#TogetherWeAreEurope: Carl Warkentin of Monaco Duck about business during Corona Crisis
Started in 2014, the Bavarian shoe company, ‘Monaco Duck’ aims to provide the perfect footwear for every occasion – an objective it’s now achieving without negatively impacting the environment. To achieve this, co-founders, Carl Warkentin and Julian Hermsdorf rely upon traditional Italian craftsmanship and locally-sourced materials such as Bavarian wool to keep transport to a minimum.
Keeping a start-up afloat in the initial stages can mean navigating some pretty rough seas. Throw a worldwide pandemic like the Corona Crisis into the waters and it’s all hands on deck! At a time when creativity and agility are crucial to survival, the company’s head of sales and marketing, Carl Warkentin tells us how the brand is faring and how the deal he’s offering his retailers is good for everyone.
MADAME: So, how are you guys holding up?
Carl Warkentin: I’m happy to say that we’re actually doing very well at the moment. We were lucky enough to have had the order phase completed before the situation officially became a pandemic. In fact, March was the best month for our online shop to date.
M: As a start-up company, you watch the numbers closely, hoping to see continual growth…
C.W.: We do – and we were showing increasing results every month before the Corona Crisis. We’re very pleased that things are still running so well, despite the pandemic.
M: Where and how are you currently working?
C.W.: I’m still spending most of my work hours in the office, but alone.My partner, Julian Hermsdorf is due to become a dad this May so it’s better for him tostay at home for the moment. If he’s infected with the virus, he won’t be able to see his new baby.
M: How has the crisis affected your job? New skills or insights perhaps?
C.W.: As a start-up, things such as home office and ‘making a virtue out of necessity’ are nothing new. We are using the opportunity to contact our customers personally to inform them of any potential delays due to the situation in Italy where our shoes are handmade. I’m very happy to report that all of our clients have been very sympathetic to the current situation and none have cancelled their orders!
M: On the subject of solidarity, what does it mean to you?
C.W.: For me, solidarity means genuinely searching for ways to help all of our partners. We have for example, launched a shoe that customers can buy from us and then nominate a retailer to receive 20% of the proceeds. We’re also taking back stock from merchants that don’t have realistic online sales opportunities – and then selling the shoes via our internet platform.
M: What are you looking forward to the most when the current movement restrictions are relaxed?
C.W.: I’m really looking forward to sitting outside with a few good friends, enjoying some good food and a bottle of wine.