Épique co-founder Eva Johnston
photo: Épique

Épique: Snack Without a Guilty Conscience

Healthy snacking – nothing short of that is promised by the two Épique founders, Eva and Dirk Johnston. The two tell us more about what exactly raw pâtisserie is and where they aim to go with their business idea in our interview.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!

Épique: We are Dirk (34) and Eva Johnston (30), we both studied musical theater and were also actors for several years. We’d like to tell you about how we met in a nutshell.

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The two founders Eva and Dirk Johnston in their shop on Max-Weber-Platz. (Photo: Épique)

“A Scotsman and a Dutch woman meet on stage in Stuttgart playing Mamma Mia. She is playing the main character, Sophie, and he is her lover Sky. What began as super chemistry on stage soon sparked something more off the stage just a few months later.”

How we met could not be more of a cliché! 

In 2017, we moved from Amsterdam to the German Alps. After one month of changing to a vegan diet, we created raw pâtisserie for the first time. We thought the little flavor explosions were so epic that we wanted to share them with everyone. That’s how we came up with the crazy idea to go into business for ourselves and found a food startup.

Healthy snacking with vegan raw cakes

Munich Startup: What problem is your startup solving?

Épique: On the one hand, our sweet and vegan cakes satisfy that urge for sweets in a healthy way and, on the other hand, get rid of those guilty feelings after eating an unhealthy sugar bomb. There are very few sweets and baked goods that you can enjoy on a healthy diet. 

We solve that problem with our super tasty, vegan, certified organic raw cakes that we create and produce in our own manufacturing facilities. The raw cakes can be enjoyed in moderation with a clear conscience, and a slice a day even contributes to a healthy diet. We call that Épique!

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

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Vegan, certified organic raw cakes made by Épique. (Photo: Épique)

Épique: Yes and no – organic cakes do exist, but our raw pâtisserie is absolutely unique in Germany, which means we’ve

entered totally uncharted territory and there really is nothing that can be compared with our slices. 

“Raw food movement” not a common concept in Germany

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

Épique: One of the biggest challenges for us was selling product “X” on the German market that didn’t exist yet and, especially, that no one knew about, which required a lot of explanation and patience in the beginning. 

This made marketing a big challenge for us, because in contrast to places like Australia, the “raw food movement” isn’t a common concept in Germany. So when you talk about cakes or bars, most people assume they’re baked. But everything we make is processed raw, which is why we decided to go with raw pâtisserie – and it just sounds better than something like uncooked cakes.

So we had this fantastic product and we knew people would love it – but then we found out that starting a company in Germany isn’t easy, not to mention a startup in the food industry. After founding the company in 2019, it took almost an entire year until we were able to start selling our products. But we also had startup consultation services that helped us overcome all of the obstacles.

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Épique’s packaging is made of recycled paper. (Photo: Épique)

Challenge number three were the logistics, because we wanted to deliver our beautifully crafted raw pâtisserie frozen across Germany so our customers can enjoy the slices for a really long time. Our aim was to make it sustainable and still affordable. We found fantastic sustainable packaging made of recycled paper, we deliver using dried ice and the shipment is delivered to our customers within 24 hours with Go Express.

Product development is underway

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?

Épique: The end of December 2021 was the launch of our online delivery across Germany and something that is definitely planned for this year is that we want to expand our raw pâtisserie even further in Germany.

In five years, we want Épique to be known throughout Germany as a brand for sustainable, healthy and tasty organic sweets. We would also like to add more products to our raw pâtisserie and are currently working on product development with lots of new ideas.

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

Épique: We both grew up in and near Munich, lived here for longer periods of time and just love it here. Munich is the perfect location for us and our startup because our product is unique here and we’ve been welcomed with open arms so far. The feedback that we get in our shop on Max-Weber-Platz is absolutely fantastic. 

Munich Startup: Risk or security?

Épique: Two foreigners start a company right before the first corona lockdown – I would say risk all the way, which it was for us, because our actual customers had to close down first, so we were able to develop more ideas.

We’ve always had to play the risk card up to now, because there’s no security to rely on at the moment as a startup.

Simon Tischer

Seit Dezember 2015 schreibt Simon Tischer für Munich Startup. Vorzugsweise berichtet er über Studien, Hintergründe und von Veranstaltungen. Er studierte Soziologie an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München.

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