Philip Rooke will pass the baton on to Julian de Grahl April 1st, 2021.
Dr. Julian de Grahl (47) will become the new CEO of Spread Group, an enterprise group of leading digital brands empowering self expression with print-on-demand products. As of April 1st, 2021, de Grahl will take over from Philip Rooke (52), who decided a few months ago to pursue a new career opportunity after 10 years as CEO.
Dr. Julian de Grahl has more than 18 years’ e-commerce experience, of those more than 13 years in listed companies and high-growth, high-margin environments. He has been Managing Director at CTS EVENTIM since 2012 and responsible for several business units addressing the sports, cultural, and club/festival markets with specialized software, e-commerce shops, and merchandising solutions. In this function he had a strong focus on agile product development, internationalization, and B2B-sales. Prior to this, Dr. Julian de Grahl was Managing Director at amiando (now XING Events) and Vice President Vertical Business at XING AG (now New Work SE). Dr. Julian de Grahl studied law and economics (BWL), holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg, a master’s degree from the University of Cape Town and two state exams from the City of Hamburg.
“Spread Group’s teams have done a tremendous job building an international, sustainable, and profitable business. With its variety of digital products (Spreadshop, Spreadshirt Marketplaces, Spreadshirt Create-Your-Own, TeamShirts, SPOD), its loyal partner community, and its production and fulfillment facilities, Spread Group is extremely well-positioned to further expand into social commerce and B2B. I had excellent talks with the board and can’t wait to take over in April,” says Dr. Julian de Grahl, CEO of Spread Group as of April 1st, 2021.
Under Philip Rooke’s leadership, Spread Group developed from a start-up to the only true international and highly-profitable player in the PoD market. Among Philip Rooke’s major achievements are instilling highly effective leadership, establishing excellent teams, and building successful business models. Since he was appointed CEO in 2011, Spread Group increased its revenue by 600 percent, expanded beyond its flagship brand Spreadshirt to include several newly developed brands, and is now active in 18 markets with over 1,000 employees.
“Spread Group is in a great place – we are a strong, sustainable, and profitable business. It has been an incredible honor to work with such talented people and to have achieved so much together. As I move on, the thing I’m most proud of is the team at Spread Group and a huge thank you goes out to them. Julian will be a great addition to the team and his vast experience, fresh eyes, and multifaceted approach will take the Group to the next level,” comments Philip Rooke, CEO of Spread Group.
“I sincerely thank Philip for his outstanding performance and achievements in over a decade at Spread Group. His time as CEO of Spread Group leaves us with a great foundation and an exceptional team. In Julian, we have found an excellent successor and we look forward to expanding the culture, developing new innovative business areas, and making the company ready for the capital market!” says Lukasz Gadowski, Spreadshirt’s founder and Chairman of the Spread Group Supervisory Board.
Spread Group warmly welcomes Dennis Doerfl, an experienced manager with a digital mindset and international connections, as the new Director of our B2B brand Spreadshop.
Dennis brings along his remarkable experience as Sales Operations Director EMEA and Operations Director EMEA at Groupon where he advanced the outsourcing of business processes to 23 countries worldwide. Since 2016, he’s been a Co-Founder and board member of Fourstarzz Media, an American software-as-service company specialized in social-media and influencer marketing.
Dennis’ cosmopolitan mindset compelled him to get a degree in business administration with a focus on marketing, taxation and auditing. He also worked as a business consultant and strategic advisor for Accenture on a global scale. “In my new position as Director of Spreadshop, I would like to continue to grow and foster the B2B business in Europe and North America. Of particular importance is increasing Shop Owner satisfaction, developing an innovative e-commerce Shop system and building strong brand visibility,” says Dennis. Having successfully led international marketing and e-commerce teams for over 15 years, he will now focus on working with our new and emerging brand ambassadors: the fashion influencers.
“Through his diverse experiences and management responsibilities, Dennis has gathered extensive expertise in process optimization and application development. His consulting prowess in digitally transforming companies makes him a perfect fit for Spread Group and Spreadshop’s international approach,” says Hugo Smoter, Chief Commercial Officer of Spread Group.
With his exceptional connections in the international marketing industry and his Forbes Agency Council membership, Dennis has his fingers at the pulse of current trends, challenges and solutions in e-commerce marketing. He also writes as a specialist contributor for forbes.com.
From Harry Potter to Batman, Spread Group is strengthening its position as a strategic licensing partner of Warner Bros. Entertainment. 14 brands will be available in four new markets in Europe, North America, and Oceania
Spread Group’s licensing team has expanded its Warner Bros. licensing rights to new target markets: UK, USA, Canada and Australia: The corporate group now owns the licensing rights for 14 brands, including Harry Potter, Batman and Friends.
Spread Group and Warner Bros. have had a successful partnership in across many European countries since 2012. In these eight years, Spread Group has developed more than 1,700 designs with popular Warner Bros. heroes and symbols in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. The Warner Bros. brands are among the bestsellers on these European Spreadshirt marketplaces.
“We are excited about the opportunity to use our know-how to launch into new markets and to strategically develop our partnership with Warner Bros. In doing so, we will cover design, marketing and production, to the web presence on our Spreadshirt marketplace, as well as on Amazon and eBay – according to our 360-degree approach,” explains Ann-Katrin Hager, Head of Licensing Europe of Spread Group.
This licensing deal will make Warner Bros. one of Spread Group’s largest partners. It will offer over 1,000 Warner designs on the Spreadshirt marketplaces in the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia as well as 1,500 item positions on Amazon.com.
Spreadshirt, a Spread Group brand, now offers customizable products on Amazon.
Amazon customers can now fill their shopping baskets with individually designed products by Spread Group. Spreadshirt, a brand of the Spread Group, now also offers customizable products on Amazon. The new service is aimed at customers who want to design products with their own texts, images or logos directly on Amazon. Until now, Amazon customers could only select and order pre-designed products from the Spreadshirt marketplace in different colors.
As it is typical for Spreadshirt, the design of the products is intuitive and easy to use: Using the “Customize Now” button, customers can upload their own designs and texts and place them on clothes and accessories. Customers in the USA, UK, France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany can choose from 20 different fonts and 18 font colors.
“External marketplaces, such as Amazon, offer us the chance to inspire customers with our products and services who have never had any contact with Spreadshirt before. With this new service, we can now offer them one of our core competencies: individual expression on products of all kinds. Customized items are more in vogue than ever and are in high demand during the Christmas season,” says Antje Naumann, Teamlead External Marketplace at Spread Group. “Our business unit is currently working at full speed to implement additional design functions for Amazon Custom,” adds Antje Naumann.
Products ordered via Amazon go through the same quality and design checks before they are printed and shipped, as well as platform internal orders at Spread Group. In addition, there is a 30-day right of exchange for the products.
Under the website TeamShirts.com, Spread Group now offers a Print-on-Demand (PoD) platform for the North American market, which is specially tailored to the needs of group orders. The new online offer is based on the e-commerce platform TeamShirts.de, which has been available to European customers since 2014.
After the market entry of the spin-off SPOD (Spreadshirt Print-on-Demand) in Europe, Spread Group has now reached another milestone in its expansion strategy. TeamShirts, the all-in-one solution for group orders, was successfully launched on the US market. Both brand launches clearly follow the multi-brand approach of promoting, strategically building and adapting high-turnover business areas within the group for different target markets.
“In six years, TeamShirts has established itself as an established player in the European PoD market. With growth of 60 percent last year, the time was right for a US market launch: our platform is perfect for American customers who live team culture like no other nation, both professionally and privately. We give you a ‘satisfaction guarantee’ for our online offer right from the start: Whether volume discounts, free graphic assistance or express delivery – we find a suitable solution for bulk buyers’ every need,” says Elmar Kühn, Director of TeamShirts Europe and project manager for the brand launch.
Everything from one source
This satisfaction guarantee is given on the basis of the broad-based company structure: Spread Group has a differentiated infrastructure which, with its own production facilities, designers and suppliers, can map all processes along the value chain itself. All group orders undergo multi-stage quality and design checks. If desired, the uploaded designs can be adapted or completely redesigned by the TeamShirts designers.
However, the platform’s intuitive user interface also makes it easy to create products yourself: player names, numbers and dress sizes are collected in one tool, based on the more than 35,000 free designs or your own motif and agreed with the group members via a sharing function. In the future, these design options are to be supplemented by a further printing technique: for some months now, European customers have been able to have their motifs embroidered on the products.
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Spread Group launches PoD platform TeamShirts on the US market
Spread Group strengthens its Management Board with Jürgen Krisch, who succeeds Guido Laures as Chief Technology Officer.
Today Spread Group appoints Jürgen Krisch as its new Chief Technology Officer. Jürgen Krisch will shape the organizational and strategic development of the IT department, together with the 100-strong team, to actively promote the Group’s continued growth. He succeeds Guido Laures, who is looking forward to new personal and professional challenges after seven years at Spread Group.
Krisch has been working at the interface between fashion and e-commerce for 24 years. Most recently he was head of the e-commerce IT department in the Witt Group, a member of the Otto Group. The autodidact started his career at Beate Uhse new media GmbH. After several years of self-employment as a consultant, he was recruited to manage the IT integration of customers from the fashion business at Arvato Bertelsmann.
“In my new position as CTO, I would like to build on the excellent structures and actively support our divisions with smart IT solutions. I am particularly keen to lead in an agile manner and support my employees in their personal development,” emphasizes Jürgen Krisch.
Philip Rooke, CEO of Spread Group, is looking forward to working with Krisch: “With his strong history in eCommerce expertise and his qualities as a leader, Jürgen will further expand our technological leadership within the industry. We have aggressive plans for expansion, and these will be driven by technology in our international platform. We are looking forward to his new ideas and analytical expertise!”
Business Unit SPOD launches in Europe
Spreadshirt’s latest spin-off SPOD (Spreadshirt Print-on-Demand) is taking off in Europe and is now available in the Shopify app store. SPOD is a quick and easy POD dropshipping application for apparel and accessories. With SPOD, both offline companies and e-commerce shops can expand their product range with merchandising products in just a few steps and at no additional cost.
The SPOD application includes an embedded personalization tool (customizer), a constantly growing library of over 50,000 free designs and a range of currently more than 100 high-quality apparel and accessories. Printing is done on-demand in Leipzig (Germany), Krupka (Czech Republic) or Legnica (Poland) with Spreadshirt’s 18 years of experience in the background. The products are shipped worldwide.
Constantly growing success
SPOD was launched in North America in December 2018 and is already ranked as the second-best print-on-demand provider by Shopify. With production times of less than 48 hours for over 97 % of orders and return rates of <1 %, SPOD has already made its mark in terms of speed, quality and reliability. Especially during Corona SPOD has shown to be pandemic-proof. “With the increasing popularity of dropshipping in Europe, the interest in fast, reliable print-on-demand options for apparel and accessories is also growing. The market development and the seamless integration with Shopify make us very confident that in a few months we will be among the market leaders in this field not only in the US but also in Europe,” comments Robert Schulz, Director Fulfillment Business, on the launch of SPOD in Europe.
Shopify is also excited about the partnership: “Shopify wants to make it as easy as possible for people to build their own business and become entrepreneurs. With a strong local print-on-demand partner such as SPOD, the path to your own clothing or personalization brand is even easier. We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with SPOD in Europe,” said Linda Guddat, Business Development Manager at Shopify.
Based on almost two years of market experience in North America, SPOD will continue to focus on crisis-proof, above-average production speeds, competitive pricing and the integrated personalization tool (Customizer), which is unique in the market.
With custom printed merchandise, anyone can become an activist
Just in time for Earth Day 2020 on April 22nd, Earth Day Network, the global coordinators of Earth Day, is launching their official merchandise with Spreadshirt. Earth Day began in the United States in 1970 and is now observed by over 1 billion people each year, making it the world’s largest civic event. This year, Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Earth Day Network’s Spreadshop will offer two exclusive 50th anniversary designs on a variety of products for men, women and children – from organic cotton T-shirts and hoodies, to reusable tote bags. Additionally, Earth Day has also designs available in the Spreadshirt Marketplace.
Self-expression for the planet
“It is valuable for us to have our supporters wearing gear that represents the daily nature of protecting our environment. From picking up trash, reducing resource and energy use, and civic organizing. Earth Day supporters practice the ethos of the environmental movement around the clock, and can now wear their support while doing it,” David Van Siclen from Earth Day Network explains.
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day aims to mobilize a grassroots movement against a threat to the planet that’s as great as any war or natural disaster. “Humans are facing many urgent issues today, but only the climate crisis poses an irreversible threat to the habitability of the planet,” Van Siclen elaborates.
Print-on-demand, a sustainable choice for merchandising
Spreadshirt’s print-on-demand business model is a sustainable choice. This makes Spreadshirt an ideal partner for companies looking to be more eco-conscious with their merchandise offerings.
“Print-on-demand means that sustainability is a part of our DNA. We only produce what our customers really want and then hopefully love and wear for a long time,” Spreadshirt CEO Philip Rooke explains. “Print-on-demand also eliminates the need for trend forecasting, estimating quantities and sizes, storing large amounts of stock, and throwing away products that haven’t been sold”.
“Sustainability is good economics and business management. The reduction of waste in all areas of the company from HQ offices to printing technology in our factories, is how we also create a healthy company. We believe that every little bit helps on our path to a better, more responsible and sustainable business,” Philip Rooke continues.
Regarding their choice to use Spreadshirt as the platform for official Earth Day merchandise, David Van Siclen says: “Beyond offering merchandise to Earth Day supporters, we felt that Spreadshirt´s sustainable achievements in energy and resource use reductions were most aligned with our environmental goals and message. Sustainability in operations and supply chains is a major area where businesses can do their part to better the environment, and Spreadshop has demonstrated such sustainable leadership in the space.”
About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million U.S. Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in coast-to-coast rallies, this is now recognized as the first Earth Day. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. The event achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than one billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and provoke policy changes. Now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day.
Spreadshirt expands R&D hub in German headquarters
In the first quarter of 2020, Spreadshirt expanded the machinery at its headquarters in Leipzig and developed it into a research and development hub. Six embroidery machines and the Kornit Avalanche PolyPro were installed. The latter is one of the first of its kind worldwide. This new technology complements the existing machines for digital and foil printing on textiles in the Leipzig location.
In the R&D department, Spreadshirt is not only testing cutting-edge printing techniques but also new software the IT team has developed in-house. Additionally, the team establishes processes and standards to be implemented on an international scale at locations in Poland, the Czech Republic and the United States. As the development of such innovations continues, quality improvement will further flourish.
Multi-faceted knowledge from Germany
The German location was chosen by Spreadshirt because of the ideal conditions for research and development. A great number of the local employees have been with the company for many years and have expert knowledge. For example, the average seniority level on the production floor is over ten years. The notable size and structure of the company headquarters allows employees from marketing, IT or purchasing to personally exchange ideas with co-workers from production and development and to test them right away.
Over the next two years, Spreadshirt will continue to invest in new machines and technologies (see press release 07/16/19) At the R&D hub in Leipzig UV printing and products from the non-textile sector will be tested to address entirely new customer demographics.
“With our experienced team in Leipzig and their enormous know-how, we can develop new technologies for Spreadshirt which we can then use internationally. In this way, we are approaching our goal of being the world’s largest company in our industry, in giant strides,” emphasizes Spreadshirt CEO Philip Rooke.
- Additional Facts and Figures:
- Number of employees worldwide: >900
- Numbers of employees in Leipzig, Germany: 400
- Spreadshirt branch offices: Germany (Leipzig) and USA (Greensburg, PA)
- Spreadshirt production sites: Germany (Leipzig), Poland (Legnica), Czech Republic (Krupka), USA (Greensburg, PA and Henderson, NV)
- Revenue 2018: $130M ($11.7M EBITDA)