Discover Germany, Issue 44, November 2016

Page 34

Discover Germany | Special Theme | Children’s Universe

Rainer Brang’s children – the inspiration for Hörbert.

Music and stories make children smile – especially with the right player Many children love to dance to a tune or sit silently while a story is played. With this in mind, Hörbert is the ideal portable player for children. Built of wood with large colourful buttons it allows children from a very young age to navigate through nine playlists without their parents’ help. TEXT: JESSICA HOLZHAUSEN I COPYRIGHT: WINZKI GMBH & CO. KG, PHOTOS: RUEDIGER SCHESTAG

Hörbert’s origin lies in personal experience of developer Rainer Brang, who once tried to buy a music player for his son after the family had first experimented with their stereo system that was highly impractical because they often had to run to change CDs. But soon the young father discovered that there were no products on the market suitable for small children that met his high expectations. Therefore, he started a DIY project and developed Hörbert: a player with a wooden casket and colourful buttons that are used to control nine playlists stored on a digital memory card. “I had this idea, because our then two and a half-year-old son could not read yet, but 34 | Issue 44 | November 2016

listening and zapping between titles was no problem at all.” What started out as a fun project for his own children and those of neighbours and relatives, soon could no longer be handled by Rainer Brang alone. After a further 14 months of development a new business was born. Five years later, the personal touch and fun aspect still exist, even though the company now counts 15 people, most are parents themselves. A flexible work schedule allows employees to combine work and private life and “this greatly influences atmosphere and motivation”, says Brang. “Only this

morning an employee brought a cake to our joint breakfast – shaped like Hörbert!” When buying Hörbert, the first audio files are already installed so that children can start listening without delay. “We got in contact with small publishing houses to find the right high-quality content matching the overall high-quality demands of our company,” says Brang. Today the company has sold more than 7,000 Hörbert players and gets a great deal of direct feedback. “We are very lucky; which other firm gets pictures sent of happy children with the company’s product?” Families often listen to the pre-installed titles for months before children start asking for new stories parents then can install themselves. Hörbert can therefore grow with its young owners.