How Airpaq is coping with the Corona crisis
Since mid-February, we too have been struggling with the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus in Europe. Also affected is our sustainable start-up, because since March 16th our small showroom in Cologne-Neuehrenfeld - our pride and joy - is closed until an indefinite period. In this blog post, we would like to tell you more about how Airpaq as a small start-up is dealing with the Corona crisis.
How is the Qrew?
The small but fine Airpaq team currently consists of three members: the two co-founders Michi and Adrian and the student assistant Marie.
Co-founder Michael Widmann in his home office
Our co-founder Michi is particularly affected by the Corona pandemic at the moment, because he lives in the northern Italian region of South Tyrol. The measures there are generally very strict: all residents are under domestic quarantine until further notice. But almost every day the regulations and rules change; for example, a few days ago all businesses that are not responsible for the vital supply of the population had to close indefinitely. It is clear that all residents are allowed to leave their homes only for the absolute necessities, for example, to go shopping.
Violation of these rules carries the threat of fines or imprisonment, because although South Tyrol is fortunately not quite as badly affected as the Italian regions of Lombardy or Veneto, the harsh regulations apply throughout the country. Michi says of the situation on the ground: "The seriousness of the situation has long since reached everyone here. I am happy to see how disciplined and responsible people are dealing with this new situation that takes some getting used to. The streets are empty, people follow the strict regulations and rules and only leave the house for the absolute necessities. I also finally found an answer to the eternal question of whether South Tyroleans tick more like Germans or Italians - while the shelves in supermarkets are still well stocked with toilet paper, it's hard to find another good bottle of wine."
Adrian and Marie, on the other hand, are both settled in Cologne and usually share the small showroom in Neuehrenfeld at the same time as a cozy office. During the crisis, however, Adrian holds down the fort in the showroom alone. "It has become quiet in our showroom, a strange feeling. I find it particularly unfortunate not to be able to welcome any more customers in the store. We started Airpaq online, so it was always a great experience for me to chat with the people in the store offline. That's always been very motivating for me, and it's also often led to very helpful feedback." Meanwhile, Marie continues to work in her home office from her home in Cologne-Sülz:"At first it was a little strange to work alone at home and no longer as part of the team on site. But you get used to the new situation over time, and thanks to social media I still stay connected with Adrian and Michi. So working at Airpaq still works without any problems. But I'm also looking forward to working together again in our showroom and spending lunch breaks together."
Marie in home office (©Airpaq)
Despite all the new circumstances and challenges, we try to stay optimistic and positive, because we are all alive and well so far, which is the main thing. So we continue to work relaxed in our home office to guarantee you the best possible customer service and maybe even to make you happy in your otherwise rather monotonous everyday life.
Wie wirkt sich die Krise auf unsere Produktion aus?
At our production facility in Timisoara, Romania, everything continues to run smoothly. There have been very few confirmed Corona infections in this region so far. Nevertheless, comprehensive preventive measures have been taken in the sewing shop where our products are manufactured. For example, strict shift work has been introduced to keep contacts to a minimum. In addition, all sewing machines and equipment are kept at least two meters apart, and employees are also required to keep a distance of two meters from each other at all times. In this way, we can continue production with a clear conscience and thus ensure that the products you order from us are delivered on time.
How does the Corona pandemic affect our business?
As already mentioned, two weeks ago we had to close our showroom in Iltisstraße in Cologne for an indefinite period. But not only our own store but also all retailers - over 100 in number - who sell our products had to close temporarily due to the crisis. We are very sorry about this, because especially our retailers have been super supportive from the beginning, and without them we would definitely not be where we are today with Airpaq. While we are very happy that we can continue to sell our products through our online store, sales have plummeted there as well. At the moment, every single online sale is really a great support for us, helping us to cover the running costs and thus to somehow cope with this difficult time as well.
The hero week runs until 02.04.20 - and more start-ups participate
After the initial shock, we told ourselves that burying our heads in the sand was not an option. Now we have to show solidarity and help where we can. With this in mind, we launched the "Hero Week": From March 19 until April 2, we are donating 20 percent of our total online sales to the Corona Emergency Aid of the German Red Cross to help those who are working for the health of all during this particularly difficult time. For example, the German Red Cross is currently relieving the German healthcare system with mobile doctor's surgeries and mobile fever measuring stations, among other things. So far, our fundraising campaign has already raised over 1,000 euros, which will be used by the DRK to decelerate the Corona crisis and hopefully defeat it soon.
But what makes us most happy is that we were able to inspire other startups and companies with our campaign (Birkenspanner, forest gum, LagerPlus GmbH, MADEKIND, Nature Nerds, Saatgutkonfetti, waschkram, thecanoshoe and udo duo), who are now collecting for the DRK heroes together with Airpaq. We strongly believe that the best way to get through such a crisis is to stay in solidarity and look out for each other. No one should be left alone during such a nerve-wracking time.
We hope that you will also survive the Corona crisis well, so that we can all eat ice cream outside again as soon as possible and meet friends in the park for a summer picnic. Stay healthy and don't hang your heads, because better times are sure to come!
Your Airpaq Team