Friday, November 29, 2013

Interview: Christian and Doerthe, from StickerKid

Last week, we did a review about StickerKid personalised name stickers and shared why we like them so much.

Today, I'm happy to introduce Christian and Doerthe Berlovan, the people behind StickerKid. They will share with us the story of how such durable name stickers like StickerKid's was created.




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Please tell us more about StickerKid. How did it come about?
That’s actually a longer story as the history of StickerKid dates back to 2004. Originally, StickerKid was founded by Mark, a good friend of Chris, who identified the need for personalized labels when his second son was born and the first started kindergarden. His sons were really little ‘magicians’ early on who managed to lose bottles, toys and even shoes. So Mark and his wife were frustrated by the lost things and the need to re-buy everything (not to mention the drama and stress a lost cuddly toy can create for both kids and parents). Michel, a brilliant engineer and computer expert joined the team and together they developed StickerKid, the technology and processes behind our products making StickerKid the favourite stickers and labels in Switzerland for marking clothes and belongings.

There are many brands of personalisable labels in the market. What makes StickerKid different?
The technology and quality of StickerKid stickers and labels is really unique. The team has spent 7 years to identify the right materials, define and optimize the production process and test the quality of the products over years and in any possible condition (ensuring that we can give a 10 year quality guarantee). Switzerland was a great place for testing the stickers and labels in hard conditions: snow, sun, rain and high temperature differences. All products are made in Switzerland with high quality materials to ensure the products simplify life for parents and kids, withstand any fun activity (be it skiing or spending a week on the beach) and at the same time, be affordable and accessible to all parents.

If you were a parent, why is it important to use labels like StickerKid?
Of course parents could just mark their kids’ clothes with a pen, but this is clearly not as pretty and long lasting as labelling clothes and things (not to mention that the pen, colour could mark off and stain other clothes in your laundry) with our labels. On top of that, kids in kindergarden cannot read yet, so with the colours and little logos, even the smallest kids can identify their things. And most importantly, choosing your stickers and sticking them on is actually lots of fun for you and your kids.

Aren't all labels the same?
The quality varies heavily. There are of course several good products out there, but take the iron-on labels for example. Many other products hold very well too, but you can never remove them. For our StickerKid iron-on labels, we decided that it is not only important they hold and withstand 45 rounds of washing at high temperature (up to 60°), but also be removable without harming the fabric should you wish to give some clothes to another child or friend’s kids.

Do you have any personal anecdotes to share? Perhaps witnessing a family's or friend's experience of using labels?
We receive many nice emails from moms who share their experience with StickerKid. Much more than the cost saving of finding back their children’s belongings, we love to hear the stories of teddybears that find their way back home. Each of those stories makes our day.

Why did StickerKid decide to come to Singapore?
We both visited Singapore recently and fell in love with the beauty of the city and kindness of the people. With Switzerland being the StickerKid home country, we saw several similarities between the two countries and the people, that is, looking for high quality, genuine products that are unique. In addition, we were very fortunate to find the perfect representative living in Singapore. Josephine and I studied together and met each other again after nearly ten years not having seen each other. When I told her about the project, she started smiling, and a few weeks later, we shipped our first stickers to moms and dads living in Singapore.

Who are the people behind StickerKid?
Today StickerKid is managed by us, Chris and Doerthe, a young Swiss-German couple living in Switzerland. We fell in love with StickerKid the moment Mark told us about it - the high quality of the products, something that is 100% swiss made and the positive moments it creates for parents and kids.

Since you have no children, how did you identity the need for labels like StickerKid? What inspired you to launch StickerKid?
Chris and I are freshly married (10 months) and all our friends already have kids and as you can imagine most topics with our friends are about kids. So if you like, our adventure started at a dinner when some friends were talking about the crazy things their kids lose and the creative explanations that follow - a really great evening with friends. Funnily enough, a few weeks later, we met Mark and he mentioned that he might be looking for a successor to continue the StickerKid journey, and suddenly all was clear for us. And lucky us, here we are now.

I understand that you are planning to have children soon. What would you say is your parenting style? What is your belief when it comes to helping a child learn?
Wow - this is tough one. I guess all parents will understand better than us, that what you think before having kids may change completely when you actually are a parent. But here is our theory (before the reality will catch us): I think we will actually have a different style when it comes to a kids’ learning process. While Chris is the tech-savvy amongst us who loves new technology and believes in its benefits to simplify life and offer tremendous learning opportunities that did not exist before, Doerthe actually loves everything that’s homely and hand made. We hope we can combine both in the education of our kids, equipping them with all the tech-savviness they need in today’s world, while also teaching them to see the beauty of life in little things, such as building sandcastles in summer, collecting leaves in autumn and building a snow man in winter (there is a loooot of snow in Switzerland :)).

What three things do you think is most important for kids to learn in today's world?
● Feel safe and loved. This was always true, but in times with both parents working and many of us having a private and business life that is interlinked, it is getting harder and harder to find time to spend as a family. However, we think it’s important for a child to protect these moments, without phone and blackberry, and just be together as a family.
● Be curious. The world offers so many adventures and opportunities, the more a child can try and get to know, to decide if he or she likes something, the better (be it trying a new sport or instrument, traveling and seeing different cultures, meeting new friends or simply eating something different)
● Be tech-savvy. The world is completely digitalized, so there is no way a child can get by today without navigating the digital world, seeing both the good sides while being aware of the risks.

As parents to be, what is the one thing you think parents should know, but don't?
I think real parents know much better than us, so I don’t feel we are in the right place to advice on this. The one thing we learned from our own parents though is that mums are always right (even if as a child, teenager and even adult you may not see it right away). So maybe there is some advice for dads :)

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Thank you, Chris and Doerthe.

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