Posted on December 30 2020
As the turbulent yet eventful year of 2020 draws to a close, now is the perfect time to sit back and look at an exciting year.
2020 will go down in history as the extraordinary year of Corona, and yet it actually began quite ordinarily. In February, the world still seemed intact, the virus still far away from us, and so we set off with the entire team to Engelberg for the NIKIN Ski Day to prove our skills on the slopes as well. We enjoyed a fantastic day on the mountain and strengthened our team spirit for the numerous upcoming projects in 2020.
In March we move into the home office
And then happened what we all feared: Corona reached Switzerland and the federal government declared a nationwide lockdown in March. Like all companies, we were faced with the question of what to do next. Within a very short time, we switched our entire operation, with the exception of logistics, completely to home office, which took some getting used to at first, but fortunately did not pose any major problems because most of our processes could also be handled online.
Nevertheless, we had to move on, because we had a lot of things planned for this year. During the course of the year, we were delighted to welcome numerous new motivated employees to the NIKIN family, who can take us a level further with their know-how in various fields such as marketing, product, logistics, events or customer service. Many of them started their work directly in the home office, which could be challenging with the limited face-to-face contact, but could be managed with regular online meetings with the entire NIKIN team. In the meantime, our team has grown to almost 50 employees, who work hard every day to advance NIKIN and our vision. This growth also enabled us to found NIKIN AG in the summer. These developments make us very proud!
Events – a no-go in times of Corona?
There were actually quite a few events on the agenda for 2020, both external and internal. Most of them had to be postponed or unfortunately cancelled. Among other things, various TreePlanting Days fell victim, where we wanted to work together with our community and help to reforest our local forests. When the festival season was officially buried, our event team had to reorganise. But there was no lack of alternatives, and with strict protection concepts, various events could still be held. For example, in September, on the occasion of the international Clean-Up Day, with the help of many committed volunteers from our community, we were able to free our hometown of Lenzburg from kilos of litter – it was frightening to see how much waste recklessly ends up where it definitely doesn't belong.
Our "Alaska" room, which we lovingly turned into our first in-house shop for direct sales in spring, unfortunately had to wait for its first customers because of Corona. Instead, we organised the first online outlet sale, which went through the roof so much that at times even our website succumbed to the rush and collapsed. With the eased measures, we were finally able to put our in-house shop into operation in the summer and open our doors regularly for direct sales – of course always with the necessary protective measures in place. On release days, the brand-new products can be purchased directly from us on site. As the number of visitors is particularly high on these days, we had to reckon with longer waiting times, which we bridged with free beer and Indian delicacies from the food truck for those waiting in line.
This year, we were also able to expand our shop network, in which selected NIKIN products are represented, to over a hundred partner shops across Europe. So, you're sure to find us somewhere near you. In addition, we successfully opened a temporary pop-up store for the second time during the summer months, this time in Basel.
We have (almost) everything you need – and it's sustainable.
For over four years, NIKIN has been following the philosophy of cool, stylish and sustainable products at fair prices – making sustainable fashion accessible to everyone and inspiring a conscious and sustainable lifestyle. After all, if everyone would just think a little more sustainably, the world would already be greatly helped.
Time-spirit, innovativeness and creativity are the qualities that our product team shows every day. As a result, we regularly present new products that not only look great and are comfortable but are also made from sustainable materials and are largely manufactured in Europe. We are particularly proud of our SwimWear Collection made from Econyl®/Seaqual® – recycled plastic from the oceans – or our new Treeanies made from Polylana®, a more sustainable alternative to traditional acrylic. For the latter material, by the way, we are the first brand to manufacture and offer products made of this material in Europe.
Throughout the year, we released new products at regular intervals, for which our marketing and content team launched wide-ranging and creative advertising campaigns and produced a lot of great content in the process – you've probably come across one of our ads at some point.
The absolute highflyer of the year: the TreeMask
The most popular product in 2020 was by far the TreeMask, but there is some explaining to do. We actively decided against selling protective masks at the beginning of the crisis because we don't think it's right to make a profit out of a crisis. And yet we were asked almost daily when NIKIN protective masks would finally be available. We asked our community several times whether there was a demand for a NIKIN mask. The result was clear, so we initially had 2'000 masks produced (we didn't know how long the epidemic would last), and they were all sold out within 40 minutes. The sustainable and comfortable mask is a big hit, and this is also reflected in the public. There is hardly a train where there is not someone sitting with a TreeMask on the face.
However, we still stick to our attitude and sell the masks for no profit. We offer the protective mask at cost price, 1 planted tree included. In addition, we also offer the mask with an extra charge, which is donated directly to the Corona Aid of Caritas Switzerland. We have masks again – so protect yourself and your fellow human beings with a TreeMask now.
NIKIN without its community? – unimaginable!
As a brand, we live from our community, which supports us every day, inspires and helps us to keep moving forward. It's impossible to imagine NIKIN without our great community, which also plays a key role in shaping the brand. Again and again, we offer the opportunity to have an influence and make requests with surveys via social media. Due to the many event cancellations, we unfortunately had to massively cut back on personal contact with our community – but we were all the more connected online! Our social media team keeps you informed and entertained so that you are always up to date and don't miss anything from us. You can now find us on practically all social media platforms under @nikinclothing. With the total number of followers across all our platforms, we could fill stadiums (the leader is Instagram with around 115k followers)!
The fact that our community can really have an influence was demonstrated by the "Crowd Design" competition in spring, where anyone could send in designs for a TreeShirt. The crowd then voted online to decide on the winning design, which was then realised and finally offered on all our sales channels. We received a total of over 1'200 designs, of which Dominique's "TreeCompass" design came out on top. Only a few hours after the release in August, it was already sold out.
In April, we reached half a million planted trees – in December, the full million!
"Those with the trees": NIKIN would not be NIKIN without the trees. At the beginning of April, the tree counter on our website passed the 500'000 mark! Half a million trees, that's a crazy number. Symbolically, we planted the 500'000th tree for this milestone in our hometown of Lenzburg, where it can be admired today on Markus-Roth-Platz. Under the Norway maple (Acer Platanoides), a sign commemorates this special milestone in NIKIN's history..
As in previous years, at the end of November we celebrated "Green Friday" instead of Black Friday. We made a conscious decision not to participate in this unrestrained price battle on Black Friday. That's why we intentionally didn't offer any discounts during the entire Green Friday weekend, but instead planted 2 trees for every product sold. And that added up to a considerable sum, with a total of around 42'000 more trees being planted on the occasion of Green Friday.
During the Christmas season, our tree counter raced ever faster and gradually approached the full million planted trees – and on the morning of 19 December the time had come: the million mark had been reached! 1'000'000 trees planted! We are once again completely overwhelmed by this gigantic milestone in the NIKIN history and can hardly put our joy and pride into words. To imagine this huge number a little more figuratively: One million trees cover an area of approximately 81 km2. The city of Zurich has an surface of 88 km2. So NIKIN has planted almost the entire area of Switzerland's largest city with trees – figuratively speaking, of course. A little more concretely: One million trees cover an area of around 11'345 football fields.
We will of course also celebrate this milestone in a proper manner and symbolically immortalise it in our history. In the new year, NIKIN will sponsor a tree in our hometown of Lenzburg, which will continue to grow like us and will commemorate this great milestone for a long time to come.
That's it – and now with fresh energy into 2021!
For NIKIN, the Christmas season always begins in spring already. A well-functioning organisation in the run-up is essential in order to be ideally prepared for our main season at the end of autumn. The (pre-) Christmas period is very intense, sometimes nerve-wracking, but nevertheless the most beautiful time of the year. All our teams work tirelessly during these weeks to make sure that you, too, have a wonderful festive season. After all, our logistics, together with our customer service, make sure that all the presents are under the Christmas tree on time. Over the past four years, NIKIN has grown from a small seed into a strong tree that will continue to grow in all directions in the new year.