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Lena joined Spread Group 7 years ago, when it was still known as Spreadshirt. Starting out in customer service, she then moved on to become communications manager at Spreadshop. In the summer of 2021 Lena made the switch to Product Management where she is now the Product Owner for SPOD.

How would you describe your role at Spread Group?

Lena: It’s now been 7 years in total for me here, but I’ve been the Product Owner for SPOD since last summer. I guess you could say I’ve come full circle. Just after I started here, during one of my first feedback sessions, the question popped up: which of the other roles at the company interest me? My answer was clear: Product Management. Right from the get-go I was fascinated by the work of product owners. A colleague from back then whose role I found particularly interesting is now my boss.

Can you sum up your job in 3 sentences?

Lena: As the SPOD product owner I am the one who connects the businesses with our IT department. My job is to aid the continuous development of SPOD and to make sure the customers’ wishes and business goals are achieved. SPOD connects e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce or Squarespace with our Print-on-Demand Production sites. Merchants can showcase their own designs on clothes and accessories. Orders which have been placed via the SPOD application are then printed by us and sent to the customer in the name of the respective merchant.

What’s the best thing about your job as a product owner?

Lena: Simply put, my role as a Product Owner is a lot of fun. Programming fascinates me, but I actually can’t code. However, there are definitely elements of programming in my current role. You also get the chance to work, as a team, step-by-step towards a goal, on things like new features that customers have been asking for. We plan it, program it, then check it. In the end, there is a result of work we’ve all combined for. That’s what attracts me the most.

What kind of skills do you need for the job?

Lena: If you’re not into organization and problem-solving, this isn’t the job for you. When you’re getting inundated confronted daily with bugs, feedback and new information you should always remain conscious of the main goals; the development and improvement of the products. Yet to find the best solutions, you still need a certain degree of diplomacy and mediation skills, especially when mediating between UX, Frontend and Backend.

What did you want to be when you were young?

Lena: Honestly, I can’t actually remember. But admittedly, it probably wasn’t a Product Owner (laughs). I had absolutely no experience in IT or software development before I started at Spread Group, and during my studies, I was still undecided what my next step would be. That’s the great thing about the jobs here, they’re so diverse. Everything is possible, from in house software development and production to business analytics.

What would be your dream job?

Lena: It was clear as I started at Spread Group 7 years ago that I wanted to get a foot in the door of the tech world and develop my skills from there on. Of course, I can use all the skills I have acquired in other areas or for a different purpose, but I wouldn’t want to choose any other job at the moment. Moreover, the team at SPOD is strong and very international. Everyone is into the job and even though some of us have ever never met in person, it just clicks.

🚀 P.S.: We are currently looking for Product Owners (f/m/d) in the area of User Management. Do you want to be part of a design-driven team and create the best possible user experience alongside developers and other product managers like Lena? Then apply now!

Success is part of her daily business: For nine years, Brooke Miller has been passionately supporting our Spread Group customers with maintaining the success of their merchandising business. As the North American Key Account Manager of Spreadshop, Brooke is dedicated to strengthening the relationships that our top sellers have with the Spreadshop brand through proactive communication, strategy, and motivation.

Her own professional career is also a success story: Brooke started as a graphic design intern at Spreadshirt in 2013, where she created custom apparel designs and online merch stores for our key accounts. The print-on-demand industry gave Brooke the opportunity to combine her passions for art and fashion in a fast-paced modern industry. She developed in her area of responsibility from classic graphic design to key account management and community management. In our CSR initiative “Committed to a Greener Future”, she is one of the most committed voices for sustainable business development of the Spreadshop brand.

Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?

Brooke Miller: I would define my personal views on sustainability as conscious living and considering how your actions affect the world outside of your own existence.

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

Brooke Miller: Awareness. Staying up to date on social topics, culture, politics, etc. It’s easier to be sensitive to sustainability if you’re aware of how it impacts current reality.

Spread Group: What sustainability projects have you and your team already implemented?

Brooke Miller: As a company, Spread Group just launched the SpreadPeace campaign. It’s a Spreadshop with designs that promote global peace and all proceeds earned in the shop go to Caritas Wien, an organization on the ground in Ukraine helping distribute necessities.

Late last year, we also participated in MrBeast’s TeamSeas campaign to raise money to remove trash from the oceans. $1 from every bottle sold in every Spreadshop removed one pound of garbage for the duration of the campaign.

Our business model overall promotes sustainability. We never print until an order is placed, so no product is created unless it has a guaranteed home. We donate nearly all of our returned products to local charities. Our digital printers use vegan inks. Our production process is almost paperless. We have a long way to go, but I’m proud to work for a company who is constantly implementing more ways to be more sustainable.

Spread Group: What specific sustainability goals have you set for yourself?

Brooke Miller: Currently and in the near future we will hold interactive workshops with a focus on the social sustainability pillars that can include, creator mental health and social responsibility within the print-on-demand market.

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

Brooke Miller: Make small changes in your everyday life. Be kind and sensitive. Volunteer. Donate to charity. Instead of scrolling past posts you see about world news, stop for a second and take it in. It’s hard to stay aware because there’s so much bad news, but there are so many good things we can all do to make a difference.

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Brooke!

Related links
Corporate Social Responsibility at Spread Group: www.spreadgroup.com/sustainability

All proceeds of the shop go to the Caritas Ukraine Aid

The war has been raging in Ukraine for over 40 days. We are speechless at the sight of the violence and the humanitarian catastrophe. The footage in the media is hard to watch, and it is even harder to just stand idly by. Many of our colleagues have joined initiatives to coordinate donations in kind and drive to the borders with Ukraine to deliver them. Others host people seeking protection. We as a company have organized fundraising campaigns to provide direct support to Ukrainian families who have arrived at our production site in Legnica (Poland). Solidarity is key in times like these.

As an e-commerce and design platform, we have experienced how great the desire is to express solidarity on clothing and accessories. The demand for designs and products supporting the cause of Ukrainians in distress is strong, and it has become quite clear that people wish for nothing but a peaceful outcome. There have been over 10,000 newly uploaded designs with graphics in blue and yellow, the hashtag #StandWithUkraine and the ‘No War’ typography. Customers favor stickers and T-shirts to take the message to the streets.

The team at our Leipzig headquarters was able to support several local initiatives, such as the Humanitarian Aid Ukraine e.V., the FAIRbund e.V. as well as the Leipzig Crowd, a project of the city of Leipzig and Leipziger Group. And the desire to take the initiative ourselves has taken on a concrete shape:

The idea for the #spreadPeace campaign was initiated to take a stance for peace and freedom while supporting the people in Ukraine. We set up a charity shop featuring a great variety of designs centered around topics such as humanity, peace, freedom, and Ukraine. All proceeds will go directly to the Caritas Wien Ukraine Aid. Caritas is one of the largest aid organizations in the world and has been active for many years. We are proud to partner up with Caritas and donate 100% of the proceeds from the shop to people in need. In doing so, everyone can make a donation through the purchase of a product and then further spread the message on T-shirts, stickers, and more – everywhere in the world. Please take a look at our European #spreadPeace shop and our International shop for the USA and Australia.

Further links:

Spread Group is currently replacing its plastic packaging used for shipping with recyclable paper bags in Europe. Paper bags will have replaced all plastic consignments as a part of the sustainability initiative Committed to a Greener Future by the end of 2022. Large shipping bags used for bigger items or orders containing several products have already been shipped in 100% recycled paper bags since January this year.

The mailers have been embellished with both info text and distinctive design elements making a case for environmentally friendly shipping. The sturdy bags can be used several times before they being recycled in an eco-conscious way. The quest to find the perfect bags has taken several months, including a research phase and trial shipments. Once the European switch to plastic-free packaging will be complete by the end of 2022, we will tackle North American consignments next. It is our aim to go completely plastic free globally by the end of 2025.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. After working in England and France, Jozef Šalka found his way to our production site in Krupka (Czech Republic) in 2016. “I actually only wanted to work in the Czech Republic for a year, but then I met my wife here,” laughs Jozef.

His many years abroad have strengthened his desire to lead a diverse team in an international company. In six years, the native Slovakian has risen from production worker to site manager and is grateful for this fork in the road: “I have been given a great opportunity for further development at Spread Group. As site manager, I now work with my team to achieve the best output and high product quality for our group. Last year, we broke our own record with 3.2 million products shipped.” Jozef is still working towards his personal goals: After hours, he is studying Public Administration and Regional Development at the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague.

Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?

Jozef Šalka: Less is more. I am firmly convinced that too much consumption harms us and makes us unhappy in the long run. In order to appreciate the value of goods, I recently rented an allotment garden near our apartment. Our family now plant vegetables there. It’s important to me that my son learns how time-consuming gardening is and how much better his own vegetables taste in the end. In my childhood, we always planted everything ourselves. It’s a shame, really, that this tradition has been lost …

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

Jozef Šalka: I want my children to live in an intact and healthy environment. For this, I would like to serve as a role model for them, without lecturing them. Everyone has to find their own way to live a little more sustainably. One person does without meat, the other avoids plastic bags. I myself have noticed that we do a lot of things simply out of habit, without reflecting on our behavior: Because of my wife, for example, I now eat much less meat and feel much healthier as a result.

Spread Group: What sustainability projects have you and your team already implemented?

Jozef Šalka: We are strongly committed to recycling, which is why we have established a code system that allows our service providers to more clearly distinguish all the ink cartridges from our printers and start reusing them. Like our Polish colleagues, we have also switched to paperless production: Instead of routing slips with three sheets of paper per order, we use sticker sheets with 30 stickers each. With one sheet of paper, we can process 10 orders. We also print exclusively with vegan ink in our water-saving printing systems from Kornit Digital. The switch to reusable paper shipping bags is brand new: we want to do away with plastic bags altogether by the end of this year!

Spread Group: What specific sustainability goals have you set for yourself?

Jozef Šalka: We have to move soon, as our factory is getting small for our 250 employees. When we build a new factory building, we will think more about sustainability right from the start: solar panels on the roof and a system for collecting rainwater are high on my wish list. We are also currently in contact with a company that advises us on environmental issues.

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

Jozef Šalka: I don’t have any specific recommendations for other people, but I hope that I can inspire them. For example, our garden not only enriches our diet, but also has a positive effect on our well-being. In our fast-paced, digital world, it’s a nice feeling to create something with your hands and watch it slowly grow.

Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Jozef!

Related links

There are some 38,500 species left on our planet, and the orangutans of the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have been topping the list of those in danger of extinction for years. They are also listed in the Red List of the World Conservation Union IUCN. Organizations such as Orang-Utans in Not e. V. are firmly committed to saving these unique animals from extinction. To support their efforts, they offer their own merchandising as a source of funding.

Every encounter with orangutans is an emotional one, says Julia Cissewski, founder of the association “Orang-Utans in Not e. V.” and shop owner of the eponymous Spreadshop. “Watching orangutans in the wild is something very special. The mother-child relationship is one of the strongest in the animal world. The offspring learns everything necessary for an independent life from the mother in a matter of only about eight years.” But she also mentions some less-pleasing experiences, such as encounters with traumatized orangutan orphans whose mothers have been killed. “This unspeakable suffering cannot be put into words. Without our help, these animals would have no chance of survival in the wild,” said Julia Cissewski.

The lives of adult orangutans are also marked by the daily struggle for survival. Their situation has long been critical and is becoming increasingly dramatic. Unfortunately, the reasons here can be traced back to our consumer behavior. On the one hand, rainforests are being steadily decimated and sourced for tropical timber. On the other hand, the demand for raw materials such as palm oil – which is found in every other supermarket product – keeps increasing. Both factors have fatal effects on the rainforest, and in turn decimate the orangutan population. Markus Menke has intensively researched the consequences of palm oil production as project manager of the Replace PalmOil app, a barcode scanner for grocery products containing palm oil with a feedback function to the manufacturer. “Palm oil is the cheapest and most widely used vegetable oil in the world. Replacing it completely with other oils won’t solve the fundamental problem of overconsumption, since other vegetable oils also require cultivable areas that are often larger than those needed for the production of palm oil.“

The fate of the orangutans can only take a turn for the better if human behavior changes. The rainforest area that has been destroyed by our excessive overconsumption could be renatured if we were to put our consumption on a more sustainable track. This is the only way to protect the precious habitat of orangutans. And Orang-Utans in Not e. V., founded in 2007 by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, offers numerous opportunities to support private individuals and companies. On the association’s website, you will find all the information to become a sponsor or member, donate, and purchase merchandising products.

“Our Spreadshop has become an important source of funding for reforestation, reintroduction and education projects. All proceeds from our sales go completely into these projects. Through the shop, we also increase the visibility of our association, and our customers help us carry the message into the world,” says Julia Cissewski. Having become aware of the Spreadshop brand by a recommendation of another association in 2019, they particularly appreciate the fact that their own shop is 100 percent free of charge. All organizational tasks, such as the production of the articles, shipping, payment handling and customer service are taken over by Spreadshop. This is how Orang-Utans in Not e. V. can fully concentrate on the protection of orangutans.

Will we still be able to realize a turnaround in the treatment of the orangutan habitat? There are some positive signs. The natural habitat of orangutan is the rainforest, and the latter is at the core of climate protection. People are becoming more aware of the dramatic consequences of deforestation, not only because of the great apes in need of protection, but also in terms of climate change. Many people take to the streets in support of climate protection, and future generations will grow up with more a sustainable consumer behavior. And it is the target group of children and young people that the association’s educational events are aimed at, i.e. to elucidate that large-scale deforestation of tropical rainforests for the sake of palm-oil cultivation endanger orangutans. For the future of their association, Julia Cissewski and Markus Menke have a common wish: “We strive for a world in which associations like ours are no longer necessary, as people will have learned to adapt their actions to the environment – both on a global and local scale. We all need to assume responsibility for the world that surrounds us.”

Related links:
• Spreadhop of “Orang-Utans in Not e. V.”: www.orang-utans-in-not.myspreadshop.de
• Instagram channel: www.instagram.com/orang_utans_in_not
• Twitter channel: www.twitter.com/OrangUtansinNot
• Facebook channel: www.facebook.com/ouin.org
• Contact for event inquiries: kontakt@ouin.de or umweltbildung@ouin.de

Lisa Murray joined the Spreadshirt Marketplaces team as a visual designer in the fall of 2021. Spreadshirt is an independent brand of Spread Group, with Marketplaces connecting customer with a global community of designers. Most customers and Marketplace designers have already seen some of Lisa’s work, as she is in charge of creating various visuals for newsletters, socials, website, and more. We talked to her about her first months in her new job with us.

Hi Lisa! Do tell us – what made you join us?

I was looking for a company in Leipzig and found Spread Group. The major factor for joining the company was the international team and diverse working environment. Then I realized the company had a great set of values that I can really relate to. With almost 50% of women in management positions, there is also a focus on women in leadership roles at Spread Group. I think that’s pretty good.

Nice. And after you applied, was there anything about the hiring process that stood out?

The recruitment process was straightforward and quick. Everyone was super friendly. They helped with relocating to Leipzig, and I had enough time to sort things out. The prospect of starting a job in a new country can feel quite daunting and overwhelming at times, so I was glad they made it easy for me.

Good stuff! And in your day-to-day work – is there anything that gives you a buzz?

Every day I work on different projects. I get to tackle challenges that spurn my creativity. When I grew up, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be a teacher or rather an artist. Now I’m very happy that I went with a more artistic career path, and I would always choose a similar job over anything else. Design is just so much fun.

And tell us about your colleagues – who’s the craziest person you work with?

Everyone I work with is a bit crazy, like the whole design team! They have a super vivid imagination and create ideas 24/7. These people are really crazy (laughs). I find the atmosphere with designers from different departments here at Spread Group very inspiring. We get to meet once a week and share project updated and ideas. Within the Marketplaces Team, there is a small handful of us and that make for a lovely environment to share work-based ideas. In addition, I get to lend a hand to the licensing team with creating branded store visuals and many more super exciting tasks. Getting to work with famous brands is a lot of fun.

Last but not least: Are there any hidden talents or hobbies you’d like to share?

I speak Irish fluently and I make rugs. The latter is incredible time-consuming, but also very relaxing. Your mind can just let go. And I must admit I am a cycling addict. The Leipzig area is so nice and flat, which makes for a fantastic cycling ground.

Interested in joining #TeamSpreadGroup? Have a look at our career pages, as we are currently having many very exciting vacancies in different areas of the group.

Our customer service specialist Franziska Höntzsch didn’t let a rejection discourage her from getting started at the Spread Group in 2011 – back then as a “Christmas elf” in customer service. “I always wanted to work here, because I heard lots of good things about the international atmosphere. Of course, joining in the middle of the Christmas business is not for everyone. But I told myself: ‘yes, this is where I want to be and stay!’,” says Franziska. She has since been steadily developing her skillset, and today she is the Senior Customer Representative, responsible for queries logistics services of shipping of orders. One of the projects close to her heart are the donations we make with brand new goods from returns. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Franziska and her colleagues, over 50 parcels containing with an average of 50 products were sent to charitable causes around the world in 2021 alone.

Spread Group: What is sustainability to you?

Franziska Höntzsch: I want to do everything I can to protect our environment. I think we should be grateful for what nature provides us with and use these resources sparingly. It’s a very emotional and divisive topic, which could do with a bit more cool-headedness from all sides. Yes, we’re not perfect. But we should stay positive and encourage each other to live more sustainably. Of course, you don’t want to give up your car if you need it to commute to work. But you can still compensate for your CO₂ footprint in other ways, for example by eating less meat. Sustainability should not be a competition between people.

Spread Group: And how do you motivates yourself to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Franziska Höntzsch: My two children are the driving force. I want them to grow up in an intact environment. This is why I strive to model a sustainable lifestyle for them. It’s always worth investing in lasting products. And it doesn’t mean that these are incredibly expensive! For example, I use cloth diapers for my kids. Or make my own upcycling projects with cosmetic pads made from fabric scraps and baby rompers made from our T-shirt returns. These kinds of projects are just fun for me.

As a fashion fan, I naturally appreciate a large wardrobe. But I can’t turn a blind eye to the excesses the fast-fashion industry produces. My compromise is to buy about 90 percent of my clothes second hand. Through platforms like Vinted, you can find great deals, meaning you don’t pay more than 3 Euros for an unloved dress that’s as good as new.

Spread Group: That’s great! And are there any sustainability projects have you and your team have already implemented?

Franziska Höntzsch: Our biggest project is certainly putting donation packages together that consist of brand new goods from returns. These are shipped to associations or individuals in need several times week. Last year, we were able to support victims of the flood disaster in the west of Germany, among others. We also frequently receive requests for donations for a raffle, the proceeds of which are used to support social projects. Of course, we never give away products with highly personalized imprints or company logos due to legal reasons. These get processed into cleaning rags.

People can get in touch with us about donations – the earlier you contact us, the better! We will also be happy to select designs that fit the theme of the request. From January to November, you can simply send us a short e-mail to info@spreadshirt.net. In December, we hardly manage to answer donation requests due to the Christmas business.

On occasion, it also happens that customers request unprinted items to test their size. We return these products to our production process after a thorough inspection. We also remove the filling material from the returned cups and pass it on to the shipping department. We don’t use printed packing slips at all in our donation process.

Spread Group: Do you have specific sustainability goals that you set for yourself?

Franziska Höntzsch: We would like to donate much more and are always looking for recipients who need to receive donation packages on a regular basis. One-time collaborations are also possible, of course. My best experience so far was a donation request from an elderly gentleman who reached out to us by email. He wanted to receive donations for a raffle at a school reunion, the proceeds of which went to a charity farm. We are also very happy to support such requests!

Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to delve further into the topic of “sustainability”?

Franziska Höntzsch: Where should I start? I was very inspired by books and podcasts. These help me to stay motivated and get new ideas for a sustainable lifestyle. I already mentioned the app “Vinted”, where you can find used clothing at unbeatable prices. I also like to use the app “Too good to go” to save unsold food from restaurants and cafés and do something against food waste.

Spread Group: Thank you very much for the interview, Franziska!

Related links

Anna Triebel joined Spread Group as a software developer at the end of last year. She works in the Order Management Team, a team of 10 developers and product owners, covering everything about processing orders and payments. After her childhood dream of becoming an ice cream tester, her studies in philosophy and her first programming experiences in her spare time, Anna finally ended up studying computer science.

We had a chat with Anna and talked on the occasion of International Day of Women in Science, her career, and the challenges that come with working in IT. She’s also sharing a few hot tips for women who want to start programming.

Hi Anna! What do you do at Spread Group?

Anna: I’ve been a software developer in Order Management for four months now. We mainly take care of the software components for order and payment processing. I’m currently working on the topic of fraud detection. The goal here is to use technology to detect “suspicious orders”, for example orders with stolen credit cards.

What convinced you to choose your job at Spread Group?

Anna: Two factors were decisive here. I liked both the tech stack and the corporate philosophy. The technology sparked my interest, and the atmosphere in the workplace struck me as quite relaxed. There’s no dress code and I can flexibly arrange my working hours. Straight away I had the feeling that Spread Group could offer me an environment in which I would feel comfortable – and it worked out!

Was there anything that stood out during the application process?

Anna: What I really appreciated was the frank and very open way of dealing with people. I felt that they had an open ear for my expectations and respected me as a person. I had to solve a programming task that gave me a fair idea of what was required. Good stuff! I was also able to meet my future team to discuss the task. This helped me meet my colleagues, and I got a good impression of their personalities. Then we had lunch together, and I felt right at home.

Have you always wanted to work in IT or software development?

Anna: When I was a child, I wanted to be an ice cream tester (laughs). I saw it on a TV program for kids and was immediately sold. And then I started out studying two quite different subjects, philosophy and IT. The latter won in the end, and I realized that those two subjects were not too different all together, as they’re about abstract concepts described in text form.

Are there any obstacles that make a difference for women in IT?

Anna: Unfortunately, women are still underrepresented in IT. Having said that, the proportion of women keeps fortunately increasing. I personally like diverse teams with different personalities, regardless of gender. But it would be nice to see a few more women in IT, at least this is how I felt in the early stages of my professional life. And women in leadership roles are very rare, which is something that I think could do with improving.

What advice would you give women looking for a career in IT?

Anna: Do whatever you like doing most. If you enjoy programming, go for it! Programming is no witchcraft. I also feel that my work environment is very empowering, regardless of gender. The support I receive is very important. So – don’t be afraid to get started and surround yourself with people who take your goals seriously and support you!

What talents do you need to be a software developer?

Anna: Motivation and a penchant for programming. It’s essential to understand abstract concepts, and to develop an ability to think like that. Teamwork and communication skills are also important, which is often underestimated. As a developer, you’ll need to be a good listener in order to understand the models. Then keep asking questions until it’s clear what you want to achieve. In the end, you’ll have programmed something that people will find beneficial. And that’s quite wonderful.

🚀  P.S.: We are currently looking for Software Engineers (f/md) Backend, Frontend, Fullstack – to learn more and apply check out our career page.

Merle and Katharina are both doing an internship at Spread Group. We spoke to them to get an insight into the daily life of an intern, what tasks they enjoy most, and whether they recommend doing an internship at Spread Group (and yes, it is :)).

Hello you two! What exactly do you do at Spread Group.

Katharina: Hey, I’m Katharina, 20 years old and I’m in the 5th semester of studying Book Trade & Publishing at the University of Leipzig. I’m currently doing a six-months internship at Spreadshirt in the Marketplace Licensing department.

Merle: Hi, I’m Merle. I’m studying Media & Communication Studies in Ilmenau and I’m doing a 6-months internship at Spreadshirt that I need for my studies. I support the marketing team of the Create Your Own business unit. This is the area where customers can design their own clothes with photos, texts, or designs. I mainly take care of newsletters and blog posts.

Katharina, do tell us what you do in the licensing team at Spreadshirt?

Katharina: We work with licensing partners whose designs we sell on Spreadshirt’s marketplaces as well as external marketplaces such as Amazon. It’s a long process from design creation to communication with license partners to approval of designs and marketing. Well-known licenses at Spreadshirt include Harry Potter, Game of Thrones or Peanuts, for example.

And why did you decide to work for Spreadshirt or in the field of licensing? What does that have to do with your studies?

Katharina: I was already very interested in licensing during my degree course. I didn’t just want to see the licensing business from the publisher’s point of view, but also to get to know the perspective of a company as a licensee. It’s always good to see different processes. I chose Spreadshirt because the corporate philosophy appealed to me, and there were very good vibes during the interview.

What makes the atmosphere at Spreadshirt special for you?

Merle: The working atmosphere! You come here and immediately feel at home. I remember being super nervous at my job interview. But I was made to feel at ease during the interview very quickly. The whole team at Spreadshirt is totally nice and open.

Katharina: I also really appreciate that the atmosphere in the team is so good and that you can deal openly with criticism. Everyone is helpful, supportive and encourages the others with motivating feedback. There are also nice offers like fresh fruit, free soft drinks and feelgood activities that make a day in the office very pleasant.

Merle: You don’t feel like an intern since you’re given a specific area of responsibility and get down to work straight away. I thought I might have to do boring copy and paste stuff or spend days at the photocopier, but I was in for a pleasant surprise (laughs). The team is really welcoming!

What are your specific tasks and what’s your day-to-day work like at Spreadshirt?

Katharina: My internship is quite diverse. I experience the entire licensing process and can take on tasks independently. In addition, I take care of the communication with the license partners and create the appropriate products such as T-shirts, sweaters, or accessories in the backend. I accompanied the entire process of creating the designs as well as the decision-making process. In marketing, for example, I create graphics and videos for social media and offline campaigns. This is a good thing as it further increases my knowledge.

Merle: In the Create Your Own team at Spreadshirt, we send out at least one newsletter per week that gets published in four languages. I design the approximate structure in advance and decide which photos to use. Then I write posts for our SEO page and our Create Your Own blog and promote the blog posts on our Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels. Sometimes there are also research tasks where I gather information on various topics in marketing.

Do you have something like your own project in the internship?

Katharina: Yes! I was, for example, able to take over the support of individual license partners completely on my own. I’m also responsible for videos in marketing as part of the team and was able to try things out a bit.

Merle: I can say the same, I enjoy a lot of freedom. Especially when it comes to newsletters and blog posts, I have a free hand in creating them and can exercise creativity as well. The texts are checked by the copywriting team, but by and large I can take on the topics independently.

What do you enjoy most about your internship?

Merle: The tasks where I can get creative myself are the ones I enjoy the most. Especially creating the newsletter or writing my own texts.

Katharina: I enjoy the marketing part the most. That’s also what I found most exciting in my studies. It’s very nice that I can also deepen this in the licensing team.

Are there ever boring tasks that you don’t enjoy as much?

Katharina: Sending out contracts! Of course, it’s also part of it and is important because without contracts there are no license partners (laughs). But it’s quite monotonous. Other than that, there is always a lot of variety and I have never done the same task for a whole day.

Merle: I once had to recreate all the designs I had created over four months since the links had expired. This dragged on for two weeks, and after that I couldn’t stand doing that anymore. Tasks that drag on for so long obviously get less exciting at some point. But because the newsletters and topics vary every week, I actually quite enjoy it.

Have you experienced any memorable moments already?

Katharina: We generally have a lot of fun moments in the office, like throwing hoops with the mini basketball set. And for a Harry Potter shoot, we were provided with the original Nimbus 2000 broom by the license partner and were then allowed to take photos with it, which was also very exciting.

Merle: There’s never a dry day with my team. I wouldn’t have thought that you could have so much fun at work. There’s always something to laugh about, and funny situations keep coming up in our internal chats. Our team event was also a lot of fun when the whole team went bowling together. It’s very nice to see people from work having a fun time away from work.

How does the internship help with your professional orientation? And what will you do next?

Merle: The internship helped me a lot. I wasn’t really sure which direction I wanted to take after graduating, but now I know that I want to go into marketing. I’ll be going back to university, because I still have a year to go. After that, I would like to get my professional life going with a trainee position, for example.

Katharina: I have come to take great interest in the licensing sector. I only knew the theoretical side from my studies, and only the publishing perspective. The internship showed me that licensing is a really cool sector, and I can imagine doing something similar later. But for now, I’ll continue with my master’s degree.

Thank you very much for the interview and all the best for you!

Editor’s note: Katharina and Merle have since both got their professional career started at Spread Group. Katharina works as a student trainee in the Licensing team, and Merle is a project manager in the Create Your Own department.