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Gunter Nickel Takes the Helm at Spreadshirt Marketplaces

June 09, 2021 in Company Press Releases
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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

Silke Möller

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Spread Group signs Diversity Charter

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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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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.

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.

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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 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:

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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.

“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.

  • 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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Der Bereich des Feel-Good-Managements erlebt vor dem Hintergrund von mobilem Arbeiten, virtuellen Teammeetings und Home-Schooling derzeit einen neuen Aufschwung. Die Spread Group stellt sich diesen Herausforderungen und begrüßt die neue Feel Good Managerin Nelly Flieger.

Mit Nelly Flieger gewinnt die Spread Group eine erfahrene und aufgeschlossene Gesundheitstrainerin zur Erweiterung der unternehmensinternen Feel-Good-Aktivitäten. Die gebürtige Leipzigerin ist seit 2016 in ihrer Heimat als Yogatrainerin sowie als Fitness- und Ayurveda-Lifestyle-Coach selbstständig. Seither verfolgt sie die Vision, Menschen mit ihrer Arbeit gesünder und glücklicher zu machen. In ihrer Tätigkeit als neue Feel Good Managerin bei der Spread Group fokussiert sie einen gesundheitsbewussten und ganzheitlichen Ansatz und lässt diesen in die Angebote einfließen.

Feel Good Aktivitäten in Zeiten von Home-Office und virtueller Zusammenarbeit – die Spread Group holt sich personelle Verstärkung und erweitert ihr Angebot

Ursprünglich kommt die 34-Jährige aus der Branche der Verpackungs- und Drucktechnik. Nebenher widmet sich die studierte Verpackungsingenieurin bereits seit ihrer Jugend dem Sport- und Gesundheitsbereich und hat u. a. als Fitnesstrainerin im Ausland gearbeitet. Das Feel-Good-Angebot der Spread Group, das sich seit 2011 auf das Wohlbefinden, die Kultur und das Gemeinschaftsgefühl der über 400 Kolleg*innen am Standort in Leipzig konzentriert, hat Nelly Flieger als Außenstehende stets sehr interessiert verfolgt. In ihrer Rolle als Feel Good Managerin möchte sie ihr Wissen aus der Industrie- und der Gesundheitswelt vereinen und neue Akzente der Achtsamkeit und Bewegung setzen.

Ich sehe es als Chance und Herausforderung zugleich, in meiner neuen Position remote zu starten und ausgewählte Feel-Good-Aktivitäten in dieser bewegten Zeit vorerst ins Virtuelle zu überführen. Ich setze mich aktuell intensiv mit der Frage auseinander, wie man die Feel-Good-Kultur auch aus der Ferne aufrechterhalten und weiter aufleben lassen kann. Dafür muss ich zu Beginn sehr offen sein und viel zuhören, um ein Angebot schaffen zu können, was alle Spreadster in der derzeitigen Situation glücklicher, zufriedener macht und das Wir-Gefühl bestärkt. Nur so können wir im Umkehrschluss ausgeglichener und auch leistungsfähiger sein“, sagt Nelly Flieger.

Die ersten Aktionen hat die Leipzigerin bereits ins Leben gerufen, wie die virtuell stattfindenden Yoga-, Stretching- als auch bewussten Atempausen, die unter der Woche fast täglich angeboten werden. Im neu eröffneten internen Feel-Good-Chat werden die Themen Achtsamkeit und Bewegung im Alltag besprochen, um auch dem ständigen Sitzen im Home-Office entgegenzusteuern. Angesichts der aktuellen Herausforderungen rund um Home-Schooling und Kinderbetreuung von Zuhause hat Nelly Flieger auch ein Angebot für Mitarbeitende mit Kindern geschaffen. Zusammen mit der IT-Abteilung wurden Notebooks als Leihgabe zur Verfügung gestellt, interne Kreative der Spread Group haben ein Malbuch angefertigt und einmal pro Woche lädt die Feel Good Managerin zur virtuellen Kinderdisco und zum Kinderyoga ein.

„Wir feiern dieses Jahr unser 10-jähriges Feel-Good-Jubiläum bei der Spread Group. Nelly stellt mit ihrer vielseitigen Expertise eine perfekte Ergänzung für unsere bisherige Arbeit dar. Gemeinsam werden wir die Feel-Good-Aktivitäten nun auch im virtuellen Bereich auf ein neues Level heben, denn das geistige und körperliche Wohlbefinden sowie das Gemeinschaftsgefühl im Team sind die Basis unserer Unternehmenskultur“, sagt Theresa Kretzschmar, Personalchefin der Spread Group.

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Mehr zur neuen Feel Good Managerin Nelly Flieger, zu ihrer Person und ihrer Arbeit bei der Spread Group, gibt es im Interview zu lesen.

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Julian de Grahl named new Spread Group CEO

December 21, 2020 in Company Insights Press Releases
Julian de Grahl named new Spread Group CEO

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.

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Dennis Doerfl takes over leadership of Spreadshop

December 15, 2020 in Company Insights Press Releases
Dennis Doerfl takes over leadership of Spreadshop

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.

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Spread Group and Warner Bros. expand licensing partnership

December 08, 2020 in Company Press Releases
Spread Group and Warner Bros. expand licensing partnership

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.