich. And we moved into a house with garden. My wife was happy. The dog was happy. I was too.
Here work continues. And the fight back to the top goes on. Here I can concentrate on creativity again.
After settling down in Ampfing, work continued. The relationship to the existing customers got even closer. Some new customers were found and smaller projects have been completed. The collaboration with the existing partners - especially with Frauke Knüttel and fk marketingservice - has become more intense. That's why fk marketingservice and Jahn Grafix decided to join forces and communicate their collaboration - along with other partners - to the wide public and founded a partnership called "The Cells". To show everyone what this collaboration can do. And that we can compete with mid-size and even big agencies in some fields. Details can be found at www.the-cells.com .