What are the product range cornerstones of the EULIES concept?
L. K.: Because of the year he spent in the toy industry, Nils knew the kind of product range we'd have to display here. We go for wooden toys because sustainability is important to us. But because we want to be up-to-date, we have to go with TV series, too. We want to offer toys that inspire children. They have to catch their eye. If they do, then they will appeal to children.
N. W.: It's important to listen to the customers. At the beginning, we thought, at one time or another, that we needed a certain range of products. That idea soon evaporated.
Why did you choose the toy association of VEDES?
N. W.: We grew up with their catalogue.
L. K.: VEDES has always been a strong brand.
So once VEDES always VEDES?
L. K.: Not necessarily. But VEDES is fast. We get the goods here within two days, even if they are a bit more expensive. But the VEDES service is great. On the one hand, the digital shopping solution allows us to get very close to the customer, and on the other, we regularly receive the newsletter about "hot goods", which keeps us alive in a certain way. If we had to keep ourselves constantly informed about everything, we'd be out of our depth.
What actually has to change in the industry for young people to decide to try and run a toy shop?
L. K.: That depends on the individual. We are people who find it hard to subordinate themselves. We always want to do our own thing. I think you have to tell young people that they can do their own thing. This drive is the prevailing factor with us, too.
Cynics say that if you don't have an online presence, you don’t exist. When will EULIES start to exist?
N. W.: You can't do something like that as a rush job. Because, besides our online presence, we want to have an actual shop. And in order to achieve this, we will rely on VEDES.
L. K.: EULIES has a strong social media presence. On Facebook, we generated 1,000 followers in just the first six months. That's really good. With our EULIES good mood video clips during the lockdown, we've had 40,000 clicks. When we post something, we always notice the results the very next day.
You've also had your first Christmas as a toy retailer. How did it go?
L. K.: It was a completely new experience! It's fascinating how people's buying behaviour changes so much from one week to the next, but that's what we live on for the rest of the year.
Coronavirus has made the world go into shock. How was the coronavirus lockdown for you?
L. K.: Easter was cancelled, so to speak. That hit us hard in our start-up phase. Our customers were able to order toys from us by phone or e-mail, and we delivered the goods to them. But apart from our customer service, we didn't get much out of it. Our Easter voucher campaign – with a EUR 10 gift as of a voucher worth EUR 90 – went much better. But what is now for us like a second Easter business are the #Peinehältzusammen vouchers issued by the town of Peine in cooperation with the town marketing department and the merchants guild. Since the shops have been open again, we have gained new customers thanks to this campaign. In combination with our Easter voucher campaign, this is really bringing us some footfall. We can only recommend such a voucher campaign to other towns or districts that also want to draw their citizens back to the town centres!
What conclusion can you draw after one year? Was it worth all the effort?
L. K.: Oh, absolutely! We're happier and we're both completely satisfied. I wouldn't want to have not taken this step. Peine has given us a warm welcome.
Mr Kückelhahn, Mr Willmann, thank you for talking to us.