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Berlin to go, english edition, 02/2016

  • Text
  • Business
  • Berlin
  • Startup
  • Innovation
  • Industrial
  • Innovative
  • Cooperation

DISCUSSION WHAT THE

DISCUSSION WHAT THE WORLD LOOKS LIKE THROUGH “BERLIN EYES” Thanks to a number of innovative and creative thinkers, the craft of eyewear design is experiencing a remarkable development One in every eight wearers of eyeglasses in Taiwan owns a pair of glasses from Berlin. To be more precise, from ic! berlin, one of the many up-and-coming eyewear companies using innovations generated at their headquarters in the German capital to attract global markets. Indeed, glasses developed and hand-made in Berlin are shipped as part of full-service packages throughout the world. Berlin to go pays a visit to ic! berlin, Mykita and Mister Spex, three companies that are shaping the future of their market. No other human aid has had such an illustrious career as eyeglasses, whether as a brand, a fashion accessory, a mode of expression or simply as a tool to enhance vision. Indeed, eyewear is much more than just two framed eyeglasses. The eyewear design company ic! berlin lives and breathes this notion with every piece that leaves their Berlin production site. The unique selling point of this company founded in 2003 is its spring-hinge connector system, a joint solution that is unique in the world and requires no screws, no welding, no gluing and no soldering. It is a technical feat that has already won several design awards. Managing Director and Co-Founder Ralph Anderl has his own concept of what his company represents: “ic! berlin is, in fact, a super-realistic art installation performed by a company with a maximum reality effect. The perfection of the installation – it has real employees, produces and distributes real glasses and even pays taxes – has reached a radical level over the years! Many individuals, customers and press reps are duped by their initial impression that ic! berlin is a simply an eyewear seller. But I must emphasize once again, this is not the case! ic! berlin is a hyper-realistic art installation.” The company’s team of 140 employees creates, designs, manufactures and sells their entire collection in line with this unique approach, from the cutting of their materials all the way to their global supply logistics. Managing Director and Founder of ic! berlin, Ralph Anderl. Glasses for customers around the globe are manufactured at ic! berlin. The result is a series of unconventional, high-quality, almost unbreakable and light-as-a-feather eyewear that delights customers all over the world. These designer eyeglasses are sold across the globe via the company’s own shops, at opticians and by independent distributors. One in every eight wearers of eyeglasses in Taiwan looks through lenses made by ic! berlin, which makes it almost as important in the field of eyewear as Audi is in the automobile industry. The secret to the company’s success lies in its meticulous commitment to fostering new ideas. And these new ideas thrive in Berlin’s vibrant environment, which Anderl confirms: “Berlin is the only possible home for us. The city is East and West simultaneously. It is open and colorful and, in a certain way, lacking in a specific tradition. And we are like the city: the keyword here is mix. Small towns want to be homogenous, but major cities thrive on colorfulness.” A wealth of ideas combined with that fresh Berlin air – this mix drives the success of another Berlin-based eyewear company, Mykita. Also founded in 2003, this multi-award winning company has 400 employees today and sells its hand-made-in-Berlin glasses to 80 countries worldwide. Their signature product is a screwless glasses frame with a patented joint manufactured with highly innovative technology and offered in several different models. The heart of the company beats in the Mykita-Haus in Berlin-Kreuzberg. This is where designers, opticians, marketing strategists and technicians work under one roof to take the concept of eyewear to new heights. As Mykita CEO Moritz Krueger explains: “We are always looking for innovation. ‘Finding beauty in technology’ is our guiding principle. And this means: We take a visionary approach to material and design equally. Every technical solution that we seek to achieve must always also be aesthetically pleasing.” For this purpose, Mykita regularly Photos: ic, Edmir Asoski 14 BERLIN TO GO

DISCUSSION Photos: iStock.com / levers2007, MYKITA, Mister Spex brings prominent partners on board. For example, fashion collaborations with Bernhard Willhelm, Damir Doma and Maison Margiela or partnerships with experts drawn from the automotive industry or rapid prototyping. And the interdisciplinary network of innovation that develops under the Mykita umbrella continues to enjoy success. The company carries out 20% of its global sales in the USA, followed by France and Germany. In their 13 stores worldwide, the eyewear experts use their own unique retail concept to showcase how to successfully combine aesthetics with functionality. The Mykita shop in New York offers a wide selection of eyewear. Mykita celebrated their latest opening in Copenhagen, and their next store is scheduled to open this summer in L.A. At these stores, the company’s quality standards go beyond just frames. A Zeiss Relaxed Vision Center is integrated into each store; this is where optometric precision meets Berlin design. And the spirit of innovation exuded by these Berliners from Kreuzberg never wanes. In 2016, they are getting ready to introduce a new milestone, as Krueger is happy to report: “My Very Own represents the union of three digital technologies – 3D scan, parametric design and additional 3D manufacturing – to create glasses that adapt to the topography of the wearer’s face. We worked with a Swedish development partner to create an algorithm for individual customization and a facial scanner that generates the 3D scan for tailor-made glasses. The frames are then produced by means of additional 3D manufacturing.” At Europe’s largest online optician, Mister Spex, everything revolves around individual customer needs. Founded in 2007, this e-commerce leader offers over 7,000 brand-name eyeglasses and sunglasses as well as contact lenses and accessories. And their service portfolio reads like an “allround, worry-free” package for eyeglass wearers: one personal consultation, one virtual 3D fitting, one free fitting using four selections sent by mail, quality glass, grinding and adjustment in the master workshop in Berlin, comprehensive services via 600 local partner opticians and a 30-day free return policy. The unrivalled position of this Berlin online-order company lies in its approach to sales and service. As Managing Director Dr. Mirko Caspar explains, “We believe in a strong multi-channel concept that connects the best of online and offline worlds. This concept allows us to grow at a considerably stronger rate than traditional stationary opticians.” With roughly 400 employees, his team serves more than 2 million customers in eleven countries in Europe. On peak days, 9,000 packages leave the logistics center. This spring, the company celebrated its offline premiere with the opening of a flagship store in Berlin’s Alexa shopping mall. Caspar notes further: “In late 2007, the four founders chose to establish the company in Berlin because of the city’s entrepreneur-friendly environment: rent was affordable, there was a strong exchange network of investors and other entrepreneurs, and the city was already home to potential employees from all over the world. It was only logical that we would open our first store here in our home city. Berlin is vibrant, dynamic and always producing new ideas. It’s an international city, and we are absolutely an international company that speaks several different languages. These are the things that characterize our employees and the culture at Mister Spex. We are nimble, focus entirely on the needs of customers and are able to change quickly and consciously.” Knowledge and experience drawn from their offline business will no doubt deliver new ideas for their overall customer service and allow the company to take full advantage of their cooperation with opticians. Here, too, craft meets innovation and quality meets customers’ needs. And the results are easy to see. ih Dr. Mirko Caspar is Managing Directors of Mister Spex. BERLIN TO GO 15

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