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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.

FURTHER LINKS

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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!

Meinungsfreiheit ist ein Menschenrecht, das sich nicht von selbst schützt. Als Partner der ersten Woche der Meinungsfreiheit in Deutschland möchten wir mit unserem Bekenntnis zur Meinungsvielfalt dazu beitragen, das Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit sichtbarer zu machen. #MehrAlsMeineMeinung

Die Spread Group steht ein für die Meinungsfreiheit und den kreativen (Selbst)Ausdruck. Wir möchten die freie Meinungsäußerung und Meinungsvielfalt ermöglichen. Deshalb drucken wir fast alle Motive, die auf unseren Plattformen hochgeladen werden, ganz gleich, ob sie uns als Unternehmen oder Einzelpersonen gefallen oder nicht. Natürlich gibt es Richtlinien, die wir für unsere Community aufstellen. So lehnen wir Designs ab, die illegale oder hetzerische Inhalte (Hate Speech) verbreiten, zu Gewalt aufrufen, pornografisch sind oder schädigende, irreführende Inhalte unterstützen.

Woche der Meinungsfreiheit - Diskriminierung passt nicht auf ein T-Shirt


Für uns sind Kleidung und Accessoires Medien zum (Selbst)Ausdruck. Jeder Mensch sollte die Möglichkeit haben, auf diesem Weg seine Ideen in die Welt zu tragen. Deshalb sind wir eine offene Plattform, offen für Meinungsvielfalt.

Wir mögen vielleicht nicht alle Ansichten, die bei uns hochgeladen werden, denn Ansichten sind subjektiv und stimmen nicht immer mit unserem persönlichen Blick auf die Welt überein. Deine, meine oder deren Meinungen beruhen auf Emotionen, Erfahrungen, Bildung, Religion oder auch Angst. Toleranz ist gefragt und essentiell wichtig.

Aber es gibt auch Gesetze und Richtlinien und somit haben Rassismus, Sexismus, Hetze oder die Diskriminierung von Religionen oder Sexualitäten bei uns keinen Platz. Hierfür haben wir unsere Community Standards aufgestellt, die deutlich machen, welche Inhalte wir nicht dulden.

In einigen Fällen ist der Kontext eines Inhalts der Schlüssel zum Verständnis. Wir ermutigen unsere Community, dies zu beachten und Designs zu melden, die Ihrer Meinung nach gegen unsere Community-Standards verstoßen. Wir nehmen jede Meldung über ein Design, ein Produkt oder einen Shop ernst; wir recherchieren den Fall gründlich und ziehen gegebenenfalls Experten hinzu, bevor wir entsprechende Maßnahmen ergreifen.
Die Realität kann zum Teil so komplex sein, dass gleichwertige Beobachtungen aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven widersprüchlich erscheinen können oder die Bedeutung eines Wortes oder Symbols sich in kürzester Zeit in eine gegensätzliche Richtung ändert.

Ein Design, dass gestern noch Teil der Meinungsvielfalt war, kann morgen schon die Meinungsfreiheit unterwandern. Diese Entwicklungen müssen wir stets im Blick haben und ihnen mit offenen Augen begegnen. Wenn wir uns fortlaufend mit einer toleranten Haltung weiterbilden und lernen, können wir die offene Plattform bleiben, die wir für alle sein möchten. So wurden beispielsweise im letzten Jahr über 10 Millionen neue Designs von einer Vielzahl talentierter Designer bei uns hochgeladen und mehrere Millionen Kunden haben ein Produkt gestaltet und gekauft, das sie in ihrem Selbstausdruck bestärkt.

Revolution zum Markenstart: Partnerschaft mit Kampagne #CreateYourRevolution

Ab sofort firmiert Spreadshirts Shop-Sparte unter dem Namen Spreadshop als eigenständige Marke. Der Roll-out in Europa folgt auf den erfolgreichen Softlaunch in den USA 2018.

Spreadshop ist für die Shopbetreiber völlig kosten- und risikofrei. Sie gestalten Merchandise auf über 130 personalisierbaren Produkten und verkaufen unter einer eigenen URL. Spreadshop kümmert sich um den Druck auf Bestellung, weltweiten Versand und Kundenservice in 12 Sprachen. Die Shopbetreiber können sich so ganz auf ihre Botschaft konzentrieren und verdienen pro Verkauf eine Provision. Spreadshop unterstützt sie bei ihrer Mission mit Tutorials, Marketingtipps und persönlichem Support.

Weltweit gibt es derzeit über 45.000 erfolgreich verkaufende Spreadshops zu Themen von Umweltschutz über Lifestyle bis Unterhaltung. Jeder Shop kann individuell angepasst sowie per Javascript-Integration oder WordPress-Plugin leicht in bestehende Websites integriert werden.

Wegweisend im E-Commerce: Seit 17 Jahren sind Shops Spreadshirts Spezialität

2002 hatten die Spreadshirt-Gründer die Vision, dass jeder – ob Privatperson, Aktivist oder Designer – einen eigenen Onlineshop eröffnen und betreiben kann. Weniger als ein Jahr nach der Einführung des damals wegweisenden Shopsystems zählte Spreadshirt bereits 100 Shops. Als einer der großen Namen nutzen seit Juni 2002 Ärzte ohne Grenzen die Möglichkeit, ihre Botschaft in die Welt zu tragen.

Beispiele für erfolgreiche Spreadshop-Betreiber sind:

Stoff für revolutionäre Botschaften: #CreateYourRevolution und Spreadshop

Die Leidenschaft für kreative Ideen und starke Botschaften treibt Spreadshop an. Deshalb ist das Online-Shopsystem stolzer Partner von #CreateYourRevolution, der diesjährigen globalen Kampagne der Frankfurter Buchmesse zusammen mit den Vereinten Nationen, ARTE und dem Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels.

„Demokratie und Meinungsfreiheit, Chancengleichheit und umweltpolitische Herausforderungen – wie ein Brennglas bündelt die Frankfurter Buchmesse die großen Themen der Gegenwart. Die Wirkungsmacht von Kultur bei Veränderungsprozessen wird dabei unterschätzt. Deshalb stellt die Frankfurter Buchmesse in diesem Jahr ihre Bühne den Menschen zur Verfügung, die sich weltweit engagieren“, fasst Juergen Boos, Direktor der Frankfurter Buchmesse, die Idee hinter #CreateYourRevolution zusammen.

Es gibt unglaublich viele AktivistInnen, AutorInnen und VordenkerInnen mit inspirierenden Botschaften und noch viel mehr AnhängerInnen, LeserInnen und Fans, die dafür brennen. Wir bieten allen die Möglichkeit, ihre Ideen mit Merchandise in die Welt zu tragen und so die Sichtbarkeit zu erhöhen“, erklärt Spreadshirt-CEO Philip Rooke.

Spreadshop unterstützt teilnehmende AktivistInnen aus aller Welt beim Aufsetzen ihres eigenen Onlineshops und betreut den offiziellen Merchandise-Shop von #CreateYourRevolution. Zudem ist Spreadshop auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse vor Ort und informiert über das kostenlose Shopsystem und die Vorteile des Druckens auf Bestellung. Live und zum Anfassen werden T-Shirts mit revolutionären Motiven bedruckt – zum Mitnehmen und sofort Anziehen.

„Zusammen mit unserem Partner Spreadshop setzen wir alles daran, dass die Ideen von Kreativen aus der ganzen Welt ein Forum bekommen, gesehen und gehört werden. In Frankfurt auf der Buchmesse. Und über die Onlineshops, mit deren Hilfe die Menschen Unterstützung für ihr revolutionäres Anliegen sammeln können“, umreißt Juergen Boos, Direktor der Frankfurter Buchmesse, die Partnerschaft mit Spreadshop.

Bildmaterial zum Download:

Weiterführende Links:

Über Spreadshop

Spreadshop ist ein führendes Online-Shopsystem powered by Spreadshirt. Völlig kosten- und risikofrei gestalten die Shopbetreiber Merchandise und verkaufen unter einer eigenen URL. Spreadshop kümmert sich um den Druck auf Bestellung, weltweiten Versand und Kundenservice in 12 Sprachen. Die Shopbetreiber können sich so ganz auf ihre Botschaft konzentrieren und verdienen pro Verkauf eine Provision. Spreadshop unterstützt sie bei ihrer Mission mit Tutorials, Marketingtipps und persönlichem Support.Weltweit gibt es derzeit über 45.000 erfolgreiche Spreadshops zu Themen von Umweltschutz über Lifestyle bis Unterhaltung. Jeder Shop kann individuell angepasst sowie per Javascript-Integration oder WordPress-Plugin leicht in bestehende Websites integriert werden. Mehr als 130 Produkte stehen zum Gestalten zur Verfügung. Shops sind seit der Unternehmensgründung 2002 ein Kern der Spreadshirt-Idee. Seit 2018 ist Spreadshop als eigene Marke der Spreadshirt-Gruppe aktiv.

Mehr Infos unter: www.spreadshop.com/de

Über #CreateYourRevolution

#CreacteYourRevolution ist die diesjährige globale Kampagne der Frankfurter Buchmesse, der Vereinten Nationen, von ARTE, Spreadshop und dem Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels. Auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 teilen und diskutieren SpeakerInnen und viele weitere kreative PionierInnen ihre inspirierenden Ideen zu Themen wie Aktivismus, Sprache, Leben mit Maschinen, Vertrauen, Zukunft, Identität, Nachhaltigkeit und Bildung mit dem internationalen Publikum. #CreateYourRevolution will dazu beitragen, Kultur den Stellenwert zurück zu geben, der ihr zusteht: Sie ist das Rückgrat unserer Gesellschaft, sie vermittelt Orientierung und Zugehörigkeit. Kultur stellt den Rahmen für interkulturellen Austausch, globale Interaktion und damit zur Gestaltung einer lebenswerten und hoffnungsvollen Zukunft.

Mehr zur Kampagne unter: www.buchmesse.de/highlights/create-your-revolution

 

The Spread Group’s Spreadshirt Create-Your-Own brand is reviving the embroidery-look trend by launching embroidery textile finishing in all its European markets. 

The embroidery refinement technique has just been adopted by Spreadshirt’s Create-Your-Own brand. At the Spread Group’s site in Leipzig, the research and development team has put embroidery’s functionality and versatility to extensive tests in recent months. Convinced of the enormous durability of the textile refinement method, a pool of Tajima’s highly automated embroidery machines has been put into motion. Now Spreadshirt is offering embroidery in all its European markets, and thereby expanding its existing range of classic digital and foil printing techniques.

Spreadshirt führt Veredlungsart „Stick“ ein und mischt das Offline-Stickgeschäft auf

Embroidery impresses with durability and exclusive properties

Embroidery not only looks classy due to its vibrant appearance, but also convinces in terms of enormous durability. The finishing allows washing fabrics of up to 60°C (140°F) and is just as durable as the clothing itself,” says Tobias Beutel, Director of Personalization Services at Spreadshirt Create-Your-Own. These high-quality features are in particularly high demand in the business customer sector. Whether in the catering industry, at events or in customer service, embroidered workwear with company logos or slogans conveys exclusivity and quality.

The demand for embroidery designs in individual orders and gift orders keeps increasing, and the design options for any occasion are huge. Currently, 50 products from Spreadshirt’s range can be embroidered with custom text. To be able to offer customers an even wider selection of items that can be embroidered, Spreadshirt’s range is constantly being expanded. In addition to the current embroidery bestsellers such as hoodies, polo shirts, caps, and aprons, a variety of (fleece) jackets and workwear will be added to the product range. Gift items such as custom towels and bathrobes are also in the pipeline.

Embroidery is key to future market success

The potential of the embroidery refinement technology is immense. In 2019, embroidery accounted for over 40% of the total customized apparel market. At the moment, this is still a strongly offline-oriented market. As a successful e-commerce platform, we want to mix this up and transfer embroidery into the online world with a versatile product selection and attractive pricing,” says Tobias Beutel.

The next steps have already been planned. More highly automated embroidery machines will soon be installed at the Spread Group’s production facilities in Europe and the USA. In the recently opened new production at the site in Legnica (Poland), the first machines will be put into operation in May 2021.

More information:

Image material to download

(Copyright: Spread Group)

Spreadshirt’s Marketplace has a lot to offer. Next to offering a home to more than ten million crowd-sourced designs ― contributed by some of the web’s most talented independent designers ― it highlights the diversity of our international community of partners. This series present the Designer of the Month.

APRIL

Be a hero for the earth! Meet the eco-friendly Designer of the Month @wirfuerdieerde who fights for animal rights and environmental protection. Her designs inspire climate positive actions for our planet.

More great designs against plastic pollution, animal testing and Co. can be discovered on the showroom of wirfuerdieerde.


MARCH

Designer of ther Month March MYINKI

On occasion of Women’s Month we are featuring an empowering Designer of the Month! MYINKI is a French Spreadshirt Designer who puts women at the front and center of her designs!

MYINKI’s designs are stunning and empowering. You will fall in love with her illustrations when scrolling through her Instagram feed.


FEBRUARY

In the Spotlight: The Marketplace Designer of the Month February Lobitos

February is often known for being a month dedicated to love. Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th) and Love Your Pet Day (Feb 20th) are less than one week apart! Is that a coincidence? When talking about the Designer of the Month in February, Lobitos, we know that greyhounds have found their way into her heart.

Lobitos inspires with imaginative and colorful designs for dog, cat, and bird lovers.


JANUARY

Designer of the Month January 2021 Strandmuschel

The German designer Strandmuschel kicks off the series with their playful and wintery designs that have an appeal for adults and children alike.

Strandmuschel this or that

Strandmuschel Winter foy

These fanciful images will make even those who are no winter fans fall in love with the cold season. Don’t you agree?

Penguin ice skating design from Strandmuschel

polar bear and comet design from Strandmuschel

Spread Group’s Polish production moves to a new location and expands its capacity and technical park.

Spread Group has opened a new production facility in Legnica, Poland. After 13 years in the north of the city, the company is moving into a state-of-the-art new hall in the Panattoni Park in the south of Legnica. With a total area of almost 11,000 m², the new building offers space for an enlarged warehouse, expanded machinery with different printing technologies, and more office space.

New Spread Group production in Legnica

New production facility becomes European central warehouse

The new location helps us optimize our European logistics. From now on, Legnica will serve as the central warehouse for our production in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Poland. We currently have around 4,500 storage locations for products. We are now able to double or even triple this capacity. The move was a real team effort! I am very proud of the entire team who, despite the circumstances over the last 12 months, got our new, strategically important production facility up and running on schedule,” says Hanne Dinkel, Spread Group’s Chief Customer Delivery Officer.

The investment and the move to the new building also underline Spread Group’s commitment to the region and the expansion of its printing technologies. In addition to machinery of refinement methods such as foil printing, thermal sublimation, poster and sticker printing, additional state-of-the-art digital-direct printers have been installed. Newly developed machines for printing on polyester products and machines for embroidering clothing will be moving into the site in the near future.

Logistical advantages in every respect

The production hall and warehouse are now located on one level, which optimizes and simplifies the entire organization and production. In addition, our new location now boosts very good transport links to the highway, which will benefit our suppliers, logistics service providers, and our colleagues,” says Ewa Ziemba, Director Production in Legnica.

Currently, around 200 colleagues work in production in Legnica, some of whom have been working there for many years. With this move, Spread Group has been able to recruit new employees. The team is also looking for further reinforcements on site – from seasonal workers to new specialists.

The production facility in Legnica is one of five Spread Group production sites. In 2020, a total of 9.8 million products were printed at the various sites and shipped to customers worldwide. The print-on-demand provider plans to further increase the number of printed products in 2021. With the new facilities at the Legnica site, the company is ideally positioned to achieve this goal.

About the new production facility in Legnica:

Image material to download

(Copyright: Spread Group)

Spread Group appoints Dr. Julian de Grahl as CEO of the company. The new CEO brings with him almost 20 years of experience in the internet industry and listed companies. He has been Managing Director at CTS EVENTIM since 2012, and was previously 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 (business administration) in Hamburg and Cape Town and earned his doctorate at the University of Hamburg.

Spread Group CEO Dr. Julian de Grahl

“Under Philip Rooke’s leadership, Spread Group has developed from a start-up to a highly profitable industry leader. I have great respect for this achievement. I am very excited to continue this growth trajectory together with a sensational team and to set new stimuli,” says the new Spread Group CEO Dr. Julian de Grahl.

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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!

  • 2020 ends with revenues up 33 percent and nearly 10 million products shipped
  • Dr. Julian de Grahl succeeds Philip Rooke at the helm of the company

The 2020 financial year was a record year for Europe’s leading print-on-demand provider. Spread Group continued its profitable growth course in the year of its coming of age – it was founded 18 years ago under the name Spreadshirt. The figures for 2020 show revenues of $195 million, representing growth of 33 percent on the previous year. A total of 9.8 million products were printed and shipped to customers in over 170 countries. With these annual results, outgoing CEO Philip Rooke hands over the baton to Dr. Julian de Grahl, who will take over management of the group on April 1.

Spread Group 2020 in Numbers

“Nobody would have thought it possible to end the year with record sales and profits in the spring of 2020, when the corona virus pandemic overshadowed everything. Thanks to our great team and flexibility as an organization, we were able to adapt our business to the new circumstances. We introduced new products in a very short time and adapted our offer to the target groups and their demand. As a result, we were able to benefit greatly from last year’s e-commerce boom. We close 2020 as probably the healthiest company in our industry,” summarizes Philip Rooke, CEO of Spread Group.

Growth drivers: individual orders, stickers and YouTube integration

The drivers of success were individual and gift orders at Spreadshirt Marketplaces, Spreadshop and SPOD. Spreadshirt Marketplaces alone achieved year-on-year revenue growth of over 65 percent. In addition to numerous licensed designs, such as “Harry Potter” designs relating to current social and political events, such as “Black Lives Matter,” were high in demand on the marketplaces. In addition, there was a sales boom in stickers after their platform-wide launch in the second half of the year.

In the Spreadshop division, the shops of social media influencers and activists such as “Reclaim your Power” or “1 Billion Rising” were particularly popular. Another driver has been Spreadshop’s integration with YouTube, which was concluded at the end of the year. It sets new standards in merchandising sales. Through Spreadshop’s integration with YouTube, creators can design their fan merchandise on the industry’s largest assortment (130+ products) and offer it directly under their videos and in their YouTube store tab.

Change at the top of the company

Philip Rooke had already announced last year that he wanted to take on new professional challenges after a good ten years at the helm of Spread Group. His successor was already announced in December.

Dr. Julian de Grahl brings with him almost 20 years of experience in the internet industry and listed companies. He has been Managing Director at CTS EVENTIM since 2012, and was previously 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 (business administration) in Hamburg and Cape Town and earned his doctorate at the University of Hamburg.

“Under Philip Rooke’s leadership, Spread Group has developed from a start-up to a highly profitable industry leader. I have great respect for this achievement. I am very excited to continue this growth trajectory together with a sensational team and to set new stimuli,” says the future Spread Group CEO Dr. Julian de Grahl.

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(Copyright: Spread Group)

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