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Spreadshop Conquers the Podcast Merchandising market

Published 01. Mar 2021 in
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Spreadshop Conquers the Podcast Merchandising market

International podcast greats such as iJustine have launched their merchandising with Spreadshop. Numerous others are waiting in the virtual starting block to spread the word on merch.

A word of silver-tongued wisdom – the global podcast market is recording a revenue growth of polyglot dimensions. We stream those online audio clips to get entertained, informed and exchange ideas with like-minded people. The number of podcasts available online doubled last year, and it currently stands at an impressive 1,750,000.[1] Spreadshop – a Spread Group brand – has just attracted 30 podcasters from all over the world as its partners. Among these top podcasters rank American YouTube artist Justine Ezarik (better known as iJustine), the podcast label 4000hertz, and all podcast series of German weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT.

Bianca Jankovska – an Austrian freelance writer, columnist, lecturer, and social media concept developer – has recently opened her own Spreadshop. She has been publishing podcasts under her pseudonym Groschenphilosophin (German for “pennywise philosopher”) in Berlin and Vienna since 2014. In her podcast “Badass by Nature,” launched in 2019, she talks about changing career directions, and the happiness that comes with constantly reinventing ones range of tasks.

Spreadshop Conquers the Podcast Merchandising market
By customizing T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and accessories with quotes from her books, she illustrates how merch can easily be put to good use. “I was a bit skeptical about merchandising at first. Having my own web shop seemed like a very time-consuming idea. And I need my time for writing! Fortunately, all the organizational tasks such as production, sales, and customer service are taken care of by the Spreadshop staff. This allows me to fully concentrate on my creative work,” says Bianca Jankovska.

Melina Royer, digital entrepreneur and host of the “Still & Stark” podcast, can also gain additional reach and new listeners through her merchandising shop: “It creates a special bond when customers wear our messages on T-shirts and hoodies. This open commitment to our topics feels like a real appreciation of our work,” says Melina Royer, who is operating the “Still & Stark” brand alongside her husband Timon.

Marianne Gaborfi, Business Development Manager at Spreadshop, has accompanied many podcasters on their way to running their own merch shop. She knows that preparation is key when it comes to turning your merch shop into a success story: “When you open your Spreadshop, it’s important that podcasters take care of maximum exposure to their listeners. If they e.g. send out a newsletter every Wednesday, it may be a good idea to send it out on a Tuesday this time. This will make subscribers more curious about its content. Podcasters could also start a social media survey before launching the shop. What designs and what products does the community want? This kind of preparation will pay huge dividends in the end.”

  • Further image material
  • Collage podcast “Still & Stark” (Copyright Melanie Ziggel Pictures)

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Spreadshop Cooperation with Independent Authors and Publishers

Published 10. Feb 2021 in
Uncategorized
Spreadshop Cooperation with Independent Authors and Publishers

Spreadshop is expanding its network in the international book market. A cooperation with independent authors as well as medium-sized and independent publishers will promote print-on-demand self-publishing.

Spreadshop – a Spread Group brand – is opening a new chapter in cooperating with the book market. Around 30 new partners have already been acquired in 2020. Further international cooperation with independent authors and publishers will follow this year. Spreadshop’s online-shop system offers great advantages to promote merchandise, especially for the self-publishing industry.

“Independent authors invest lot of time and money to promote their work with matching merchandise. Running your own online shop with Spreadshop reduces some of the burden and supports the promotional objective of independent publishers. Spreadshop is 100 percent free of charge and takes care of storage, printing, shipping and customer service. Print-on-demand merchandise opens the door to bring about more visibility for the author, which is a great means of branding,” says Marianne Gaborfi, Business Development Manager of the Spreadshop business unit.

Fanny Bechert, a freelance author and speaker from Thuringia, released her first self-published novel in 2015. Today she is a regular author at Sternensand Verlag alongside other authors such as D. C. Odesza. Having only opened her Spreadshop in 2020, it has already turned into one of the most successful online shops in the German-speaking book sector. “I’m a publishing author and wouldn’t know how else to get my merchandise out to people. With Spreadshop, I only need to upload my images, and my readers can order my merch on demand. That’s what had me convinced!” says Fanny Bechert.

About $16 million were spent on e-books worldwide in 2020.[1] Since this format is also one of the most common publishing formats for self-publishers in an ever-growing market, it offers authors like Fanny Bechert and D. C. Odesza low barriers to enter and permeate the market. In doing so, readers can easily acquire the book and the merchandise from the same source at any given time.

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Julian de Grahl named new Spread Group CEO

Published 23. Dec 2020 in
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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

Published 15. Dec 2020 in
Uncategorized
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

Published 08. Dec 2020 in
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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.

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Now on Amazon: Customizable products from Spreadshirt

Published 01. Dec 2020 in
Uncategorized
Now on Amazon: Customizable products from Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt, a Spread Group brand, now offers customizable products on Amazon.

Amazon customers can now fill their shopping baskets with individually designed products by Spread Group. Spreadshirt, a brand of the Spread Group, now also offers customizable products on Amazon. The new service is aimed at customers who want to design products with their own texts, images or logos directly on Amazon. Until now, Amazon customers could only select and order pre-designed products from the Spreadshirt marketplace in different colors.

As it is typical for Spreadshirt, the design of the products is intuitive and easy to use: Using the “Customize Now” button, customers can upload their own designs and texts and place them on clothes and accessories. Customers in the USA, UK, France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany can choose from 20 different fonts and 18 font colors.

“External marketplaces, such as Amazon, offer us the chance to inspire customers with our products and services who have never had any contact with Spreadshirt before. With this new service, we can now offer them one of our core competencies: individual expression on products of all kinds. Customized items are more in vogue than ever and are in high demand during the Christmas season,” says Antje Naumann, Teamlead External Marketplace at Spread Group. “Our business unit is currently working at full speed to implement additional design functions for Amazon Custom,” adds Antje Naumann.

Products ordered via Amazon go through the same quality and design checks before they are printed and shipped, as well as platform internal orders at Spread Group. In addition, there is a 30-day right of exchange for the products.

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Spread Group launches PoD platform TeamShirts on the US market

Published 17. Nov 2020 in
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Spread Group launches PoD platform TeamShirts on the US market

Under the website TeamShirts.com, Spread Group now offers a Print-on-Demand (PoD) platform for the North American market, which is specially tailored to the needs of group orders. The new online offer is based on the e-commerce platform TeamShirts.de, which has been available to European customers since 2014.

After the market entry of the spin-off SPOD (Spreadshirt Print-on-Demand) in Europe, Spread Group has now reached another milestone in its expansion strategy. TeamShirts, the all-in-one solution for group orders, was successfully launched on the US market. Both brand launches clearly follow the multi-brand approach of promoting, strategically building and adapting high-turnover business areas within the group for different target markets.

“In six years, TeamShirts has established itself as an established player in the European PoD market. With growth of 60 percent last year, the time was right for a US market launch: our platform is perfect for American customers who live team culture like no other nation, both professionally and privately. We give you a ‘satisfaction guarantee’ for our online offer right from the start: Whether volume discounts, free graphic assistance or express delivery – we find a suitable solution for bulk buyers’ every need,” says Elmar Kühn, Director of TeamShirts Europe and project manager for the brand launch.

Everything from one source

This satisfaction guarantee is given on the basis of the broad-based company structure: Spread Group has a differentiated infrastructure which, with its own production facilities, designers and suppliers, can map all processes along the value chain itself. All group orders undergo multi-stage quality and design checks. If desired, the uploaded designs can be adapted or completely redesigned by the TeamShirts designers.

However, the platform’s intuitive user interface also makes it easy to create products yourself: player names, numbers and dress sizes are collected in one tool, based on the more than 35,000 free designs or your own motif and agreed with the group members via a sharing function. In the future, these design options are to be supplemented by a further printing technique: for some months now, European customers have been able to have their motifs embroidered on the products.

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Jürgen Krisch becomes Spread Group’s new CTO

Published 05. Nov 2020 in
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Jürgen Krisch becomes Spread Group’s new CTO

Spread Group strengthens its Management Board with Jürgen Krisch, who succeeds Guido Laures as Chief Technology Officer.

Today Spread Group appoints Jürgen Krisch as its new Chief Technology Officer. Jürgen Krisch will shape the organizational and strategic development of the IT department, together with the 100-strong team, to actively promote the Group’s continued growth. He succeeds Guido Laures, who is looking forward to new personal and professional challenges after seven years at Spread Group.

Krisch has been working at the interface between fashion and e-commerce for 24 years. Most recently he was head of the e-commerce IT department in the Witt Group, a member of the Otto Group. The autodidact started his career at Beate Uhse new media GmbH. After several years of self-employment as a consultant, he was recruited to manage the IT integration of customers from the fashion business at Arvato Bertelsmann.

“In my new position as CTO, I would like to build on the excellent structures and actively support our divisions with smart IT solutions. I am particularly keen to lead in an agile manner and support my employees in their personal development,” emphasizes Jürgen Krisch.

Philip Rooke, CEO of Spread Group, is looking forward to working with Krisch: “With his strong history in eCommerce expertise and his qualities as a leader, Jürgen will further expand our technological leadership within the industry. We have aggressive plans for expansion, and these will be driven by technology in our international platform. We are looking forward to his new ideas and analytical expertise!”

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Controversial Idea or Harmful Content?

Published 21. Oct 2020 in
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Controversial Idea or Harmful Content?

How the Spreadshirt community is helping to exclude hateful content and empower freedom of self-expression.

The right to freedom of self-expression is a fundamental part of our platform. We are firm believers in the power of freedom of expression and the strength it has to lift, enrich, and fortify the global community. At Spreadshirt, our five digital brands enable individuals and businesses to express themselves with print-on-demand products they can use, wear and carry.

The challenge comes at the line between controversial ideas and malicious intent. We acknowledge that where some people find a message provocative, others will not. So we have had to ask ourselves; what is hate speech or harmful content and how can we monitor it as an organisation? Our approach is to manage that boundary through our updated standards, an improved reporting process and the vigilance of our community.

Controversial Idea or Harmful Content?
We’ve learnt some lessons over the years about identifying and managing hateful content. It’s an ongoing process for us, but three things we’ve learnt are; that context is key, online and in real life are linked and it’s an ongoing process.

Context is everything.
Developments online and in real life can turn a design or a word from innocuous to inflammatory. We are often alerted to a shift like this by our community and we invite them to get in touch if they see something suspect on the Spreadshirt platform. Every product has a report flag. When someone reports a product as not meeting our standards we review it to determine whether it contravenes our community standards and therefore what action to take.

For example, We have recently removed designs that include the American Confederate flag. Many regions across the world have local symbols of identity. These emblems can be fairly neutral for years. Then real life events change and they become associated with a toxic viewpoint or violence. Recent developments in the USA mean that the Confederate flag has become overtly, and consistently, associated with hate speech and violence. So we have taken the flag down.

Online and In Real Life are linked.
The speed of online content gives it a greater ability to spread hateful content; but real life is where that hate has a physical effect. Spreadshirt has a foot in both camps; whilst we operate online, our aim is to enable self-expression in real life.

We encourage our community to let us know about these connections. One user alerted us to the public comments that Heinz-Christian Strache was making in his bid to become Mayor of Vienna.

Although the Strache campaign’s Spreadshirt shop consistent mostly of bland ‘Team Strache’ style t-shirts, his online comments were considered like to incite hatred and violence. So despite the fact that the slogans didn’t appear in an online design, we took down the shop.

Online and offline of course are connected, but print-on-demand means that the design only exists in real life if someone orders it. So if we find a design or slogan that breeches our community standards and remove it, we are not left with a pile of unsellable t-shirts. Our five brands empower self-expression on demand, and so the core of our business model is that we only print something when a customer orders it.

It’s an ongoing process.

Managing the line between controversial ideas and harmful content involves a series of measures. Reviewing reported words is one challenge; reviewing reported symbols and images is another level of complexity. To do this we set Community Standards and explain our approach. This helps to prevent hateful content appearing on the website in the first place and keeps tabs on the changing context of any words, symbols, or even, in the case of QAnon, individual letters! We also involve the Spreadshirt community, asking them to report anything they think is suspect.

Controversial Idea or Harmful Content?
This level of management has to be balanced with the importance of speed in getting ideas online. We have an average of 20,000 designs uploaded a day (roughly 10m in 2019). So, we usually allow designs to go up if the partner confirms they have the right to do so, accepts our T&Cs and if they pass the image recognition filters. Designs can also be reviewed manually which happens when the filter finds a potential infringement.

If every image had to be scrutinised by a committee before they appeared online it would prevent positive campaigns, like Black Lives Matters, from gathering momentum through real life expressions of support.

We are working towards being the company we want to be and it’s definitely an ongoing process for all platforms. We will continue to remove content and accounts that go against our values and standards. We will continue to check the context and the boundaries when it comes to our attention. We will continue to support and stand up for the freedom of self-expression.

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Spreadshirt continues North-American success story in Europe

Published 21. Oct 2020 in
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Spreadshirt continues North-American success story in Europe

Business Unit SPOD launches in Europe

Spreadshirt’s latest spin-off SPOD (Spreadshirt Print-on-Demand) is taking off in Europe and is now available in the Shopify app store. SPOD is a quick and easy POD dropshipping application for apparel and accessories. With SPOD, both offline companies and e-commerce shops can expand their product range with merchandising products in just a few steps and at no additional cost.

The SPOD application includes an embedded personalization tool (customizer), a constantly growing library of over 50,000 free designs and a range of currently more than 100 high-quality apparel and accessories. Printing is done on-demand in Leipzig (Germany), Krupka (Czech Republic) or Legnica (Poland) with Spreadshirt’s 18 years of experience in the background. The products are shipped worldwide.

Constantly growing success
SPOD was launched in North America in December 2018 and is already ranked as the second-best print-on-demand provider by Shopify. With production times of less than 48 hours for over 97 % of orders and return rates of <1 %, SPOD has already made its mark in terms of speed, quality and reliability. Especially during Corona SPOD has shown to be pandemic-proof. “With the increasing popularity of dropshipping in Europe, the interest in fast, reliable print-on-demand options for apparel and accessories is also growing. The market development and the seamless integration with Shopify make us very confident that in a few months we will be among the market leaders in this field not only in the US but also in Europe,” comments Robert Schulz, Director Fulfillment Business, on the launch of SPOD in Europe.

Shopify is also excited about the partnership: “Shopify wants to make it as easy as possible for people to build their own business and become entrepreneurs. With a strong local print-on-demand partner such as SPOD, the path to your own clothing or personalization brand is even easier. We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with SPOD in Europe,” said Linda Guddat, Business Development Manager at Shopify.

Based on almost two years of market experience in North America, SPOD will continue to focus on crisis-proof, above-average production speeds, competitive pricing and the integrated personalization tool (Customizer), which is unique in the market.