008: Oof, what a year!

If 2020 and '21 felt like a single year, because we were all stuck at home and every day was the same… then 2022 felt like two years packed into one, because WE STARTED THIS COMPANY! 🙀 Almost every day brought new challenges and so many exciting things happened! In the tradition of end-of-year recaps, we want to look back at the key events from this year, and reminisce about what we achieved and learned in 2022.

Posted by Village One on Dec 28, 2022; updated on Dec 29, 2022
It’s time for a new year

The Village One journey starts in…


  • Christoph, Harry and Doro talk about starting a co-op studio, discussing what would be important to us, which values our new organization would hold dear, what projects we’d like to work on
  • After talking so much about it, we decide that we cannot not do it: so we settle on the name Village One and register the domain (after all, everything starts with registering a domain)
  • We also set up a few social channels (Twitter, LinkedIn); we deliberately don’t have any Facebook or Instagram presence
Village One name clusters


  • We write a businessplan (required for incorporating as a co-op)
  • We do a loooong exploration around tooling, trying to avoid big tech and vc-funded startups: Slack and Notion are out, Craft Docs is in, while Basecamp becomes our internal hub. We miss Google Sheets, but no Google for us, instead Fastmail handles our calendar and emails, while we keep it simple with Numbers for spreadsheets. Heev for time tracking. Bitwarden is where we store passwords. Zoom, Figma and GitHub are irreplaceable for now. Figjam saves us from Miro.
  • Meanwhile, we start work with Publix already (on a freelance basis), launching the first version of their website after a one-week design/dev sprint
Why Village One


  • Starting work on our legal co-op framework, with Manuela Rutzen guiding us through the process
  • We also talk to our favorite accountants from Wegener + Hollenberger—they take us on and are an invaluable help for the rest of the year
Village One Team meeting


  • We complete most of the paperwork required to found a co-op and submit it
  • After much exploration we agree on a branding direction, committing to it by buying our desired typeface: GT Flexa from GrilliType
  • The more we learn about cooperatives, the better we feel about our decision
  • We start work with HvD Fonts, launching several improvements to their website/shop over the next months
Village One Branding


  • We meet on July 1st for our inaugural assembly in a co-working space in Neukölln, in order to sign all official documents in person—this is only the second time we even see each other all together in person
  • Launching our website, including the popular garden section
  • Sending our first newsletter afterwards, powered by Button Down
  • We start work with our friends from Cobot on their design, website and ultimately even product direction
Founding Village One


  • Creating our client wish-/blocklist, getting lots of great feedback
  • Village One is now, after paying a short visit to the notary, officially a Genossenschaft
  • Finally got our tax number, allowing us to open a bank account with GLS Bank (also a co-op)
  • We complete a round of work with Erik Spiekermann’s p98a on their new shop
  • Shout-out to KUHLEN for their patience while drafting our employment contracts (a lot of back and forth, we can tell you)
  • We co-work for a day and it’s still the only time we got to work in the same room as a team—everything else was done remotely or in smaller groups
Signing our contracts!


  • We have a very open salary discussion in which we agree on a minimum and maximum, then placing each of us within that range, based on contributions and hours per week—we’ll talk more about our process of self-setting salaries in the future, promise!
  • Fei officially joins as our fourth co-op member
  • All of us are fully employed at this point, so we pay ourselves our first salaries
  • Doro and Fei went to the "Bits und Bäume" conference in Berlin
Bits und Bäume


  • Starting work with TypeMates, completely revamping their website, customer portal and typefaces online shop (launching next year)
  • Harry and Doro go to the Vergesellschaftungskonferenz, while Fei attends EuRuKo in Helsinki
  • We publish quite a few new garden pages and Fei writes our best newsletter yet
  • We secure a big project for 2023 (with a bit of luck still required for it to go through)
Sailing boat


  • First case-study about our work on Neue Narrative gets published
  • First job posting goes live, looking for a digital product designer: you can still apply!
  • We migrate from the dumpster fire Twitter has become to Mastodon, on our own instance under @VillageOneCoop@toot.village.one
  • Streamlined our bookkeeping by adopting Pleo; everyone now has a company credit card, as will all co-op members going forward
  • We start work with My Country Talks to prepare their software platform for the upcoming The World Talks event
  • Harry shares the Village One journey at The Friday Club (thanks for the invitation!)
Zooming with Publix


  • Two of us get COVID, so it’s a slow month, we still manage to send out a very limited number of Christmas presents to clients/partners who teamed up with us this year
  • Work with Publix, Cobot and TypeMates continues
  • We put together this timeline for our last newsletter of 2022, and honestly, it’s incredible how far we’ve come this year! Thank you for following along!
Christmas packages

2022 in our own words

Doro: The last 3 years have been surreal at times—looking at the world events, things can feel very frustrating, so I am all the more grateful and happy that I found Harry, Christoph and Fei! It feels so good to team up with them and see our ideas come to life. For example, it’s refreshing that the way we work fits into my life and not the other way around, giving me lots of flexibility. Of course we are still at the beginning and so I am very much looking forward to our next topics, projects and of course new co-op members. 🙌

Harry: This year opened up a new world for me, around cooperatives, the solidarity economy and workplace democracy. I’m so happy to have found Doro, Christoph and Fei to explore this new terrain with, finding better and more human ways to work together. I realized I’ve been yearning to work in a co-op structure all my career, I just didn’t know it until recently! 🫠

Christoph: Whenever we talk to people about our fairly utopian ideas of how work could be and how new economic structures could change our society, we experience a lot of positive feedback, and see that it resonates with others. We also learned within the first six months that it’s a lot of work to consequently live by your beliefs. But working on them and making them reality in a truly equal team is an absolute game changer. 🎲

Fei: The most exciting thing for me this year was to stop just theorize about how things could be done differently, and actually start doing something! I'm very thankful for all the thoughts and work that Doro, Harry and Christoph already put into Village One before I joined, and I'm looking forward to question, learn and build more things next year with the entire village! 💙

Last but not least

A BIG SHOUTOUT to our friends, family, partners and clients for the support and trust you have placed in us throughout the year. Founding Village One and getting it to this point involved quite a bit of uncertainty and even anxiety at times, but you made it all worth it! Additionally, thank you if you’ve referred us a project, spread the word and for being a subscriber to this newsletter (or reading it on the web). We hope to connect with many more of you next year!

Goodbye 2022, hello 2023!
Doro, Christoph, Harry and Fei

Village One Team

Stronger together: Come along for the ride!

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