Tradeconthor caused a sensation in 2016 with the 2 in 1 charging cable. The company from Luneburg in North Germany stands for innovative trend products “designed in Germany”, which are developed in cooperation with renowned designers, and which not only convince in terms of their technology and design, but also in their capacity as promotional products.
The product that Tradeconthor hit the market with last year, is equally simple and innovative: According to company accounts, it is the first product ever to combine two types of connections and thus addresses the target groups of both Apple and Android users. Its novel universal connection is compatible with iPhones as well as devices with a micro-USB connection and impresses technology freaks. Its design is harmonious and thanks to its exposed magnetic closure system the charger is always ready at hand on the key fob, once the respective battery starts running out. The fact that the clever cable address two target groups of smartphone users and its high practical value are characteristics that make it predestined for the promotional products market. There is no doubt about it: With the 2 in 1 charging cable that was introduced onto the market at the beginning of 2016, Tradeconthor is proving that coherent new developments are still also possible on the trend and mass market of electronic gadgets. “
We are more than satisfied with the success of the 2 in 1,” commented Julian Thormählen, CEO of Tradeconthor. “The product took off from the very start, we were able to land a few fantastic projects and to round it all off we won the Promotional Gift Award 2017 at the end of the year.” Against this background, the title chosen for the accompanying marketing campaign “Promotional Gifts of the Year” hit the bull’s eye: For Tradeconthor the past year was characterised by the innovative energy booster and rapid growth. The original headcount of three employees has in the meantime expanded up to 19, in 2016 around 450 customers placed orders with Tradeconthor, hundreds of thousands of charging cables were sold within 12 months. “After this great start we are well-positioned to also venture beyond Germany onto the international market,” explained Alexander Nolte, Sales Director Export.
Tradeconthor started off in the “non-physical” area: Together with several friends Thormählen, at the time a business student completing a dual degree, developed a software that placed promotion jingles into telephone waiting queues. “At the time, we worked from home and we all knew each other from school – a good basis for the company in its present form,” recalled Thormählen. “In the end, we stopped the software project because we weren’t able to find a venture capital provider that was prepared to offer us the initial starting capital for our model. Instead we decided to market in future physical products.” A cooperation with an Israeli start-up called mobeego followed, which had developed a disposal charging device for smartphones: “We launched the product onto the local market as the German partner of mobeego,” reported Thormählen. “Then, after a few months we opted for a change in course: We no longer wanted to be wholesalers, but instead develop and produce products ourselves. We already had one idea: A charging cable for the key fob.” First of all, Tradeconthor presented the S1ngle models that are optionally available with an iPhone, micro-USB or USB-C connection and as a pure charging cable or as a combined data and charging cable. In addition to the retail sector, the company has also been active on the B2B segment from the very start: Here, the first big order was placed in December 2015. “After we had attracted the attention of major customers like Telekom and VW for instance, who demanded further functions for our product, we set off to look for a renowned designer. In the process we came across Emamidesign,” said Thormählen. The famous Berlin-based agency for industry design had won over 70 awards for its work, around 20 of the distinctions are in fact red dot design awards. “After making initial contact, we quickly came to an agreement and jointly further developed the cable,” explained Thormählen.
In April 2016, Tradeconthor presented a new own development: The 2 in 1 charging cable expanded the idea of the S1ngle model, Tradeconthor are responsible for the idea and technical realisation. All models from the line-up are available in black or white, for minimum order quantities of 5,000 pieces, both the connection and the cable colour can be dyed in customer-specific or CIcompatible shades. Furthermore, the connection can be customised with a logo imprint and the design of the packaging can also be individualised. Tradeconthor offers three types of packaging: The bestseller is the give-away packaging made of plastic without a Euro hole that comes on a real key-ring, beyond this plastic packaging with a Euro hole and a recycling box are also available. For the printing services Tradeconthor falls back on a partner in Germany, the production of the items occurs in China. There the company relies on the support of a manufacturer partner in Shenzhen. Thormählen: “After the first successful projects we needed a producer, who can guarantee reliable quality, large volumes as well as customising flexibility. It didn’t take long to find a suitable partner, whom we have been working closely together with ever since. We optimised the production on-site in line with our requirements and maintain close contact. In Shenzhen, 25 employees are dedicated to the non-stop production of charging cables.” The fact that two subsidiaries are currently being founded in Hong Kong and Ningbo is further consolidating the Far East business, two employees are already stationed there. “Our Chinese Executive Director previously worked for a supplier of VW and speaks German,” reported Thormählen. “We will hire further employees in China in the near future.”
In the meantime, 17 employees work at the headquarters of Tradeconthor in Luneburg in North Germany, including the management, sales, marketing, IT, procurement, logistics and administration departments. Tradeconthor even took on an apprentice in the autumn of 2016. The growth of the last months is not least the result of a stringent sales and marketing policy. The Tradeconthor team exhibited at numerous trade fairs in Germany and abroad last year, in 2017 the presence at trade fairs is to be further extended. The “Give-away of the Year” campaign supports the sales activities together with numerous further marketing ideas that are also exceptional. For example, the company was not represented at the PSI 2017 with an exhibition stand, however eye-catching advertising measures drew the attention of the visitors to the “Give-away of the Year”, in order to attract traffic to the online presence of the company. “In addition to trade fairs and print advertising in all relevant German and international industry media, we are placing a strong emphasis on online channels,” explained Thormählen. CTO Hagen Knust added: “One of our strengths lies in the digital sector – after all we come from the software development branch. We produce websites, shops and marketing materials in-house, thereby placing high value on innovative presentation and technology such as 3D animations and videos.” A programmer, a 3D artist and an administrator make up part of the team, the company additionally works together with a graphic designer.
In 2017, not only growth in the B2B sector is strived for, Tradeconthor also wants to push its efforts on the retail market. The innovation wheel keeps on spinning: “We will soon produce the 2 in 1 as the first charging cable in the world made of organic plastic,” announced Thormählen. “Furthermore, for 2017 the aim is to hire further employees in the product management department in order to track down innovative product trends faster. We want to design and construct new products in shorter intervals and market them for the mainstream. We have a number of product ideas in the pipeline that we will launch very soon. Our motto is ‘Always one step ahead’, our vision is: We want to be the number one contact partner for ‘designed in Germany’ trend products by the year 2020 in Europe”. An ambitious goal, but after Tradeconthor’s vertical take-off, all the signs for further development are very promising.
// Till Barth
photos: Till Barth, © WA Media (1); Tradeconthor (4)