INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Open Friday and Projects with a Social and Environmental Aspect have Improved the Quality of Office Life of our Employee, says Julian von Eckartsberg, CEO Stylight
First of all, how have you and your Family been doing through the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Julian von Eckartsberg: Thank you for asking. Given the current circumstances, we are doing well. Neither my wife, my family, our friends, nor my 100 employees have been infected with the Coronavirus, so we have been very lucky during these times. The quarantine allowed me to spend a lot of time with my 3-year-old daughter, and we both had a lot of fun.
Tell us about yourself, your Career, how you Started or Joined Stylight
Julian von Eckartsberg: I grew up outside of Germany, in different countries, like Mexico, Colombia and the United States. But I have a close bond with Munich because both my grandparents come from this city, where I attended university (in addition to a year spent in Paris), and started my career.
Stylight really suits me, because, being a Munich based company, I have found here this sense of familiarity that links me to the city’s traditions and cultural aspects, but maintaining the aspect of internationality that has always characterized my life until now.
We are present in 16 countries, we have employees of over 30 different nationalities and our official language is English. We at Stylight “think globally”.
Before Stylight, I was responsible for the strategy of the Media SE Group ProSiebenSat.1, the largest German media company, which is also a shareholder in Stylight. When the group started looking for a new CEO for Stylight, it was clear to me from the very beginning that I
wanted to take on this role because of its great potential, and because of the extraordinary team and the many possibilities of this company.
One of Stylight’s strengths is its cross-team organization: we share the knowledge, skills and experience of each team (technical, sales, marketing) to bring out the best ideas and new perspectives. We regularly organize an “Open Friday”, a day dedicated to creativity, where our employees have the opportunity to work and propose intra-team projects that are usually not part of their daily tasks. Thanks to these days with high innovative potential, we have been able to implement the vision of our company and approach our mission differently. Other projects with a social and environmental aspect have improved the quality of the office life of our employees.
How does the Pandemic affect your Business, and how are you dealing with the Situation?
Julian von Eckartsberg: At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe even the online fashion and lifestyle industry was affected. The current crisis has created a high degree of uncertainty: while some countries, like the UK or the US, have adopted a rather aggressive commercial response, others, such as France, have adopted a relatively cautious approach, stopping all ongoing affiliation campaigns. Today, most of our partners have reactivated their campaigns, and, after a brief decline in March, the number of visits and the volume of research on our platforms have increased, landing at even higher levels than before. We see a clear change in behavior between offline and online, which is strongly reflected in our data.
Have you had to make Difficult Choices? What have you learned throughout this Period?
Julian von Eckartsberg: Since the beginning of the crisis, we decided to review and adjust our budgets (towards marketing and recruiting activities, for example), but we were quite lucky compared to other companies. The shut-down of brick & mortar stores during the lockdown led to an organic increase in online sales for many e-commerce players. We didn’t have to make decisions that were too hard, but we certainly learned a lot. Now we know that our “remote” work processes are as effective as when we all work from the office, and for this reason, we decided to give our employees the benefit of a new and more advantageous home office policy.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety, and how do you see yourself and Stylight in the Future?
Julian von Eckartsberg: In general, I would describe myself as a very balanced person: on the one hand, I have a high level of energy, and on the other, I’m very grounded and serene. This helps me react under pressure and during stressful or uncertain times. The important thing is to stay calm, think and act!
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to Remain Relevant compared to them?
Julian von Eckartsberg: Stylight is the world’s leading research platform for fashion, beauty and home and living products. With over 27 million products available in 1300 partner stores, Stylight attracts over 12 million unique users in 16 international markets every month. In France, for example, and on a small scale, one of our competitors in the fashion category is the Lyst platform.
We aim to offer our partner stores, but also our users, the best possible experience. We are currently working on the launch of the Beauty category for the French website, which will be available in the coming weeks. The creation of spaces dedicated to a more targeted product type and audience, such as the Luxury Loft and Premium Loft was designed specifically for luxury and premium products and brands.
Last but not least, we are particularly focused on ensuring the greatest possible success for our boutique partners on our platforms. Our vision is focused on conversion, and on constantly improving the return on our partner’s investment, and this is certainly essential to stand out from our competitors.
Any Last Thoughts to Conclude?
Julian von Eckartsberg: I hope that Europe, its economy and its people will overcome this crisis and become stronger, just like our users and partners. We are happy to support our customers in this regard.
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