"Initially developed for the collection designed by Sebastian Herkner, the Ames online shop both showcases the products and does an excellent job telling the exciting story behind their creation. A well-designed shop that combines intelligent, authentic storytelling with a minimalistic, elegant design to provide an emotional brand experience."
These were the words used by the top-class international jury to justify giving the German Design Award 2018 to Shopware customer Ames. Since 2012, the German Design Award has been regarded as one of the most prestigious design competitions and is awarded annually to the most ground-breaking product and communication designs.
Find out who is behind the brand AMES and what makes the online shop so special in today's interview with those involved in the project:
Our interview partners:
Ana María Calderón Kayser, AMES
Ana María Calderón Kayser is the founder, CEO and creative force behind the AMES.
Sara Böhmer, achta design
Sara Böhmer is Managing Director of Shopware partner achta design, the agency responsible for the design concept and development of the AMES shop.
Ana María, just one year after setting up the AMES shop, you won the Annual Multimedia Award 2017 for digital brand communication. And now with the German Design Award 2018, AMES achta won another prestigious prize. What do you think is the reason for this success?
The AMES brand has been on the market since 2006, but we only launched the new Sala Home Collection in 2016. Shortly afterwards we decided to invest in our online shop. Together with the agency achta in Dortmund, we developed a very precise idea of what it should look like and how we could tell the exciting story of the Sala Collection with great photos.
You have been living in Germany for a few years now, but you still have deep roots in your homeland, Colombia. How is this expressed in your furniture and home accessories?
We travel with our designers to Colombia and each time we take away new impressions of the country as a basis for developing furniture and accessories. Colombia is an endless source of inspiration for our brand, something which is very apparent in our designs.
What was particularly important to you when creating your online shop?
For us, it’s important that the customer is able to recognise us and feel inspired by our company, which of course includes our origins and the meaning of our brand. Our goal is to convey this sentiment and make purchasing an AMES product as easy as possible.
Sara, your agency develops tailor-made design and branding concepts and has overseen AMES in a key way in this respect. Using AMES as an example, can you outline the things involved in building sustainable brand value?
We have been supporting AMES for several years now. In close dialogue with AMES, we have established that cultural diversity is the essence of AMES's brand, in particular the Colombian influences founder Ana María Calderón Kayser brings to the brand. achta condensed this brand essence into the claim "culture of diversity" and conveyed it in the design of the communication media. acht has therefore helped set the stage for new product development and partnerships, such as the current "AMES sala collection" by renowned product designer Sebastian Herkner.
For this collection, Sebastian Herkner and Ana María toured Colombia several times and, with the help of local "Artesanos", developed modern home accessories and furniture based on ancient, traditional craft techniques. These are a great example of Colombian culture and perfect for lovers of individual, quirky designs.
When brand communication is so authentically in line with the essence of the brand, sustainable brand value is built.
How did you manage to transfer the special brand values of AMES and Ana María's requirements to the online shop?
When designing the online shop, we put a special emphasis on storytelling and visualised what that might look like. To accompany Sebastian Herkner and Ana María's design tour through Colombia and their encounters with the "Artesanos", AMES chose photographer Andrés Valbuena to provide atmospheric photos and videos, which were then staged in emotional storytelling pages. The minimalistic, elegant online shop design that we created brings the opulent, inspiring images to the forefront of the shopping experience.
You recently became a certified Shopware partner, which of course we are very pleased about. Why do you think Shopware forms a good basis for your projects?
Shopware has a lot of benefits. Not only does it guarantee the basic shop functions, it also includes more complex storytelling features. In addition, the system offers a high degree of flexibility. This means we can concentrate on designing a brand-oriented, concise online shop which binds customers to the brand through an emotional shopping experience.
Shopware partner Webpiloten was also involved in the implementation. How exactly did you work together?
Webpiloten was involved in the conception phase in order to explore the possibilities for the shop design and develop efficient structures and individual solutions. We aimed to closely integrate the brand and design experience of achta together with Webpiloten’s considerable competence implementing Shopware projects.
A web project is never finished – it’s an ongoing project. Since the online shop was originally intended to be an extension of the existing corporate website, we designed the online shop in such a way that it replaces the corporate website and thus forms the central digital AMES brand presence, in addition to social media such as Instagram.