Here at the hörbert team, we are strong advocates of values such as longevity and repairability in products. With hörbert, our wooden music box for children, we promote an environmentally responsible approach to electronics. Our motto is: wood instead of plastic, high-quality materials that can be replaced if necessary, so that the MP3 player can be repaired instead of being discarded.
You can imagine our delight when a few weeks ago we received an email from Gerhard Meudt of “Bierstadt Repaired” from Wiesbaden. Mr. Meudt had received a 2011 model hörbert for repair and wanted to exchange some information with us.
Discovering that “Bierstadt Repaired” is a voluntary initiative that repairs household appliances and other everyday use devices on a donation basis, we were immediately impressed. We gladly provided technical advice and the needed spare part for this fantastic initiative.
The hörbert was restored by the team at “Bierstadt Repaired” and handed back to the satisfied customers.
What is “Bierstadt repairs”?
We were naturally eager to learn more about this voluntary organization. Below is a brief excerpt from our telephone interview with Gerhard Meudt on 24th July 2023:
hörbert: Mr. Meudt, it’s lovely to have you and your team get to know our hörbert.
Meudt: Exactly, we hadn’t known about hörbert before. The team and I were immediately impressed by the wooden casing. It was so neat and precisely crafted. It’s great to see that there are still devices that can be repaired.
hörbert: Please tell us how “Bierstadt Repaired” came about.
Meudt: I was familiar with the idea of “repair cafés,” a Dutch trademark that has inspired repair initiatives worldwide. However, we wanted to have a workshop with our own unique character rather than setting up a franchise. It has been almost 8 years since we started the repair service in October this year. We have around 6-8 people from our circle of acquaintances working with us.
hörbert: What experiences have you had so far?
Meudt: Initially, we devoted 1-2 hours on Saturdays to repairs. But now, we receive piles of devices that no longer function, which has doubled our workload, and currently, we can hardly take on any new orders. That’s why we are currently looking for like-minded individuals with an electrical engineering background.
hörbert: Are the repairs always successful?
Meudt: Unfortunately, there are always devices for which no spare parts are available anymore. Or in some cases, the cost of a replacement part is as much as a new device. That’s a shame because it leaves one with no option but to dispose of it. We have a waste disposal site nearby. It’s incredible what gets thrown away there. Once, we took a coffee machine from there, repaired it, and then returned it to the colleagues at the disposal site, who now use it to make coffee. We have a very good relationship with our neighbors at the waste disposal site, and we help each other out.
hörbert: Do you work completely voluntarily? What happens when you have costs for spare parts?
Meudt: Yes, we work on a donation basis. We have experienced various situations. Some people put €2 in the donation box, while others find the idea so fantastic that they happily donate €50 when their beloved and trusted device is repaired. As you can see, the amount of the donation also reflects the appreciation for our work. When we need to buy spare parts, we inform our customers and get their approval beforehand. We pass on the costs 1:1 and provide them with the purchase receipts. We don’t add any markup for our work.
hörbert: That’s wonderful that there is an initiative like yours. Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly important to take action against the throw-away culture in society. We have been trying to convey that message with hörbert for the past 12 years as well. We don’t want our children to bear the environmental problems caused by today’s toys.
Meudt: I would give my grandson a hörbert as well, but he’s already 19! :-)
Note from the hörbert team:
We sincerely thank Mr. Meudt for the interview and wish him and the team at “Bierstadt Repaired” continued success and perseverance in their valuable voluntary work.
By the way, the hörbert team also offers repairs. So, if you don’t have access to a repair workshop nearby, you can send your broken hörbert to us. Just contact us through the contact form.