«Since I have never driven a car in my life but have always cycled, I know that you sometimes need strong, water-repellent, functional bags to get through life.»Markus Freitag
Who are you and where do you work?
Daniel Freitag: Studied graphic design, currently a maker of bags. Curious jack-of-all-trades, patient, investor of a great deal of thought beforehand and afterwards in my own company with a keen eye for detail. My focus as Creative Director dominates my daily tasks. My role as founder, representative and owner requires me to change my perspective on a regular basis.
Markus Freitag: Employer, fount of ideas, maker of bags, re-contextualiser of truck tarps, designer, founder, developer, representative, sometimes dabbler, cyclist, father and snowboarder. Employed since 1993 by my own company as one of two Creative Directors.
Your childhood memories?
Markus: When the community pick-up day for scrap metal came around, we would take our wagon and roam the streets collecting broken parts of bicycle wheels, which we then used to build “new” working bicycles.
Because we grew up as brothers, we had many opportunities early on to test how we worked together – including successes, failures and conflicts. Today, we still work as we used to in our bedroom. At the beginning we focus on an individual need. We then look for ideas and try to outdo one another constantly, of course. When we implement our ideas, each of us does what he intuitively does best.
When we were kids, there were always a few things on our list for Santa Claus that never arrived for some reason, so we simply went ahead using teamwork and our own materials to build those things ourselves.
Daniel: The barn and the ravine. We grew up in an old farmhouse. Behind the house there was a barn filled to overflowing with old wood, which we used to make many boyhood dreams come true building cabins, rafts and wooden racing carts.
Beside the house there was a ravine with a small forest and stream. We could disappear there and let off steam. The forest transformed itself into the Wild West, the Himalayas or the jungle as required.
Why have you become makers of bags?
Daniel: Bags are the product that we provide. However, there is more to bags than you would think. FREITAG is an exciting possibility for me to turn dreams and ideas that inspire me into reality. This was the case in 1993 and remains so today.
Markus: In 1978, our father showed us how a compost heap works and how much fun it is to think and act in terms of cycles. This gave rise to the idea that in a best-case scenario, something new and useful can be created from rubbish. Since I have never driven a car in my life but have always cycled, I know that you sometimes need strong, water-repellent, functional bags to get through life.
Since in Switzerland in 1993, you still couldn’t buy a bicycle courier bag, my brother and I decided to make some ourselves.
«FREITAG is an exciting possibility for me to turn dreams and ideas that inspire me into reality. This was the case in 1993 and remains so today.»Daniel Freitag
How is your everyday routine?
Daniel: My thoughts wake up first – and then I get up around 7:00. Any attempt to sleep in at the weekend fails by 9:00 at the latest. During weekdays, my role as a father ends at 8:46 with a 19-minute bike ride to the factory premises in Zurich Oerlikon. Designing the FREITAG brand and discussing with the team is so entertaining and exciting that I seriously wish for a nine-day week: six days of creative design work, then three days off for travelling, exercise, and meeting up with people.
Markus: I set a daily goal for myself at 8:55 and get around to implementing it by 17:55 at the latest. Up until 8:55, I read the newspaper, drink Ovomaltine, cycle or make sandwiches for my two daughters. From 18:55, I cook dinner, meet up with friends, entertain my family or am entertained by my family. Six hours of sleep is not too much but just enough.
What are your measures of success?
Daniel: I consider it a great success that our first bag design is still in our product assortment since its launch in autumn 1993 and has not lost any of its contemporariness.
What do you enjoy in your work?
Markus: I like the results, the unique products, the experiences and the constant stream of new projects, but the thing I enjoy the most is interaction and exchange with employees and business partners.
What worries arise during a normal day’s work?
Markus: The only real worry is that the day is too short to deal with everything.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Daniel: Anyone who takes a serious look at the topic of sustainability quickly realises that it has nothing to do with short-term thinking. There are sensible, short-term ecological measures that can be implemented but many things must be considered from a holistic and long-term perspective. I am convinced that such an approach is essential for the environment and for society and that these strategies will also take hold on a wider scale.
Which personal qualities do you need as one of the FREITAG Bros.?
Markus: Remaining true to yourself, which means keeping both feet firmly on the ground, taking a new look at ever-changing contexts and situations, not losing sight of the big picture and delegating as much as possible.