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Everyone uses it, but too few reduce it: plastic. Single-use plastic in particular has long since become an integral part of consumption and many products, packaging and materials can no longer be imagined without it. Despite widespread awareness, the reduction of single-use plastics remains a challenge. What cannot be recycled often ends up in nature, for example in bodies of water such as rivers, which carry the plastic directly to the ocean and pollute the oceans. But how can our oceans be protected?

From this realization, Plastic Fischer was born. The organization focuses on halting plastic pollution at its source – in rivers – before it reaches the ocean. Karsten Hirsch, CEO of Plastic Fischer, decided five years ago together with friends to do something to preserve our oceans and set up the first company to stop ocean plastic in the rivers. We spoke to him about how this works and how we at Spread Group are supporting him in this task.

Karsten shares the story of how it all began:

“I was on vacation in Vietnam with two friends and we saw how plastic flows down the Mekong. My co-founder Moritz and I were in Asia for the first time and didn’t know the situation on the ground beforehand and when we saw it, it really got to us. When we got home, we looked up which organizations were taking care of river plastic – and couldn’t find a single one worldwide. Then we thought about an idea of how to tackle the whole thing. The problem of river plastic can be imagined like an hourglass: The plastic ends up in the river, where it is concentrated before it then disperses back into the sea. We want to tackle this bottleneck and stop the plastic where it is still possible. ”

Reflecting on Plastic Fischer’s journey so far, we asked Karsten, “what successes are you particularly proud of?”

“Basically, I am very proud of the developments we have made as a team because we had no idea about the topic or the technology. We just threw ourselves into it and went for it with our idea. The awards from the World Economic Forum and the German Sustainability Award are great successes.

Nevertheless, the best thing is to create new jobs locally. We have been able to provide 90 people in India and Indonesia with jobs and security through permanent employment, health, and social insurance. We also give them planning security, respect, and recognition for what they do, namely clean these systems every day, manage the waste, and ultimately enjoy working for us. We have found the right people who treat the employees on-site well, which unfortunately is not always a matter of course in the waste management working environment, but works very well for us. That motivates me a lot and makes me proud.”

And where does Spread Group fit in?

The collaboration between Plastic Fischer and Spread Group marks a significant milestone for both parties. Initially, merchandising was a low priority for Plastic Fischer. However, recognizing its potential as a tool for raising awareness and generating support, they decided to leverage it. Karsten explains, “We told ourselves that nobody knew us yet. That’s why we did it as a one-off campaign for the first 3-4 years and sold about 50 T-shirts at the end of the year. Now we’re getting more attention, people like our logo and the work behind it. So, we wanted to offer it, but we couldn’t handle the fulfillment and didn’t have enough capacity. However, it is also important to us and the people who support us to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging and thus ensure completely plastic-free shipping.”

Therefore, Plastic Fischer decided to team up with Spreadshop – our business unit that offers customized merchandise solutions, using print-on-demand. Spreadshop’s service includes production, shipping, payment, and customer service. As Karsten provided insights into the evolution of merchandise within Plastic Fischer’s initiatives, we asked for a little throwback:

Would you share how the collaboration with Spreadshop came about?

“I met a colleague of yours at the NOAH conference in Zurich and told him what we were doing. He was so enthusiastic about it that he said he would take it with him and discuss with the team in Leipzig how we could come together. That’s how the idea came about that Spreadshop would become our partner and take care of fulfillment, offering good quality merch and giving people the opportunity to support us. Ultimately, it’s a multiplier for us: people wear our brand and message on the T-shirt, which is a great incentive for others to support us.

I’m delighted that we’ve also been able to initiate a process for you in which shipping is completely plastic-free for the first time. It was very good to have this flexibility. In addition, we are now using part of the margin to finance plastic-free fishing. For every product sold, we fish a certain amount of plastic. The merch is our means device of generating impact.”

Building on Karsten’s description of the collaboration’s genesis with Spreadshop, we wanted to know, “Looking ahead, what are your other wishes or aspirations for our partnership?”

“I hope that together we can find companies and influencers to help us sell merch and fund this positive impact. I think Spread Group has a lot of charisma and a great network of companies that can be inspired to cooperate, with co-branding or similar. I would like to work closely with you on what your partnerships have in store and how we can ensure that even more Plastic Fischer merch is sold so that we can really catch many more kilos of plastic.”

In conclusion, the partnership between Plastic Fischer and Spread Group exemplifies how businesses can collaborate to tackle environmental challenges effectively. As Plastic Fischer continues its mission to clean our rivers and oceans, the merchandising efforts serve as a powerful tool for raising awareness and mobilizing support for their cause. Together, we are making strides towards a plastic-free future.

Thank you, Karsten! #plasticfree

Plastic in its most beautiful form – now in our product range on the US platform at Each of our new tri-blend organic T-shirts contains yarn that stems from around six recycled plastic water bottles. Blended with modal fibers and organic cotton, this sustainable women’s T-shirt feels just as soft as it is resource saving with its recycled polyester.

Product info

Brand: Allmade

Material: 50% polyester from recycled plastic bottles / 25% organic cotton / 25% modal fiber -> Uses recycled plastic: equivalent of ~6 water bottles in each shirt

    Imported product, printed and processed in the USA

    1×1 rib knit collar; side seams & tear-away label.

    Sizes: S-2XL

    Colours: heather black, heather navy & heather grey

Here learn more.


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

June 15, 2021 in Brands Innovation
Mission to the Stars! Spreadshirt Launches a Star Academy for Designers

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

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

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

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

Looking for facts, figures, or photos?

Get in Touch

Please direct your questions about Spread Group to our Corporate Communications team.
Silke Möller

Silke Möller

Corporate Communications Specialist

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.

More information:

Image material to download

(Copyright: Spread Group)

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:

Image material to download

(Copyright: Spread Group)

Melina and Timon describe themselves as introverts. The German online magazine “Vanilla Mind”, which they founded in 2014, and their successful podcast “Still & Stark” [English translation: Quiet & Strong] have been creating awareness for the of quiet and unobtrusive people in this world. The curtain rises for Spreadshop of the Month Vanilla Mind!

“Even quiet people have something to say,” Melina and Timon are convinced. Vanilla Mind is meant to encourage their readers and listeners to accept their needs, and to use their strengths to their advantage while keeping an introvert state of mind. Their so-called “Mut-Letter Newsletter” has managed to reach out to over 12,000 people.

Even introverted people have something to say: "Vanilla Mind" is Spreadshop of the Month

The feedback from their #stillundstark [#quietandstrong] community has been tremendous, ranging from lines of gratitude and encouraging stories to cries for their own products such as T-shirts, tote bags and stationery. “Our community on Instagram inquires about products from time to time. However, we didn’t pursue the idea of having our own Shop for a long time, because the effort and expense seemed too high at  first. We just didn’t know about Spreadshop then,” Melina and Timon say. Spreadshop empowers entrepreneurs to run their own free online shop and sell merchandise to their community. “The fact that Spreadshop takes care of the entire process gives you much more room to experiment and try things out.” Vanilla Mind embraces the idea of taking care of the creative part of designing their shop themselves. Since Melina is a full-time creative director, she also likes the creative challenge here as well.

Being loud is not your thing? – Let your clothes speak for you!

“The shop greatly strengthens the message that quiet people have a lot to say. The Still & Stark Shop helps people express their attitude towards life,” the shop owners say. “The print-on-demand aspect was very appealing to us from the very beginning. No warehouse, no surplus goods – in our opinion, this is  a very sustainable concept.” Vanilla Mind is also excited about the steadily growing organic product range. The Still & Stark hoodie made of organic cotton has been number 1 on the popularity scale of their products for quite some time. In the future, Melina and Timon would also like to offer seasonal collections to give their community more variety in the shape of matching clothing.

Further links

Instagram introduced photo filters to the general public years ago, and today filters have become an essential element in the world of professional and hobby photography. This is why Spreadshirt is expanding its photo features in the create-your-own area with filters: Sepia, Old School, Polaroid and many more at the click of a mouse.

Photo Features in create your own section at Spreadshirt

Customers can now use the new features to create photo gifts even more individually and colorfully. This looks great on apparel, mugs, pillows or even cuddly toys. In the Customizer Design Tool, uploaded images can be spiced up using a total of 13 available filters. From classic black-and-white retouching to playful color-shifting, (almost) every color taste is catered for here.

Photo Settings CYO

Under Settings, you can adjust the brightness, contrast or even saturation of the photo using sliders.

In addition to the predefined filters and shapes, there is also the option to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation as well as sharpness of the photo using a slider. The new view option also allows users to switch between the product view and the zoom view with a single click to make best possible adjustments. “We are very pleased that our customers can now lend a personal touch to their photo memories. A color makeover and another personalization features can be added directly in the Customizer Design Tool. We are working on further features and usability improvements to keep expanding the customization area,” says Petra Jacobs, Senior Product Owner at Spreadshirt.

More links

Spreadshirt and Spreadshop – two brands of the Spread Group – continue to expand their product portfolio with numerous new products in the non-apparel sector.

The past few weeks saw Spreadshirt and Spreadshop introduce new Home & Living products to bolster their product range in the non-apparel sector. There are new ceramic and enamel mugs, vacuum flasks and pillowcases that expand the Home & Living department to some 40 items.

Spreadshirt and Spreadshop expand Home & Living product range

“Our Home & Living items are among our customers’ most popular products. A customized mug makes a great gift for colleagues, neighbors or yourself. Last year, we started the optimization of quality and production processes to achieve even better print results on ceramics, enamel and stainless steel,” says Franziska Barth, project manager at Spread Group.

An example of this is the black ceramic cup that has been specially developed for dye-sublimation printing. Strong and bright colors stand out even more thanks to its special coating.

According to Franziska Barth, customer feedback and wishes were instrumental in contributing to both product development and process improvement: “We get the best ideas for new products from the feedback we get from our Shop Owners and designers. Last year, for example, we added a seamless all-over print face mask to our range, since it was requested by our community. The same happened when people were asking for a full-color ceramic mug in black, because our old black panoramic mug wasn’t colored inside.”

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Now on Amazon: Customizable products from Spreadshirt

December 01, 2020 in Brands Innovation
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.

The corporate group is responding to the continuing increase in demand for individually designed face masks with a wider range of products.

Seven months after the introduction of face masks to the product range, 10,000 masks have been sold in Europe and Spread Group is taking stock. According to Maxie Eck, Spread Group’s Teamlead for Consumer Marketing, the high demand for face masks cannot be attributed solely to legal requirements and concerns about infection. A look at the most popular mask designs, cat motifs, colourful patterns and slogans, shows that customers want to raise positivity to counter a difficult time.

Spread Group expands face mask offerings in all European countries

Customers now have greater creative freedom to do so with the new face masks in sizes Small and Large: The white polyester masks complement the existing range of masks and enable seamless all-over printing using the thermal sublimation printing process. Pixel and vector graphics are printed in brilliant colours and do not fade, even with frequent washing (60 °C). In addition, the elastic bands are flexibly adjustable, which guarantees an optimal fit of the mask.

“We all want to stay healthy in this difficult time and one way to do this is by wearing a mask. I wouldn’t be surprised to see masks given as small gifts to customers, employees or family members this year. People can design or customise the masks themselves and have them individually printed,” says Maxie Eck, Teamlead for Consumer Marketing at Spread Group.

The new masks will initially be produced for European customers at the production sites in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. In the future, the new mask model will also be launched on the international Spread Group platforms.

Further links to the new product:

Spread Group expands face mask offerings in all European countries 2