Made by Members: Alan Frei
Alan Frei is best known as the successful co-founder of Amorana. However, he sees himself not only as an entrepreneur, but also as a vagabond and minimalist. His concept of life is to make his everyday life as simple as possible.
After the death of his father, Alan Frei decided to become a minimalist. Gradually he parted with his material possessions. He wanted to find out how little he needed to be happy. When Frei realized that he didn’t even need an apartment for this, he moved into a hotel in Zurich.
He even parted with his company Amorana. Frei and co-founder Lukas Speiser recently sold the company to Philippe Jacobs and his British company Lovehoney. While the sale was lucrative for Frei, his lifestyle became even more pared down as a result, as he tells us in an interview.
Alan, did success with Amorana come quickly?
No, it was a long battle. We’ve just always pushed our goal of making our products accessible to everyone – and we still do. I think it’s dangerous to rest on one’s laurels.
How has your work changed since you sold your company?
I am now no longer an entrepreneur, but an employee as marketing manager. So I am under much less pressure than before. I enjoy more freedom and can choose who I want to spend my time with.
What kind of environment do you work well in?
If I have good Wi-Fi and my AirPods, I can work from anywhere.
Why are you living in a hotel?
I’ve been living a minimalist lifestyle for about eight years now. Over time, I’ve noticed that the less I own, the happier I am. That’s why I only own about 100 things today. I want to be as independent of objects as possible and have more time for what’s important. That’s why I’m a big fan of Platinum Service from American Express. It simplifies a lot of things in my life tremendously.
To be even freer, I decided to part with my apartment and furniture and move to a hotel two years ago. That’s pretty funny, because most entrepreneurs who sell their company and suddenly have a lot of money buy a big house and an expensive car. However, I have even less and live in an even smaller space than before – and I’m the happiest person in the world while doing so.
But I’m not doing all this for ecological reasons, or because I want to criticize consumption, but because I simply feel better the less I have.
What are you most proud of when you look back on your life so far?
That I never gave up on my dream of owning my own business. Over the past 18 years, I’ve tried to launch several start-ups, but nothing worked out and I was almost out of money at times.
At certain points in my career, it probably would have been easier to give up and do something else. But I kept fighting, thankfully.
What drove you back then?
My father and grandfather both died at the age of 59. So about six years ago, I calculated how many days I have left until I turn 59. Back then, it was already less than 10,000 days, which is not very much. So I decided to just do what makes me happiest during this time.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, many. For example, that I can’t cook and often eat unhealthy.
What is your motto in life?
Bend, don’t break.