Frauke Finnern-Bräuchle – German pioneer

Frauke Finnern-Bräuchle started working with Sjöbergs more than 40 years ago, becoming instrumental to putting our brand on the German map. Her retirement on March 31, 2024, is hardly the end; it’s merely the beginning of a new chapter at her workbench in her home.

Frauke first got to know Sjöbergs in the 1970s when working at the Swedish Trade Secretary Office in Düsseldorf and helping Swedish companies establish themselves on the German market.

– The prognosis for Sjöbergs was great, and we cooperated more and more, she says.

Mutual interest led to Frauke joining Sjöbergs in Germany in 1981.

– Back then, women weren’t common in the business. Sometimes I would be met with skepticism. That fortunately changed. In a way, being woman was an advantage; Sjöbergs got a very distinct – and different – profile. I was never afraid to step up and do whatever was required to demonstrate the functions and qualities of the workbenches. Sometimes you just have to get down on the floor!

She smiles and continues:

– The lack of women wasn’t all that surprising. When I was at school, it was strictly segregated: girls did needlework and boys did carpentry. Old habits took time to change. When I joined Sjöbergs, I’d of course seen a workbench, but had no idea how to really use it. So, I had to read up properly! Fortunately, the support from my colleagues was fantastic.

When speaking about our workbenches, Frauke’s enthusiasm is unmistakable.

– I’ve always felt good about it because of the genuine quality. Our products last a lifetime, and can even pass down to the next generation. It’s something to be proud of.

She also lights up when she recalls the triumph of Sjöbergs receiving the grade “Gut” (meaning “good” in German) from Stiftung Warentest, the consumer organization that, among other things, conducts various product surveys.

– It made many discover us. And the test was “only” conducted on one of our simplest workbenches!

For the first two decades, Frauke cooperated mainly with central purchasing associations representing the small ironmongers that used to be located in the middle of every town. Now DIY chains are in focus. Although the market has changed radically, she strongly believes in the continued future of the joy of creation.

– Not least in a troubled world, security and calm are important.

Frauke lovingly calls Sjöbergs “her baby” and she has seen us grow up to be a strong presence in Germany. However, from April 1st, she has more time to herself. Did she think she would clock up nearly 50 years with the same employer?

– Who could have guessed that! But the job has been so varied and fun with all the development, people, and meetings. And Sjöbergs made it possible to continue my career when I had children in the 80s. Today, home offices are commonplace, but back then we were pioneers when we placed the German sales office in my and my husband’s villa. Of course, technology has also made work easier, in 1978 telex was state of the art…

Frauke kicked off her career at Sjöbergs with a fair in Cologne. Holz-Hantverk in Nuremberg on 19–22 March 2024 was her grand finale with visitors popping by to meet her and her successor Maria Häggbom-Potter. This however wasn’t the end of the legend’s relationship with Sjöbergs workbenches.

– I’ve got an Elite 1500 at home, which hasn’t been used to the extent it deserves. Now I’m going to muster up the courage and sign up for a wood sculpture course.

We look forward to the results, Frauke, and many thanks for everything you’ve done so far.

Creative news to your inbox

Would you like news, inspiration and promotional offers straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Vilket nyhetsbrev är du intresserad av?