As Part of my series about ”Exceptional Female Leaders” I had the pleasure of interviewing H.H. Princess Maja von Hohenzollern. Princess Maja today is the internationally best-known member of the Royal Family of Hohenzollern. The house of Hohenzollern/ Prussia is one of the oldest and most important noble families in Europe and represented the former emperor of Germany. H.H. Princess Maja von Hohenzollern is a modern designer for Interior, lifestyle, pet and children’s products.
The brand is successfully presented with different collections in 80 countries on the international market. Princess Maja von Hohenzollern was honored as best designer with the “ASIA DESIGN AWARD GOLD” in Shanghai/China.
For her global commitment to animal welfare H.H. Princess Maja von Hohenzollern was awarded with several important international awards. She lives with more than 100 animals, like dogs, cats, rabbits and even a donkey that she has rescued and adopted from the street and brutal killing centers.
Out of respect and love for animals and humans, as well as for the environment Princess Maja is vegan.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I studied theater, film, and media sciences and a degree in real estate. I have worked for many years in the real estate industry and as a Head of Key Account Manager Europe for large international telecommunication companies. In addition, I spent a couple of years working in the media industry, writing for newspapers, developing TV concepts, and presented my own broadcasts on TV. I am a very creative person, with many new products and a good feeling for target groups, trends, and new markets. In addition, I like to draw, decorate, photograph, write, cook and do handicrafts. That’s why I’ve always wanted to design and market my own product lines because it’s where I can best use my strengths and talents together, such as creativity for new products, feeling for trends and markets, my experience in communications, PR, and marketing.
So I started to develop my own collections under my name and licensed brand “Princess Maja von Hohenzollern.” As a result, today’s collections by Princess Maja von Hohenzollern for home- decoration, carpets, pet accessories, children’s products, and fashion are successfully presented in 80 countries on the international market.
I am working with license partners, I develop the designs and the story/philosophy of the collections and do the PR, and the licensee does the production, distribution, and logistics.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
My pet collection for “furry prince & princesses” was presented at the “Asia Pet Fair” in Shanghai/China for the first time. There were so many exhibitors from all Asian countries packed in 10 huge halls full of new and interesting products, and I wasn´t sure if even anyone would notice my pet collection, as it was the first time for me there. After two days, I just noticed a design contest there and that my collection had been selected. But I was just too busy at the fair that I didn’t pay attention to it, and my expectations weren’t high. One day later, people around me started getting very hectic, and a Chinese loudspeaker was screaming my name (what sounds funny). Finally, I won the Design Award and was very surprised and of course very happy! Also very funny was that someone from the fair team announced an autograph session with me and that people could come to my fair booth and could take photos with a “Princess from Germany.” Suddenly crowds of people stormed to our booth, and I did selfies and autographs for hours with hundreds of people and with many Chinese poodles with pink hair and other funny decoration. It was overwhelming and far over my expectations. The Chinese people were extremely friendly, humorous, and have great respect for the country’s culture and what these people have achieved.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
For centuries, the beautiful castles of the nobility are admired. Unique architecture, precious furniture, fine tableware, and exquisite art have been arranged here timelessly beautiful and fascinate worldwide. Kings and princesses have always had a unique lifestyle and excellent taste. Therefore many people still dream of a life in the castle, and many women and children dream of a princess life. They like to look and to dress like a princess, and of course, every woman and every little girl deserves to be treated like a princess 🙂
This dream can come true with products designed by Princess Maja von Hohenzollern. I am a modern Princess, and I create very authentically classy and royal products for little and adult princesses. This makes my brand very unique with a unique selling proposition.
Also, the market potential is very high, as nearly everybody in the world knows what a “Princess” is. The fairy tales about princesses are translated into all languages and cultures around the world. Many products fit very well to a princess and my licensed brands, like fashion, shoes, furniture, cosmetics, jewelry, children’s products, and more. As I am a modern Princess, I also would love to sport wear and more vegan collections.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I just built up the company together with my business partner. It is the most valuable thing to have an absolutely loyal and trustworthy person next to you.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, I am! 2018 was already an exciting year, as I have launched my vegan carpet –collection. Also, my home decoration collection by Princess Maja von Hohenzollern (Goebel) with cups, plates, vases, lamps, watches in a very modern and elegant black & white design and finest porcelain quality.
I am working on my new Royal Bath — Collection by Princess Maja von Hohenzollern (Puris), presented in September 2018 at the M.O.W. fair in Germany. I designed some very classy bathroom furniture of high quality. I spent a lot of attention on a balanced man-woman –design, as the bathroom furniture should work for everyone and give you a comfortable feeling, like in a luxury hotel. My Royal Bath Collection will also be vegan and certificated.
See my collections: www.prinzessinvonhohenzollern.com.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I am in animal welfare for 15 years, and I have rescued and adopted many animals from dogs, cats and rabbits over donkeys and even a boar. I am traveling to many countries like Romania or Ukraine to stop the killing of stray dogs. I initiated many petitions and peaceful protests to protect animals; I spoke to politicians and governments to approve animal rights laws and stop the abuse. I even spoke before the EU Parliament, built veterinary clinics, did many neuter & release actions, and even assisted at the surgeries. I live with more than 100 pets that I have all saved and adopted from the street’s horrible killing centers. Beyond them are many old, blind and handicapped pets. In Romania, I achieved great success, because together with my animal welfare friends over there, I could implement animal protection classes as a compulsory subject in schools. It´s called “EDUXANIMA-Program,” and I hope it will be adopted from other countries too. I am an ambassador of PETA and the face of several PETA campaigns. That´s why I designed my pet accessories collection for “furry Prince & Princess” because I have saved so many dogs and cats that have been tortured and had suffered so much. The moment I rescued them, I always promised that I would provide the best life I can for them; they should live like “furry Prince & Princess.” The pet accessories collection by Princess Maja von Hohenzollern (Trixie) is donated a part to animal welfare projects from every product sold. We could support many international projects for animals in need with this.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
Many books inspired me, like Ocean Warrior by Paul Watson, books about Buddhism, History, or philosophy.
What are your “5 Tips I wish someone told me before I started my company,” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
I knew before what it meant to be self-reliant, to work independently and constantly. I was prepared and had no illusions. I knew I had to give all my passion and power to run my own business. I did not realize that many business people at the management level today do not really identify with the company they work for. There are some who, like mercenaries, change company every two years and are unfamiliar with the company’s products or target group. This often makes it difficult to negotiate as a creative person with a good product idea with a number-” watchdog” who has no relation or emotion to the company he works for. But thanks God, there are also many others! 🙂
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world or the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
I would love to go for breakfast with Richard Branson as he is such a visionary guy and invests in plant-based products and beliefs that there will be no need to kill animals for meat in a couple of years. Then I would like to drive by car with James Corden, who I love for his great humor, and he can drive me to lunch with Miley Cyrus. She is remarkable because she has also been campaigning for animal welfare and a vegan lifestyle for years. She is not only a great talent, but she has such a big heart for animals too. And for dinner, I would love to go with Leonardo DiCaprio, as I really adore him, because he is fighting against climate change and veganism for so long in a very consequent way. Also, I would love to meet Ellen DeGeneres and Jared Leto. I need a 10-course menu. 🙂 And of course, everybody interested in cooperating with my licensed brand “Princess Maja von Hohenzollern” is most welcome! : )
Marco: Thank you so much for joining us. This was indeed inspirational!
Originally published at medium.com