Cromwell alumna, Kathrin Bischof (2010-2012), has recently started an Australian-inspired camping and outdoor e-commerce business in Germany. COCA caught up with Kathrin to find out more about her career and what inspired her to start her own business.
COCA: How long were you at Cromwell and what did you study?
Kathrin: I joined Cromwell halfway through first year and stayed for two and a half years, until the end of 3rd year. I had the time of my life during those years at Cromwell and made lifelong friends!
At UQ I studied a double degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) / Science (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). I chose this degree for a couple of reasons: firstly, I thought about studying medicine later on and secondly, I loved how much science broadens your mind and makes you think outside the box.
COCA: Tell us about life post-Cromwell?
Kathrin: I finished my studies at UQ whilst living with Crommie friends in St Lucia. At that time, I was working at Friday’s – a place some of you might be familiar with – to fund the travelling I did during the Uni holidays. After graduating I wasn’t sure yet what career path I wanted to pursue, but I loved travelling and had always wanted to move back to Germany where I was born, so I decided to do a Master’s in Management at ESMT in Berlin (I highly recommend this program, it’s all in English – feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested).
During the masters, I did a few internships in the Berlin start-up scene as well as consulting and then joined Bain & Company as a Management Consultant after graduation. Bain was an amazing learning experience that gave me a great toolkit to start my professional career. After two years at Bain, I took a few months off to travel South America before joining Uber as an Operations Manager to gain some more hands-on experience. Since then, I’ve moved on to start my own business, KUMPL which just launched in Germany!
COCA: What is KUMPL and why did you start a business?
Kathrin: KUMPL is an e-Commerce business for Outdoor Lifestyle, Camping, and Caravanning gear inspired by Australia. We stock high-quality and unique brands with the mission of bringing colour and style back into outdoor gear.
I started KUMPL because in Germany Camping and Caravanning is rapidly growing in popularity among millennials, but in my perspective, the current market players do not target this newly growing segment of the market. My goal is to create a brand for the young generation of campers and caravanners. A brand that they identify with, that meets their needs and offers them unique products that are not only practical and functional but also have character. KUMPL is ‘inspired by Australia’ because in Australia there is an abundance of amazing outdoor brands with unique stories to tell and a style of their own. It’s my goal to bring these awesome Aussie brands to my new home.
I decided to start my own business because I’m extremely passionate about KUMPL’s mission and I believe that it will give me another level of passion, motivation, and satisfaction. Starting a company, especially on your own, can of course be pretty tough at times but it’s also super fun and exciting! I’m also extremely lucky to have my family and partner who were very encouraging for me to take this step.
COCA: What’s next?
Kathrin: As for future plans KUMPL only just launched in Germany so for now my goal is to grow the brand and spread our mission in Germany. Hopefully, KUMPL can expand into other European countries in the future! And personally, I still love living in Europe but I try to travel back to Australia often to visit family and friends (most of which are of course ex-Crommie’s!).
If you’re considering a similar path and have any questions feel free to get in touch with me via email at email@example.com and if you’re interested in my business journey, I would love it if you follow KUMPL on Instagram and Facebook: @heykumpl