Mr Keller, on the occasion of the first birthday, it's worth taking a look back: How did the foundation of the subsidiary in Rheineck start?
My colleague Fabian Niederer and I know the product world of Schotten & Hansen from projects in our professional past. Since our first contact, our fascination for the surface substance and its diverse applicability has grown steadily. Through the realisation of joint projects, the trust between CEO Bernhard Heinloth and us also grew, so that one day he came up with the idea of using our knowledge of the Swiss market and the parquet industry in general for Schotten & Hansen.
What are the special features of the Swiss market?
Switzerland is characterised by diversity. This also means that the market is highly complex. For example, four different national languages are spread over such a small area, which also goes hand in hand with different mentalities. This poses a challenge that can hardly be overcome from across the border. On top of that, Switzerland is not a member of the EU and has a different currency - all of which noticeably increases the complexity of daily work.
What advantages do interested parties from Switzerland have from the contacts in the country?
With our local headquarters, the shorter communication channels are particularly advantageous. We provide competent advice on site and offer comprehensive project management for the holistic solutions in the areas of flooring, interior and service. We provide support from the first inspiration or project sketch to maintenance advice. The application possibilities of Schotten & Hansen products are best explained in a personal meeting. We also coordinate installation and interior design partners to ensure that installation also runs trouble-free.
The ambience of your company headquarters is quite stately. What can visitors expect?
Yes, our company headquarters is in a small 18th century castle. It suits Schotten & Hansen perfectly, as it is exceptional and timeless. Our premises are a great example of durability and authentic materials. In addition, having our own sample warehouse allows us to sample faster and more customer-oriented.
Do two persons work for the subsidiary or who else is behind it?
Fabian Niederer is in charge of sales and marketing and we work closely together operationally. On the Board of Directors are Bernhard Heinloth as Chairman and Maximilian Hansen and Claudio Galliard. We are a strong team that appreciates and complements each other. Together we can achieve great things in a market that is predestined for Schotten & Hansen.
How did the first business year progress?
For quitting our secure jobs in the middle of the Corona crisis and taking the risk of the start-up, we are quite satisfied. We were able to increase the turnover in 2021 by 85% compared to the previous year. We have also tripled the number of partners.
Are there any significant targets for 2022?
We will stabilise our partner network by training our partners in detail about the possibilities of using and customising the Schotten & Hansen surface and the company's services. We want to grow and be more present in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The logistics of order processing will become even better. We are in the process of realising beautiful projects.
Then, from the company headquarters, we wish you much success with the implementation and thank you for the enlightening conversation.