Suited for Success: Luis Gramajo and Hans Schrei, Co-founders, Wunderkeks
By Lily Ertischek on 2022-06-30
Wunderkeks was founded on the idea of creating childlike joy and being proud, loudly. We got a taste of that joy when we sat down with the founders, Hans Schrei and Luis Gramajo, for this installment of Suited for Success, a series highlighting the women-, BiPOC-, and LGBTQ+-founded business we admired and the people behind them. We had the pleasure of talking all things entrepreneurship, inspiration, having a mission, and being a safe space--oh yeah, and cookies.
Introduce yourselves and tell us about your journey to entrepreneurship.
Hans Schrei has been baking since he was four years old and has a background in marketing and design. Starting and growing Wunderkeks, he’s become a master recipe developer and tester. Nowadays, though, his full attention is on developing the Wunderkeks experience online. This means working on things like paid social, email and SMS, or our website. Over these past years he has become an expert on digital marketing.
Luis Gramajo makes friends very easily and has a background in marketing, trade marketing, and PR. This all comes in very handy, since he’s our sales and customer relationship manager. Luis has wide experience managing sales both for major CPG companies such as Walmart and PriceSmart (Latin America’s subsidiary of Costco) and for Wunderkeks. He is also the kitchen side of the operation and is responsible for our product development. On top of it all, Luis is also a photographer, if you were wondering why our web page and Instagram feed is so pretty.
Please, tell us a little more about Wunderkeks! What is the why and how behind creating the best cookies ever?
Wunderkeks: We make cookies because they make us happy. And, sure, who's not happy with a cookie? But for us, coming from a... not so LGBTQ-friendly place like our home country Guatemala, the joy a cookie could bring was, at certain times in our lives, literally life-saving.
Growing up, being actually happy didn't seem possible, for many reasons. So we coped by creating: Luis became a photographer, Hans became a baker. When we met, we both had made careers out of creating the world we wished we lived in.
With time, the colors, characters, disco balls, and dinosaurs in tutus in our branding came alive. We are well aware that for many Millennials on the older side, this seems childish and immature. That is exactly the point. Wunderkeks is our little playground, and we want as many of you as possible to share it with us. We hope you will think of Wunderkeks as just that: the little corner of the world where you are, for a few minutes, innocent, careless, happy.
Give us the gooey details… What's your favorite Wunderkeks cookie?
Wunderkeks: Hans’ favorite cookie would be “The Everything Cookie." He loves textures, mixing flavors, and having the right amount of “crispyness” on the outside balanced by the chewiness in the inside.
Luis’ favorite cookie is “The Best Chocolate Cookie Ever." I mean, could you blame him? He loves it because 20% of the cookie is pure chocolate, which means that you'll enjoy with every bite you take.
Entrepreneurship is incredibly challenging. Who in the entrepreneurial space inspires you to power through?
Wunderkeks: We get our inspiration from Jeff Furman, one of the founders at Ben & Jerry’s. We've always believed that having a mission-driven brand would mean working not only to make a change but also to be that change. When you’re creating a brand and you start digging deeper, you end up with a very powerful company that has a soul and an essence. For us, that mission is to become a signifier of a safe space, so every time you see someone enjoying Wunderkeks’ products, using a sticker on their water bottle or wearing a T-shirt, you know you are safe to be yourself around that person.
Did you have any apprehensions about working so closely together as husbands? How do you keep the balance in your relationship between work and everything else?
Wunderkeks: THERAPY... It's as simple as that. Being a couple and creating a company together is hard; you need to be aware that you’ll be spending lots of time together, and even more than that, you have to know that you will have different opinions. The key to making it work for us is to define very clearly what each person's role is. Respect and trust surrounding those roles are a must. We came to an agreement on who had the last word in each area--we can still question decisions, but even if the other person doesn't agree, we need to understand that in each case, one of us has the authority and responsibility for the green light.
What is a message you want to help spread within your community?
Wunderkeks: Our goal is for people to understand that we’re creating something very powerful here, not only for the LGBTQ+ community or the immigrant community (we belong to both), but for everyone out there. Could you imagine living in a world where simply seeing someone with one of our products something that says Wunderkeks is all you need to know to be certain that you're safe? That you can be yourself and they will support you no questions asked? Well, we can imagine that world. We want to bring this message to everyone, to create a safe space for everyone, even if that means, ironically, that we need to be in an "unsafe space" ourselves to make it happen!
Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Wunderkeks: Have a very clear idea of what you want to do, know that it’s going to be hard, and create something that you’re passionate about. People can read that passion and see that you’re not only building something nice but also that it resonates with what you stand for. That makes it genuine and powerful at the same time.
What’s in the works for 2022? How can we all support Wunderkeks this year?
Wunderkeks: 2022 is bringing lots of partnerships that are very consciously selected and which represent allyship to create those safe spaces. We are being more mindful than ever to associate ourselves and our company with people that truly believe in our mission and are passionate about it.
You can all support our company by being kind with each other, supporting the people around you, and motivating them to become the best version of themselves that they can be.
Also, we’ve just started raising $5M for our seed round to take our company to the next level, amplifying our mission, and continue getting farther than we ever imagined.
And of course, you can support by buying cookies (lol).