Viktoria Thur: Turning Dreams into Reality

In the world of business, where ambition, innovation, and competitiveness reign supreme, the prevailing belief is often that “failure is not an option.” It’s an adage deeply ingrained in the minds of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, urging them to strive for success and nothing less. But is this mantra always the most constructive approach, or does a different perspective hold the key to unlocking greater achievements?

Viktoria Thur, the Founder and CEO of Mues-Tec, is one of those individuals who never gives up. With her determination, drive, and killer instinct, she’s like a hunter pursuing her dreams. “I’m a hunter, not Bambi or Peppa Pig,” she says. “I hunt for my dreams. I’m confident, patient, goal-oriented, possess a killer instinct, and sometimes I’m just lucky enough to strike big!”

Viktoria’s journey has been marked by numerous ups and downs, both in her career and personal life. Yet, it’s her unwavering determination, focus, and persistence that have allowed her to build a thriving company from the ground up. In 2016, she started Mues-Tec with just four people, facing the challenge of entering the market with a relatively unknown company, a brand that lacked recognition, and a product people were unaware of.

It was at the ISH Frankfurt, the world’s foremost trade fair for HVAC + Water, that Mues-Tec’s product, the Smart Mirror, made its grand debut. Suddenly, the media was buzzing with talk of them. Viktoria recalls being overwhelmed by the press – television news channels, radio, and national newspapers all wanted to tell their story.

“I remember collapsing into bed every night, and mind you, it wasn’t a fancy hotel room but a tiny Airbnb studio. I was too tired to eat but so happy to have taken this leap,” Viktoria reminisces. “That trade show was just the beginning, and we attended about 30 more in the years that followed until the COVID-19 pandemic brought it all to a halt.”

Viktoria Thur’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and taking that first step toward realizing one’s dreams.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

The Future of Mirrors

Mues-Tec specializes in developing and manufacturing Smart Mirrors that go beyond the ordinary. These futuristic mirrors are equipped with touchscreens and voice control, transforming them into interactive devices that offer a wide range of functions. Whether it’s your bathroom mirror, wardrobe mirror, or beauty mirror, Mues-Tec’s Smart Mirrors introduce a smart monitor next to your reflection. With a simple voice command, users can access a wealth of information.

These Smart Mirrors can be used for various purposes, from controlling your smart home to entertainment. Users can watch YouTube, CNN, TikTok videos, and more on the mirror’s screen. Moreover, the mirrors seamlessly connect with other smart products, including smartwatches, smart scales, and Bluetooth devices.

Viktoria, from Mues-Tec, envisions the convenience of using these mirrors. She explains how users can play music, check the news, get weather updates, monitor traffic, stay informed about stocks, and even read their emails. The possibilities are extensive. For example, users can start their coffee machine, answer the front door while attending to their morning routine, and receive dental hygiene advice if they use a smart toothbrush.

Mues-Tec prioritizes the user experience, ensuring that their Smart Mirrors are intuitive and easy to use. They believe in providing users with a high degree of customization, allowing them to choose their favorite daily apps and connect as many smart devices as they desire.

In their pursuit of excellence, Mues-Tec collaborates closely with a local university in Fulda, Germany, conducting case studies and user experiments. This partnership reflects their commitment to developing Smart Mirrors that truly cater to the needs and preferences of their users.

From Finance to Smart Mirrors

Viktoria’s life journey has been filled with unexpected twists and turns. She grew up in Germany and initially pursued a path in finance while studying at Florida Atlantic University. Her dreams centered around climbing the corporate ladder, and things were going according to plan. Viktoria graduated with Magna Cum Laude and Business Honors, securing an internship at the prestigious Morgan Stanley on Las Olas Boulevard, a significant step toward achieving her corporate aspirations.

However, life had other plans for Viktoria. By the time she completed her bachelor’s degree, she had become a young single mother, residing in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. She was applying for a position at the World Bank when civil war erupted in the African country. Forced to relocate once more, this time with her son in tow, they could only depart the country when French troops intervened to secure the path to the airport, which had been seized by warring factions.

After leaving Ivory Coast, Viktoria briefly worked in Germany before returning to Fort Lauderdale. In the wake of these challenging life events, she found an opportunity in the finance sector and worked in the Mortgage Industry until 2011, living through the tumultuous times of the financial crisis.

Viktoria’s foray into the consumer electronics industry was somewhat serendipitous. In 2011, she decided to transition out of financial services and embarked on a quest for a new challenge. She stumbled upon a job advertisement on Craigslist, seeking a German native speaker for translation work. Little did she know that this opportunity was with a multinational consumer electronics firm. She quickly rose through the ranks, progressing from a translator to a manager and eventually to overseeing key accounts in Europe and the Middle East.

Although she enjoyed her work and the camaraderie of her colleagues, Viktoria nurtured a desire to return to self-employment. In 2016, she founded Mues-Tec, setting in motion a new and exciting chapter in her journey.

Unyielding Pursuit of Success

For Viktoria, success holds significant importance, akin to a ladder where each accomplishment is but a step towards the next challenge, the next goal, and the next endeavor. This relentless pursuit can, at times, be exhausting. She acknowledges that just when she starts to savor the feeling of satisfaction, the drive to ascend further takes over. It’s an inner fire, an indomitable spirit that propels her onward.

During a speech to aspiring women entrepreneurs, Viktoria was asked about the driving force that keeps her moving forward. Her response reflects a profound commitment to success: “I think when failure just isn’t an option, you keep going.” This resolute determination is deeply rooted in her personal history.

In her formative years, Viktoria’s family faced extreme poverty, a situation so dire that their electricity was disconnected. Yet her mother, a pillar of unwavering resilience, continued to rise every morning, work tirelessly, care for her family, and light candles when night fell. This unyielding perseverance served as a source of inspiration, and Viktoria has carried this legacy forward, refusing to surrender to adversity.

Viktoria firmly believes in the adage that when one door closes, another opens. Her approach to life emphasizes the present and future, with limited dwelling on the past. Challenges are transient, coming and going like tides. The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented global challenge, significantly affected her business. With resellers in Germany and Austria forced to close their doors for several months, her company also faced an abrupt halt. Large projects were canceled or postponed. However, Viktoria and her team seized this opportunity to re-launch their websites, and, adapting to the changing circumstances and continuing to pursue their path toward success.

Market Companions and Competition 

In the business world, Germans use the term “Marktbegleiter,” which translates to “market companions,” to describe competitors. According to Viktoria, this term carries a more amicable connotation compared to the English word “competitors.” She once received valuable advice from a mentor who emphasized that having competitors in the market is a sign of its vitality. Viktoria acknowledges that the Smart Mirror market is far from stagnant. A report from MarketWatch predicts that the Smart Mirror market will reach a substantial value of 1.22 billion USD in 2022, with an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4 percent.

Mues-Tec, as one of the pioneering Smart Mirror producers in Germany, enjoys a competitive advantage due to its early entry into the market. Viktoria remains unfazed by the emergence of new market companions, as she believes that the market’s size can accommodate multiple players and that competition serves as a catalyst for fresh ideas and innovations.

However, Viktoria expresses her discontent when competitors attempt to replicate their products. She mentions that they often find themselves issuing cease-and-desist letters due to copyright infringements, a practice she disapproves of. Her desire is for a level playing field where each entity respects the uniqueness of their creations, asserting, “Mine is mine, yours; do yourself.”

Partnering with Giants and Media Recognition

Mues-Tec is a highly specialized company dedicated to the development of mirrored displays and interactive smart mirrors. This unique focus has made them a sought-after technology partner for many large corporations. Viktoria explains that these companies desire technology similar to what Mues-Tec offers but lack the in-house capacity to develop it. As a result, they engage Mues-Tec in exciting projects with diverse requirements. Often, Mues-Tec must create entirely new mirrors, hardware, and software to meet the specific demands of these projects. Collaborating with these well-known brands, which one might encounter in any electronics store, is an exhilarating experience. Viktoria highlights that their multimedia mirrors can be found in the Connected City in Pasco County, Florida, thanks to these esteemed partnerships.

Viktoria takes great pride in Mues-Tec’s media appearances. She recalls a moment when she appeared on national television to demonstrate their Smart Mirror, which caught the eye of her uncle when it featured on the morning news. His excitement and pride were heartwarming for Viktoria. Moreover, Mues-Tec’s products have been showcased at three different stands at the IFA, one of Germany’s oldest and most renowned industrial exhibitions. However, Viktoria’s most personal and proudest moment was when she had the opportunity to take her two children to Paris and visit their customer on the Champs-Élysées. Witnessing their products in use at a 5-star hotel held a special significance for her, encapsulating the remarkable journey of Mues-Tec.

Tough but Compassionate

In Viktoria’s view, the role of a CEO encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, sometimes requiring her to be a coach and, at other times, a therapist. As a demanding leader, she holds her team to high standards, mirroring her expectations. However, she balances this toughness with compassion, believing in leading by example. Viktoria’s leadership style is not devoid of vulnerability, as she openly shares that she has shed tears during a job interview.

Diversity is a central element of Mues-Tec’s team, with members hailing from various ethnic backgrounds. The company boasts a healthy mix of ages, with nearly equal representation of males and females, and includes international colleagues from as far as China. Viktoria emphasizes the team’s unwavering support for one another, united by their belief in the company and its remarkable products. She is determined to foster a culture of accountability and teamwork, where individuals take responsibility not only for their actions but also for those of their team. The mantra is clear: “One for all and all for one.”

Viktoria places significant value on her team, considering good employees to be paramount to a company’s success. She shares the inspiring story of a young colleague who faced tremendous challenges due to a handicap and a terminal illness. Despite these obstacles, this colleague’s positivity and proficiency in MS Excel made him a remarkable addition to the team. Viktoria expresses her deep gratitude for having had the opportunity to hire such an extraordinary individual, illustrating the profound rewards of being a CEO.

Building a Thriving Community

Viktoria’s vision for Mues-Tec is straightforward yet ambitious. She aims to deliver the most enjoyable and practical Smart Mirror solutions, thereby securing a substantial global market presence. In addition to this, she envisions creating a vibrant community within a fresh ecosystem.

Path to Success

According to Viktoria, success isn’t achieved through a sprint but through unwavering perseverance. Her advice to aspiring business women is to maintain focus without being overly rigid. “Stay on your chosen path, but be open to taking detours,” Viktoria emphasizes. She highlights that life rarely follows a straight road and that setbacks are integral to personal growth. Above all, she stresses the importance of patience as a virtue on the journey to success.