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Mission to the Stars! Spreadshirt Launches a Star Academy for Designers

Published 15. Jun 2021 in Brands Innovation
Mission to the Stars! Spreadshirt Launches a Star Academy for Designers

With its new “Star Academy” program, Spreadshirt – a Spread Group brand – promotes the visibility and sales of its designers on Spreadshirt’s Marketplaces. Based on their individual sales history, quality and design rating, the designers receive their place in one of five “star classes”. Determination and good ratings help them reach galactical heights. The higher the star class, the higher the benefits and consulting package.

Spreadshirt gets its designers on board of the “Star Academy” program to help them achieve greater visibility on Spreadshirt’s Marketplace and higher sales figures. All designers are placed in one of five star classes based on sales history, design quality, and relevance. These tiered levels unlock tailored benefits for them. Regardless of which star class the designers start in, they are provided with tailored support and expertise in marketing their designs. As usual in space travel, this mission knows only one direction – the stars are the limit!

”Every week, 140,000 designs are published on the Spread Group platforms. This result proves how creative and productive our community is. Star Academy equips designers with the necessary resources and marketing know-how to increase their sales,” says Gunter Nickel, Director of Spreadshirt Marketplaces.

The Star Academy is designed to award the determined designers is explicitly rewarded in the. Those who improve their own design quality and sales reach a higher star class and enjoy further advantages there. At the same time, the Star Academy ensures that the best designs in the Marketplace can be found more easily. New designers are supported with a starter package and placed in a higher star class as soon as they have published a minimum number of designs. If the drive for the mission falters for a while, the designers do not lose their star class. Losing your level only happens in case of breaking Spread Group’s community standards.

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Silke Möller

Corporate Communications Specialist

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Gunter Nickel Takes the Helm at Spreadshirt Marketplaces

Published 09. Jun 2021 in Company Press Releases
Gunter Nickel Takes the Helm at Spreadshirt Marketplaces

Spreadshirt Marketplaces will be further developed strategically and operationally under new management.

Spreadshirt Marketplaces is the brand that connects designers and customers around the world through unique products. Gunter Nickel, an experienced and fashion-savvy e-commerce manager will now be at its helm. The 44-year-old comes from the management team of the online fashion company Zalando, where he held various management positions in the board departments Strategy and Finance. With a degree in industrial engineering, he already looks back on a long consulting career at the international management consultancy A.T. Kearney, where he advised clients in various industries as an expert in growth and management issues. As an business consultant, he also acquired in-depth knowledge in the strategic support of young entrepreneurs in the Berlin startup environment.

“As Director of Spreadshirt Marketplaces, my goal is to accelerate the current growth of the business unit, and to establish the brand as a natural point of contact for buyer groups with a penchant for design. It is also important to me to reach new market segments beyond the gift buyer, such as fashion-savvy buyer groups. Our ambition must be to become the number one marketplace for creatives and to expand our product range in line with our target groups,” says Gunter Nickel, who brings over ten years of experience in market positioning and corporate strategy.

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Silke Möller

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CSR @ Spread Group: 5 Questions for Andrea Radziewsky

Published 08. Jun 2021 in Responsibility
CSR @ Spread Group: 5 Questions for Andrea Radziewsky

As the Head of B2B Customer Service Operations, Andrea keeps having an eye on the big picture. She manages the customer service department with 35 employees for the Spread Group’s bulk order division. She took her first career steps within the group nine years ago while she was still enrolled at university. Andrea also thinks big when it comes to sustainability and – together with her team – sets ambitious goals to save even more resources in her department.

Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?

Andrea Radziewsky: Sustainability is not something we should leave to others. It is up to us! Every day we make decisions and too often ignore the fact that they have an impact on our environment and future generations. At some point, I didn’t want to go along with that anymore and drew the consequences for myself. I’ve been living vegan for two years now. Of course, this step is not for everyone, but some habits can be changed quite easily. No more buying cheap disposable fashion, reselling old clothes via second-hand apps, and switching to green electricity.

Spread Group: What motivates you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Andrea Radziewsky: I determined my CO2 footprint via a climate calculator online. This spurred me on to reduce it even further. Through my vegan lifestyle, I was able to save a large amount of CO2 at that time. I am also green when it comes to “mobility”, as I regularly travel by bus and train. Having my own car was never a question for me, because I don’t even have a driver’s license.

Spread Group: What role does sustainability play in your job and in the tasks of your team?

Andrea Radziewsky: An important role. There are a few adjustments in bulk orders that we have made to further our sustainability balance. For example, we avoid printing out emails and other documents. For our group orders, we make sure that we pack all the items of an order in just one large cardboard box instead of wrapping each item individually. This saves a lot of packaging. But we can’t do without the bags altogether, as it’s a legal requirement to ensure that the goods reach the customer undamaged. We also try to avoid returns and offer our customers the option of ordering samples. Our customers’ interest in sustainable products has increased significantly in recent years. One indicator here are the many inquiries we receive through our service e-mail address responsibility@spreadshirt.de. I think it’s great that customers are looking so closely at our products. A lot of information, such as our environmental certificates and dealer credentials can be found on our website at any time. For example, our ink is 100 percent vegan, and our packaging is all recyclable.

Spread Group: Have you set yourselves specific sustainability goals?

Andrea Radziewsky: Yes, of course. I have planned a workshop with my team in which we will gather ideas for a more sustainable development in the department. It will also be about greater sensitivity to the everyday carelessness in life. Do we leave our appliances on standby in the evening? And do we turn off the lights when we leave the office for longer meetings?

Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to further explore the topic of sustainability?

Andrea Radziewsky: I really like the blog utopia.de. It provides great inspiration for sustainable consumption, but also practical advice on how to save energy. I would never have come up with some of these tips on my own – it’s definitely worth a look!

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Andrea.

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Silke Möller

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Spreadshop Shows Heart – The Hänsel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation

Published 01. Jun 2021 in Brands
Spreadshop Shows Heart – The Hänsel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation

Protecting and empowering children – the Hansel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation and Spreadshop put the focus on child awareness with products for all ages. Proceeds benefit the foundation’s prevention projects.

Once upon a time, there were two children who got lost in the deep, deep forest… But they were very strong, and so they found their way back home. These two kids became eponymous of the Hänsel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation. Children must not get lost, as they are in need of empowerment to develop their own strengths. As an organization for child protection in Germany, Hänsel+Gretel has made a decisive contribution to protecting children from physical, psychological, and sexualized violence by way of child-friendly education. In 24 years, they have implemented over 520 projects, often in cooperation with partners. Teaming up with Spreadshop, they have now developed products around the “NO means NO!” and “No Fairy Tale” campaigns, as represented on their No Fairy Tale Shop.

“Unfortunately, violence against children is not a fairy tale, but grim reality. The notion that “It doesn’t happen here” is a statistical fallacy. What is true, however, is the realization that “it can happen anywhere. With our work, we want to protect and strengthen children. We have now developed products for adults and children on which they can carry our messages, openly and unambiguously. We let the child take center stage and work on finding solutions by breaking new ground,” says Jerome Braun, Executive Director of the Hänsel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation.

Spreadshop Shows Heart – The Hänsel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation

The proceeds from the No Fairy Tale Shop are used to fund prevention projects such as the “tough kids box”. The concept was developed with the PETZE Institute for early childhood prevention in daycare centers. Playful methods are used to strengthen the children’s personalities and teach them how to respond to boundary violations. The Hänsel+Gretel Child Protection Foundation has set itself an ambitious goal for the next eight years, as Jerome Braun reports: “We want to reach 5,000 daycare centers and around 500,000 children with our “tough kids box”. We are encouraged by the many positive responses we have received from the 400 daycare centers where the educators are already working with the “tough kids box”.

The foundation’s podcast (in German) is another current project aimed at a broad adult audience. Twice a month, the Hänsel + Gretel team talks to a variety of people from the general public, academia, and child protection institutions. It’s important to bear in mind that – even if carefully addressed – descriptions of sexualized acts of violence against children can lead to a stressful or retraumatizing experience for some listeners. Fairy tales may usually have a happy ending, whereas children’s experiences not always do. Let’s make sure that things change for good.

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Silke Möller

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Spread Group signs Diversity Charter

Published 17. May 2021 in Company Press Releases Responsibility
Spread Group signs Diversity Charter

By joining the non-profit association “Charta der Vielfalt e. V.”, Spread Group commits itself to a corporate culture of tolerance, diversity, and mutual respect.

Spread Group joined the non-profit association Charta der Vielfalt e.V. today. Now the values exercised at the group’s locations will be more visible and tangible from the outside. As a member of the nationwide initiative, Spread Group is committed to consistently driving forward diversity management and inclusion. In doing so, it can build on existing processes and internal projects that have already been initiated.

“We are proud to be a part of this important initiative now. More than 50 percent of our management positions are already held by female executives, and it goes without saying that every employee can work part-time for us – even in management. We will now continue to develop this open environment while respecting the charter’s standards. For example, we are planning new workshops to raise awareness for diversity topics and involve the ideas of our staff in the process,” says Theresa Kretzschmar, Global HR Director of Spread Group.

The Charta der Vielfalt e.V. association was founded in 2010 and began its work in March 2011 under the patronage of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. As a signatory, the Spread Group joins the circle of more than 3,800 companies and institutions. These are committed to advancing the recognition, appreciation, and inclusion of diversity by way of voluntary commitment.

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Spread Group’s Guide to Gender-Inclusive Language

Published 12. May 2021 in Company Insights
Spread Group’s Guide to Gender-Inclusive Language

The Head of Copywriting and Translation at Spread Group, Felicitas Kermarrec has just published her Guide to Gender-Inclusive English, German and French “Connecting with Language” to mark European Diversity Month with a handy directive. Be sure to read her free e-paper.

Some may perceive gender-sensitive language as cumbersome or even aggravating, yet it is easy to adopt a positive approach when bearing a few ruses in mind. Language is a symbolic means of referring to objects and ideas, and as such of vital importance for anyone – and also commercial companies – to assume responsibility when considering the choice of words. Of course, the same is true for imagery. At Spread Group, Felicitas Kermarrec has attended to the matter as she spearheaded an initiative to define a company-wide standard of gender-appropriate language. In doing so, she put her team of 30 permanently appointed and freelance members on course to writing in a more inclusive way when creating content across the platform’s 13 languages of Spread Group’s various brands.

Looking back on some 15 years of professional experience in localization, translation, and copywriting, Felicitas is well acquainted with potential pitfalls of gender-inclusive language. “The shift towards a more inclusive application of language has been felt in almost all European countries in recent years. However, our quest for more inclusivity is still in its infant stage. This is why a guideline with rules and helpful advice will hopefully go a long way to get a well-needed change off the ground. Thanks to the guide that my team has developed, we can now quickly and easily achieve our goal of writing gender-appropriate texts that sound both natural and articulate. A mix of clear instructions and creative solutions are instrumental here.”

Visible gender-equality in language – a new business standard

The omens are favorable that gender-inclusive languages will keep gaining momentum in corporate language and communication. According to a recent survey by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, 10 of a total of 30 DAX-listed companies already use inclusive language. These companies serve as important role models when trailblazing the way for small and medium-sized companies. The most frequently cited motivation for their decision comprises of the fact that gender-inclusive language corresponds to their relationship of non-discriminatory interaction with each other.

Felicitas Kermarrec has designed her guide for gender-inclusive English, German and French as a compact manual. The English-language e-paper includes the most important tips and ruses that have already proven to work very well in practice for Spread Group’s copywriters and translators.

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CSR @ Spread Group: 5 Questions for Henriette Hellwing

Published 05. May 2021 in Company Responsibility
CSR @ Spread Group: 5 Questions for Henriette Hellwing

Henriette has been our Teamlead Facility & Office Management for seven years now. She has been managing all tasks related to facility management at the Leipzig site. As a nature-loving person, Henriette is deeply impressed with the green transformation of her home region. A native of Saxony from the south of Leipzig, she recalls vivid childhood memories with opencast lignite mining pits of the GDR aera. Today, this area has been transformed to the Leipzig Neuseenlandschaft, a lake resort.

After completing her commercial training, Henriette wanted to work for a regional, yet internationally active company that keeps an eye on the “big picture” and is also committed to sustainability. Today, she and her team of five develop and support all projects that make the working environment at the Leipzig site greener and healthier.

Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?

Henriette Hellwing: Sustainability is a big thing. For me, it means taking small steps to make positive changes in my life and environment. I am very close to nature and enjoy my life just outside the city. For the last three years that we have had our own garden, where consciously allowed wild growth for insects. In general, I am looking very carefully at what I buy and how it is packaged. For example, I have rediscovered the farm stores in my neighborhood. Their products are organic, regional, and taste just wonderful!

Spread Group: What motivates you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Henriette Hellwing:
I still remember how dirty the air, rivers, and lakes were as a result of open-cast mining in my childhood. The positive effects of structural change are therefore not abstract to me – I see how nature has recovered. This has shown me once again how important it is as the most important our basis for lives. We should take good care of it and can already make a big difference by considering these questions: What food do we eat? What clothes do we buy? And how do we use natural resources such as water sparingly?

Spread Group:
What role does sustainability play in your job and in the tasks of your team?

Henriette Hellwing:
When I started at Spread Group in 2014, there were already several projects in my department. And here it is just as true that many small things contribute to the big picture and every single action or measure is important. For example, we have been using pure green electricity for over 7 years. As a result, we were able to save over 130 tons of CO2 at the Leipzig site in 2020. We are currently pushing the topic of “recycling”. We are working with an external recycling service provider who sorts, processes and disposes of our waste mechanically. We separate paper, metal and glass waste in advance and take some of it to the recycling center. Although we all work online, we still cannot do without paper and toner, but we have set up collection points throughout the building for empty toner cartridges and batteries, and we dispose of them properly. We are also increasingly using rechargeable batteries.

The fruit baskets in our tea kitchens are filled with seasonal and regional products – increasingly also in organic quality. Instead of water bottles, there are water dispensers throughout the building. This reduces plastic consumption enormously. We recently switched our milk completely to organic, and we also offer milk alternatives such as oat or soy milk as another option. When purchasing toilet paper or towel paper, we make sure that it is certified with the “Blue Angel”.

Another goal is the gradual switch to green mobility. When purchasing our company cars, we already ensure low fuel consumption and the corresponding environmental badges. They are not personal company cars, but pool vehicles for all employees. Our company bicycles are even more environmentally friendly. Our colleagues can borrow them at any time for shorter distances. For longer journeys, they mainly travel by Deutsche Bahn. Flights cannot always be avoided, but we try to minimize them as much as possible. Aand if we do have to fly, we use programs that offset CO2.

When renovating our building, we make sure to use environmentally friendly paints. Our furniture is reused as often as possible, sometimes appropriately refurbished for a new purpose, given away or sold for a small contribution. When commissioning service providers and trades, locality is very important to us, so that no long journeys are necessary.

Spread Group: Have you set yourselves specific sustainability goals?

Henriette Hellwing:
The next project we would like to tackle is the lighting in our building. We have already contacted a lighting specialist who will help us with more sustainable and long-lasting lighting in the building. After all, we need to illuminate our nearly 6,000 square meters while keeping environmental protection and electricity consumption in mind. We also want to use more sustainable alternatives in our office supplies, such as pens with cardboard instead of plastic covers. We often get great suggestions from our colleagues about what we could improve. For example, our next step will be to reduce the number of waste-paper baskets at our desks and the waste bags we use for them. A small step that is supported by everyone and thus contributes to more sustainability.

Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to further explore the topic of sustainability?

Henriette Hellwing: I think it would be great if more people were concerned with sustainability. There are now many sustainable companies that, for example, plant a tree for every product sold or actively participate in the reforestation of the rainforest. I think that’s great and worth supporting! I also recommend the magazine and podcast “Hirschhausens Sprechstunde“ by Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen. In “Gesund leben” he frequently writes about climate change and is a committed advocate for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN). His podcast deals with topics related to health and well-being. It repeatedly returns to sustainability issues in the process.

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Henriette!

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Spreadshop Launches Brand-Ambassador Program

Published 03. May 2021 in Brands
Spreadshop startet ein Markenbotschafter-Programm in Nordamerika

Spreadshop continues its brand building initiative by launching a brand-ambassador program, exclusively for North American creators in 2021. Five brand ambassadors have already been recruited.

With its new brand-ambassador program, Spreadshop is now directly targeting content creators from all social networks. The idea is to establish a network of knowledge for creators to collaborate and expand their own merchandising brands by way of a long-term cooperation. Committed North-American influencers with outstanding knowledge of content marketing and awareness of authentic appearance will now have a platform to unite forces in order to become even more powerful.

“Prospects for our program won’t be pigeonholed into a particular genre. What’s important to us are content creator with a convincing personality and that they’re up for a real challenge. With their expertise in multimedia content, the brand ambassadors can work intensively with our design tools and offer real added value to other shop owners. What’s more, they help us view our platform from a fresh and creative perspective to identify untapped potential,” says Lauren Virgin, Influencer Marketing Manager and Project Manager at Spreadshop.

After registering on the online form, the most exciting applicants will meet Lauren Virgin and her team in a personal interview. The ambassadors will become the face of our Spreadhop brand, and as such receive a fixed salary and a personal Spreadshop point of contact to supply support. This partner cooperation will be openly and transparently communicated on the content creators’ channels.

Daniel Batal has been a Spreadshop ambassador from day one. Since 2018, he has been a successful YouTuber and YouTube marketing consultant: “I still know the company’s products from my time as a partner. Back then, I switched to another provider with a heavy heart, because I was excited about realizing the potential of the YouTube Merch Shelf. Today, of course, Spreadshop also offers that – so I’ve returned to my roots. It makes me very proud to represent Spreadshop as its first Brand Ambassador.”

Other official ambassadors who have recently signed on to help spread the word are popular how-to Youtubers Roberto Blake, Jessica Stansberry, Modern Millie, Thomas Garetz and Brian G Johnson. Expect to hear much more from our new Spreadshop Brand ambassadors soon.

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CSR @ Spread Group – 5 Questions for Dave Gorman

Published 06. Apr 2021 in Company Insights Responsibility
CSR @ Spread Group – 5 Questions for Dave Gorman

Corporate Social Responsibility is not just trendy topic, but an attitude. The goal is to create a good life for everyone. In our new interview series, we ask our staff how they feel about one of the most important issues in our industry: sustainability. And how committed are they themselves?

We’re kicking off our interview series with Dave Gorman, Director of Customer Experience and CSR Project Officer at Spread Group. Dave originally hails from Boston, where he started his university studies in Neuroscience before completing his degree in Creative Writing. He has lived in Leipzig for over 15 years now, and previously worked as a copywriter and English Teacher before coming to Spreadshirt as a writer. Now he is responsible for the teams that handle User Research & Experience, Copywriting & Translation, Photography, and central Design functions. It was his father who used to be quite ahead of the curve when it came to recycling and conscious shopping. This is how Dave developed a keen interest in environmental issues from an early age, not least because his travels to parts of the world – where the effects of unsustainable practices are quite visible – influenced his ecological awareness.

Spread Group: How do we define sustainability at Spread Group?

Dave Gorman: We see sustainability made up of three important pillars: environment, economy, society. While the environment is a huge factor on our minds and on our customers’ minds – the economic and societal sides of sustainability are a part of our responsibility that we feel we also need to contribute to. Under the environmental umbrella, we see our print-on-demand model as the basis for sustainable commerce. It goes along with where and how our products are sourced, how much of our product range is made up of eco-friendly products, the quality and longevity of our products, our use of packaging, and a number of other green initiatives. When it comes to the society, we look at both our responsibility to our employees across the planet and the responsibility for the kind of content that can be sold on our platform. And finally, we’re excited about our economic role of supporting small to medium sized businesses and independent designers. We empower them with a place to earn money selling online, as well as the other philanthropic campaigns to provide support to those in need.

Spread Group: What does sustainability mean to Spread Group?

Dave Gorman: Sustainability has been an important part of Spread Group from the very beginning. The core of our business model relies on the print-on-demand model. Compared to typical clothing companies, we only print and sell what is purchased, which prevents unsold overstock and reduces waste. While we’re proud of those roots, we’ve seen how important this topic is for our customers, our employees, and the environment itself. That’s why we look forward to doing even more to meet those challenges.

Spread Group: How do we promote sustainability at Spread Group?

Dave Gorman: We formed a task force, a cross-company team whose job it is to uncover more about the sustainable efforts we’re already making. And we also discover what else we can do, and then drive those new sustainability initiatives. While we’re proud of the things we’re already doing, we’re really excited to tackle problems around our carbon footprint, sourcing & supply chain, eco-friendly product range, packaging, and more.

Spread Group: What are the biggest challenges for an e-commerce company in the textile industry in terms of sustainability? How do we meet these challenges?

Dave Gorman: There are some very really tough challenges for e-commerce companies in the textile industry. It starts with where and how cotton is grown (or synthetic fibers are sourced), all the way to how customers use, reuse, and recycle these products. Our print-on-demand approach solves one of the biggest issues of overproduction and waste issues that fast fashion companies face. However, the questions of a) where and how our suppliers source their materials and b) what kind of packaging involved in shipping our products to customers remain the challenges we are more than willing to accept.

Spread Group:
What is your personal advice on how to be more sustainable in your everyday life?

Dave Gorman: As an individual you can live more sustainably, because you have the choice to reduce, reuse, and recycle. You can ask yourself, do I really need something? Where is it produced? And can the item it replaces be reused or recycled? There’s this great podcast series by Jane Goodalls Hopecast that I find very inspirational. She’s a scientist, activist, and amazing storyteller who takes a look at the adversities that the planet and environment face. What’s great about it is being given a view through the optimistic lens of how human spirit and hope can still make a difference. And it feels like her many experiences have made a difference already. I highly recommend it!

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Dave!

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Spreadshop Sends Feminist Messages with “Who Needs Feminism?”

Published 08. Mar 2021 in Brands Company
Spreadshop Sends Feminist Messages with “Who Needs Feminism?”

As a merchandise partner of the independent organization “Who Needs Feminism?”, Spreadshop supports the feminist movement with empowering messages on clothing and accessories.

Jasmin Mittag is convinced that activism can improve the world. Inspired by a campaign run by US students, she founded the initiative “Wer braucht Feminismus” (German: Who Needs Feminism?) in 2012. With a traveling exhibition, online workshops, a social media campaign, and a podcast, Jasmin Mittag and her team have since been calling on people to share their own ideas of feminism, and to share these via social networks. Around 3,000 supporters have already taken part in the campaign, including prominent voices such as Franziska Giffey (Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth), Birgit Schrowange (presenter), Cem Özdemir (politician of the German Greens), and Sookee (musician and activist).

Spreadshop Sends Feminist Messages with “Who Needs Feminism?”

Their newly opened Spreadshop makes feminist statements and sends them out on T-shirts and bags. At the same time, they support the “Who needs feminism?” initiative with every purchase made. The shop itself is 100 percent free of charge for the operators, relieving them of organizational tasks such as the production, shipping, payment processing, and customer service, which are handled by Spreadshop. “Everyone needs feminism. The concept stands for equal rights and self-determination. Still, outdated stereotypes often get in the way of an unbiased approach to feminist issues. With our modern designs, we want to show that engaging with feminism is fun and can enrich people’s lives tremendously. We use all proceeds from our shop to further develop our projects such as the traveling exhibition with new items,” says Jasmin Mittag, head of the campaign, who also operates as a speaker, lecturer and consultant.

However, the activists’ endeavors are also met with blunt opposition. During an incident in Hanover, their exhibition stand of their campaign was vandalized by supporters of the far right. The latter replaced feminist slogans with their own, “Nobody needs feminism! Go home to your stove!” But Jasmin Mittag and her team were undeterred and kept going. In the latest edition of their monthly podcast „Wer braucht Feminismus?“ (German: Who needs Feminism?), they talk to various guests about their take on feminism.