Interview: Sandy Saffeels – Shop Owner and Film Editor

Sandy Saffeels

Name: Sandy Saffeels
Place of residence: Munich, Germany
Age: 46
Profession: Shop Owner (Saffeels) and Film Editor
Food: Lunch @ Embassy of Dreams
Transportation: Whatever is appropriate

Sandy Saffeels, half American half German, mother of two grown up daughters, is well known in the Munich and German film industry, where she worked for the last 20 years as a respected film editor on several feature films for cinema, television as well as commercials. Sandy is also known amongst her friends for taking adventures (which brought her on a rally with a fire truck as far as dusty Mongolia) and for tackling new challenges and living out her dreams. One dream that came up a couple of years ago was opening a shop of her own offering exquisite and rare things that she came in touch with during her stays in New York. After some time of trying to ignore this heart’s desire, she has now plunged into this dream again and opened up her shop for dresses and eyewear in Munich.

You lived in New York for a while working as a film editor. What are some of the films you have edited?
The film I was working on in New York was called Adam Resurrected and is about a Holocaust survivor who was a performer before, during and after his time living in the concentration camp. Jeff Goldblum brilliantly plays Adam, who lived in the camp as the dog of Kommandant Klein and later is the ring leader in an asylum in Israel for Holocaust survivors. Working with director Paul Schrader, known amongst other things for his screenplays for Taxi Driver and “Like a Raging Bull”, was an exciting adventure and pleasure.

Other projects I have worked on here in Germany have been very diverse and I have been so lucky to have edited every genre from comedy to drama, thrillers to family entertainment.

What kind of day–jobs have you had in the past?
I have done all sorts of jobs, like working as a waitress, secretary, selling time-share vacation homes in Lanzarote, translating scripts. You could probably set me in any kind of environment I would find something to do.

What inspired you to open your own fashion shop?
Eight years ago a friend of mine stayed at my place because he was in town selling his fashion to shops. Since I had some time available I supported him in finding people to whom he could offer his collection. I found myself very intrigued with this profession and dreaming of how my possible shop would look. After dismissing the idea over and over again out of reasonable reasons like: “The economy is dead” and “You are a film editor not a sales person!” the idea kept popping into my mind. I put off opening a shop and decided to go after other dreams first. So one summer I went on a rally to Mongolia in a fire truck, which we donated in Ulan Bator, the next year I acted on stage in a play for several weeks and the biggest adventure yet was still to open my shop. I knew that the things one regrets most in life are the things you never did, so here I am – I’ve opened my own shop and to top it off it has my own name: Saffeels’

What’s the best and worst thing about running a fashion shop in Munich and how did you know it was the right time to go entirely on your own?
There is no worst part – only when I start doubting my own choices. In those moments life is generally worse than – fill in the blank.

The best part is the variety of people that I get to meet and since I am a very lucky person, the people that come into my shop are great! I LOVE finding the perfect pair of glasses or the perfect dress for someone. Of course sometimes we have to test a couple of mismatches, but as soon as you find a match the glow on a clients face lets you know you did everything perfectly. Of course I can’t always please everyone, but for me it’s like shooting the winning goal when a client finds exactly the item that makes him happy, which is not always what he originally expected when he or she came in.

As far as knowing if it was THE right time: I can’t know. But NOW is always the right time. And I didn’t do it alone. My family and friends supported me all the way! The shop design was done by Heike Lange and Benedikt Gahl, who are very dear friends with loads of talent and passion for their work.

Sandy Saffeels

How do you chose your collection?
I have a lot of help with that. My friends Stanton Blackmer and Ken Finneran of Fabulous Fanny’s in New York City taught me all I know about eye wear and gave me great contacts. I can’t wait until the day I pick glasses at flea markets in Italy and get to say “The crazier, the better!” In Munich I still need to keep my selection a little less wild and crazy, as the city is still a little more conservative in regards to fashion. But I have plenty for the occasional client that is looking for fun, wild designs.

Also my fashion friend Armin Lange in Berlin (Ternderloin) and I often talk about which dresses work best in his or my shop. We compare ideas and we both get excited about how sexy women can look when they wear the certain styles.

One of the most important aspects in selecting what will end up at Saffeels’ is uniqueness. I can’t compete with the chains down town or the online shops and I don’t want to. Things that I sell have to be tried on. I wouldn’t buy any of my dresses without having tried them on first and I don’t expect my clients would either. So if I want people to find their way to my shop I want to make it worth their time.

Why do you think people get so passionate about fashion and accessories?
That’s a great question! Fashion and accessories enhance beauty and nothing can ignite our passion as much as beauty. As an example you could use the sunset – nothing has ever been photographed as often as the sun going down with all it’s colors and patterns in the sky. You just can’t resist but take a look. Automatically you slow down and are often returned to the moment, forgetting your to-do lists. It’s the beauty and pleasures in life and taking time to enjoy them – even in small things – that recharge our batteries.

Sandy SaffeelsSandy Saffeels

What words would you use to describe the “character” of your Shop Saffeels’?
It’s different and fun. People often say that they’ve never seen anything like it, others say that everything in the shop seems to have a story to tell. Best would be if you decide for yourself.

What do you do when you’re not working in the shop?
I spend time with my partner Benedict and my daughter Ayla. I love rock climbing and love attending transformational workshops where I practice living in the moment and not in my thoughts.

I also still edit films. Momentarily I work on commercials that only keep me away from the shop for a day or so at a time.

Where are you headed? What are you currently pursuing and/or what isn’t there yet that you’re interested in making happen?
For now I am pursuing the success of my shop and I have no idea when the next idea will pop up, but knowing me, it won’t take long for that to happen.

What advice do you have for people that want to open their own fashion shop?
Don’t listen to too much advice!

Lastly, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have absolutely no idea! ❚