"Why not plant a tree for every beanie sold?"
But how could that be done? The two googled and found the perfect solution: OneTreePlanted, a non-profit organisation from the USA that plants trees worldwide. A request for cooperation followed.
"What are we going to call the cap?"
Hmm, it's a beanie and we're planting a tree to go with it... how about "Treeanie"?
"And what does our logo look like?"
Robin scribbled on a napkin a narrow fir tree with a long trunk - just like he had seen thousands of in Canada.
"But what should the whole thing actually be called?"
Why don't we just replace the letter "T" with an "N" - NIKIN - the combination of Nicholas and Robin.
Here's what you need to know about us:
Who we are
NIKIN makes sustainable fashion affordable. We are young, in a good mood and close to nature. A real TreeTeam.
The beer did it! Two childhood friends met for a beer in Lenzburg in 2016. That's when the idea for NIKIN was born.
Over 1.3 million trees
In December 2020, NIKIN broke the magic million barrier. That many trees would take up almost the entire city of Zurich!
Who and what is NIKIN
We are a young, active and nature-loving team from Switzerland. Our head office is in Lenzburg, Aargau (if you don't know it yet, it's about time!). Since our founding in 2016, we have been planting a tree for every product sold. Therefore, not only are we constantly growing, but also entire forests!
We produce fair and sustainable fashion. We always look for the best compromise between sustainability and affordability. We make this compromise because we are convinced that sustainable fashion must be available to everyone. If a T-shirt is very sustainable but also very expensive, only a few can afford it. This ensures that the broad mass of people continue to rely on fast fashion. However, this compromise is not a status quo for us! We are always trying to find even better production methods as well as materials and handling processes and thus to make our contribution to the environment again and again.
The two founders of NIKIN, Robin Gnehm and Nicholas Hänny, grew up in rural areas. They were both active scouts for many years and thus learned to appreciate nature. It is a concern for them and for us to inspire people to a more sustainable lifestyle. Tree by Tree.
The founding story
It all started on 20 October 2016 when Nicholas Hänny and Robin Gnehm, who have been friends since childhood, met for a beer in Lenzburg. For some time now, the idea has been floating around in their heads that they could start a joint project.
Nicholas already started his own small project during his business studies in 2013. Under the name "NIKIT", he designed and sold black Gymbags adorned with his own logo. The popular bags were very well received by his friends and acquaintances and the few hundred bags were sold out in no time. His success did not go unnoticed. It didn't take long until a world-renowned snowboard brand from Iceland asked him to stop producing under the name "NIKIT" for trademark protection reasons. So he was forced to hang up his booming project for the time being. In return, he then double-checked "NIKIN" for trademark rights!
Robin, who is actually a trained automotive mechatronics technician, lacked the creativity in his profession that had already bubbled up out of him as a child. So he decided to take a new path in 2015. He obtained his vocational baccalaureate, passed the preliminary course in design with flying colours and began to study industrial design. Never before had he enjoyed going to school so much - now he could finally give his creativity free rein. The language study trip to Canada opened his horizons even further. The breathtaking nature and the gigantic forests of Canada inspired him and, as it turns out later, also the idea that was slumbering inside him.
It all started with the Treeanies
But here, too, things have changed! Our first Treeanies were made of polyester and manufactured in China. Today, we use sustainable alternatives like Polylana® and organic cotton and produce everything in Europe except for the TreeBottles.
From 5,000 francs to over a million trees
When Nicholas and Robin decided to start a project over a beer in 2016, they would never have dreamed of it: Almost 4.5 years later, they have planted a whole million trees. How can you imagine a million trees? A comparison: one million trees cover an area of approximately 81 km2. The city of Zurich has an area 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 pitches. When each of the million planted trees is fully grown, oxygen is produced for about two million people and at the same time an average of 10 kilogrammes of CO2 is absorbed per tree per year. One million trees therefore absorb about 10,000 CO2 - and this every year.