updated 19 Nov 2013, 21:19
Login password
Mon, Nov 18, 2013
Urban, The Straits Times
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
8 things in her bag: Christiane Brunk

Of the 30 Braun Buffel bags she owns, Mrs Christiane Brunk says her favourite is a simple brown satchel from the 1980s. The managing director of the German bag company says she still uses it sometimes.

"It was my very first Braun Buffel bag. It was a present from my father when I graduated from high school," she says.

The 49-year-old, who was in Singapore in September for meetings, took the reins of the family business from her father, Mr Karl-Heinz Braun, when he retired in 2005.

She has been with the company officially since 1992, but it has always been part of her life. She was seven when she helped to sort out leather pieces.

As she grew older, she spent time in her father's office, helping out with paper work after she had done her homework.

She says the brown satchel reminds her of the lessons her father taught her.

"He always reminded me to sleep on complicated problems or big decisions because the problem often looks very different the next day," says Mrs Brunk, who is married to a financial consultant. They live in Kirn, Germany.

Kirn is also where Mrs Brunk's great-grandfather, Mr Johann Braun, founded the company in 1887. It was only in the 1970s, however, that the brand started expanding internationally.

Today, Braun Buffel has 230 retail outlets in 22 countries, including Singapore, the United Kingdom, Dubai, China and Russia.

In Singapore, it has 33 retail outlets, including those at Takashimaya, Tangs and Robinsons. Its flagship store in Ion Orchard opened yesterday.

Much of the company's expansion occurred under the watch of Mrs Brunk's father.

She says he never put any pressure on her to take over the business. Likewise, she is not worried if her only child, Lina, 12, does not choose the same path. "I think you can be successful only if it's based on your choice," says Mrs Brunk, who has a master's degree in business administration.

Since taking over from her father, she has embarked on a plan to make the brand, better known for its traditional-looking business bags, more fashionable.

She brightened up the colour palette and introduced handbags in bright hues, such as green and yellow. Previously, most of the bags were only in dark colours.

Last year, Braun Buffel also started selling jackets and scarves for men and women.

As the first female head of the company, Mrs Brunk also wants to boost the profile of Braun Buffel's women's collection.

It was only in the 1980s that the company started producing women's bags. Currently, it designs an equal number of bags for men and women.

She says because of its long history in producing men's bags, women are less familiar with the brand. "In Europe, many still think we have only men's business bags," says Mrs Brunk.

She plans on organising shopping events so that women get better acquainted with their products.

"Men don't shop that much. Once they buy a bag, they'll use it for the next 10 years. It's easier to convince women," says Mrs Brunk. Although she uses only Braun Buffel bags, she says she admires the French brand Hermes for its good materials and workmanship. "Everything about Hermes is perfect," she says.

She adds: "But we are just as good."


1. Wallet

I always carry in my wallet this photo of my daughter at age seven with one of her closest friends. The boy has a serious illness, but he looks so happy here.

He reminds me that I should always be positive and happy

2. Kiehl's lip balm

It doesn't have a strong smell and gives very good protection.

3. Soventol gel

We go on a family holiday to a lake in Austria every year. It is a beautiful place that is also filled with mosquitoes. Out of habit, I always take this along as my daughter is always getting bitten.

4. Fisherman's Friend lozenges

I carry these around just in case I get a sore throat.

I prefer the ones sold in Singapore as they come in a resealable packet.

5. Paper fan

We had a really hot summer in Germany this year, so I've been carrying this fan around since. It's good for the Singapore climate too.

6. Pen holder

I'm a very organised person. I don't like to throw my pens into my bag. This pen holder is made from gaucho leather, which my father introduced into the business. Now, it's what we are known for. Anything with gaucho leather reminds me of him. He is 74 and has retired from the business.

7. Chanel lipsticks

I always carry several lipsticks in different shades so that I can use another colour if I feel like it.

8. Jour d'Hermes perfume

I think this is the best fragrance in the world. I love its floral scent.

Get a copy of Urban, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.