Theresa Haala-Hirt joined KPM Berlin as an intern twelve years ago. Today, as Head of Communications, she passes on the enthusiasm for the brand and its history - supported by a strong team of women. An article from WEISS Magazine No. 5...

In a good mood, Theresa Haala-Hirt leads the visitor to her office on the historic KPM premises in Berlin. As she passes by, she calls out to a colleague: “Congratulations!” This morning she found out that he is getting married. An individual gift is traditionally organized by the KPM family for this occasion. KPM recently had a URBINO teapot personalized for a colleague from the online department, says Haala-Hirt.

Knows KPM Berlin like the back of her hand: Theresa Haala-Hirt explains the work processes in the kiln hall

As head of the communications department and deputy marketing manager, Theresa Haala-Hirt knows pretty much all of the employees. She has been a reliable constant in the cosmos of KPM Berlin for twelve years: “Only recently did our managing director calculate that this is a third of my life,” she says. The now 36-year-old came to the Royal Porcelain Manufactory by chance. While studying business administration, she was looking for a practical business and a friend's mother arranged an interview with the head of marketing. Theresa Haala-Hirt got the job as an intern. As a Berliner, Haala-Hirt knew the brand from hearsay. And passion

for cultural assets and porcelain developed quickly: “After a colleague showed me around the factory for several hours in the first week, I felt speechless for three days - I was so impressed by this honest and authentic product and the many stories surrounding it There is something to tell about it.” She came and she stayed: After completing her studies, Theresa Haala-Hirt – at the age of 26 – immediately started a permanent job at KPM Berlin. When her superior left the factory a few months later, the former intern in the marketing department was suddenly on her own: “It was very cold water that I jumped into. But you learn quickly that way,” she remembers. In recent years, the marketing department at KPM has grown steadily. Almost only women work in the ten-person team: apart from an intern, a dual student – ​​and the boss. “He grew up with two sisters and can deal with female dominance very well,” explains Haala-Hirt with a laugh.

In addition to the strategic planning and design of communication campaigns around traditional and new products, editions and collaborations, Haala-Hirt's position includes responsibility for communication and press work. Through various channels and formats - from the classic press release to the creative launch event - she and her team ensure with passion, experience and passion that KPM enthusiasts and the KPM community are kept up to date on all the special features and news of the manufactory remain.

The great thing about KPM is that as a manufacturer we produce ourselves - locally in Berlin.

Why the team consists mainly of women? She suspects that this could have something to do with the empathy that is needed there. You have to approach the editorial teams of newspapers and magazines and maintain contacts; this requires interpersonal sensitivity, which is more common in women. Best example of Haala-Hirt: KPM Managing Director Martina Hacker. “She has a pleasant, reserved manner and asks questions when she feels something is wrong.”

Has good people at her side: Theresa Haala-Hirt between Julia Hell (Head of Art Department), Julia Möbes (Communications Manager), Nina Jäckel (Social Media Manager), Charleen Albrecht (Head of Digital Experience)

Haala-Hirt also pays attention to the mood in the team: “It is important to me that we advance the company together. I don’t believe in elbow mentality.” She rushes to her office with five colleagues. Direct exchange and short commutes are important to her: “The great thing about KPM is that as a manufacturer we produce ourselves – locally in Berlin.” There are completely different ways to get involved: “For example, if I have an idea for If I have a product, I go straight to the person who could implement it.”

Since Haala-Hirt started at KPM Berlin, not only has the marketing team become more professional, but the work has also become more professional. A lot has changed: Haala-Hirt has looked after and helped shape the customer magazine WEISS (from which this article comes) from the first issue onwards. She was able to initiate exciting collaborations with external artists for the new brand KPM+. Painters, draftsmen, industrial or product designers play with the legacy of KPM Berlin. There are almost no guidelines. The aim is to bring new facets and influences from outside into the factory. “Sometimes it’s hard to break out of the habit. You need someone with a different mindset to grow.”

Founding spirit: A colorful portrait of Frederick the Great hangs in her office

Behind Theresa Haala-Hirt's desk hangs a portrait of Frederick the Great - former owner of the Royal Porcelain Manufactory - in a pop art version. For them, it summarizes what the traditional company KPM Berlin has to achieve today: combining old craftsmanship with new creativity. “We have over 250 years of history that we carry with us with pride and respect.” Many stories about the manufactory and its work still need to be told – historical things from the archives, but also about the craftsmanship. She sees herself less as a guardian of the secrets of the great porcelain manufacturer and more as a translator. “The KPM has moved forward since 1763 – never gone back,” she says. “We don’t necessarily have to go with trends, but with the zeitgeist and (social) change.” This also includes a well-developed online presence and collaboration with social media influencers. For a few years now, young people with smartphones have been seen more frequently at press events in the factory's venerable rooms. An unusual mix that works. “We have built up a diverse network of young people who got to know the KPM and quickly grew to love it.” Just like Theresa Haala-Hirt herself when she was given a tour of the factory for the first time twelve years ago.

Text: Sandra Winkler

Images: Gene Glover