EASTER EGGS Each specimen has its own challenge. By Katja Winter (text), Lucas Bäuml (photos)
No Easter without bunnies. And no Easter without eggs. But if you think it always just has to be chicken eggs that you delicately hang on bushes, you're wrong. It can also be larger. At least with Michelle Kramer. The trained fashion designer from Neu-Isenburg was at a trade fair six years ago, at the time on behalf of her parents' jewelry business, when a woman asked for certain stones to decorate her ostrich eggs. Kramer couldn't help her, but glanced over at the customer, who had a stand nearby. “I will never forget this moment,” remembers the fifty-year-old. After years in the jewelry business, she was looking for a new challenge anyway. And when I saw the robust ice cream in XXL format, the new perspective suddenly appeared.
Since then, she has been running the “Ei-nzigartig” label, only part-time and since last year full-time. She runs the company together with her husband Frank, who is responsible for sales. Her creations range from naturalistic rabbit drawings covered with fine, silvery powder to florally decorated rabbit heads to stylish “rabbit models” designed in the style of well-known designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier or fashion icon Iris Apfel - whereby These models can actually decorate an Easter bouquet, as they come from rhea or goose and are therefore significantly smaller than their ostrich counterpart. But the goose version is still larger than a chicken egg. She gets the rhea eggs from a private keeper in Darmstadt. There she can also be sure that the animals are well cared for, as she says. In terms of size, they are somewhere between a goose and an ostrich. Kramer likes to use the specimens for designs with rooster feathers or the colorful feathers of the king pheasant.
At the beginning it was difficult to gain a foothold with her creations. But she has built up an expanded customer base through Instagram - together with another designer with whom she regularly exchanges ideas and supports her. Both provide decoration ideas that can be realized with their products. Kramer contributes the ostrich eggs, and her colleague Debora from “Drosselbart-Design” makes unusual wreaths in which the egg can simply be draped. The designer from Neu-Isenburg knows that social media channels are a difficult place to be. Creative exchange is all the more important to her. Delivering ideas and inspiration is Kramer's concept.
Spiced up: Easter bunnies like on the catwalk. But classic motifs are still popular. Lucas Bäuml
Things are now going well for “Ei-nzigartig”. There are days when she works from eight in the morning until midnight to design all the eggs. On average, she receives two orders a day. If a design is particularly well received on Instagram, then 30 eggs can be ordered in one weekend. She processes around 50 rhea eggs a year and around 700 ostrich eggs. She has now developed a certain routine. Things looked completely different at the beginning.
It sometimes took two weeks until the design was placed on the egg exactly as she had imagined, as Kramer says. Now it depends on how many layers are applied until the egg is finished. It doesn't always have to be her own designs that she realizes. She also processes special orders. She recently designed a “KISS” egg for customers. She can also transfer photos to an egg.
You can see in her creations that she comes from the fashion industry. In addition to rabbits and the like, she sends long-legged models in Coco Chanel or Dior looks onto the oval area. This may not fit on every Easter table, but the creations are always an eye-catcher. And not just in spring. “I work with eggs all year round,” says the designer. In the fall, their ostrich eggs are made into lamps. Then Kramer pulls out her Dremel. A hole is drilled in the bottom and enlarged to accommodate the cable. She later drills holes in different patterns into the egg “for a nice lighting effect.” Important: The egg must first be completely free of the skin, otherwise it will be visible when you turn on the light. Preparing the eggs like this is time-consuming. A work that is then reflected in the price: the Neu-Isenburger woman charges 199 euros for a lamp, and a decorated ostrich egg costs 59 euros.
Sometimes simple, sometimes playful: you can obviously do more with eggs than you think. Especially with some decoration. Lucas Bäuml
She doesn't reveal how she achieves her art. Just this much: it's a bit reminiscent of napkin technology. So she draws the fashion bunnies on a digital pad, the design is later revised on the computer until the style fits. Depending on the design, add appropriate colors and patterns. Then the rabbits are given tweed. The whole thing goes into the printer and is then transferred to the egg. Kramer pays close attention to ensuring that the designs have their own signature and are not too close to the designs of well-known fashion brands. “I don’t want to mess with the big labels,” she laughs.
She gets her ostrich eggs from suppliers in Africa, among others. She continues to support them, although there are now also providers from Germany. Many ostrich farms do not preserve the eggs whole. The contents of the egg are processed there, including ostrich egg liqueur, or scrambled eggs and cakes with ostrich eggs are made in the attached cafés, as Kramer says. Apparently a trend. “One egg replaces 25 chicken eggs.” In addition, ostrich eggs are very low in histamine and cholesterol.
She doesn't run out of ideas. Her latest project is decorated shells. She is also thinking about making decorations for the Christmas tree, among other things. In the future, she wants to pre-produce individual objects that were in particularly high demand. This means they can ship faster and absorb production peaks. You could also imagine using beautifully grained turkey eggs or swan eggs. Only chicken eggs, they probably won't be on her table in the future either.