Great visions sometimes spring from comical situations. This was the case with the founding of ANTHEC GmbH & Co. KG. When out on a boating holiday together, the current Managing Directors, Andre Beelmann and Thomas Klatt, wore the full fisherman gear with slouch hat pulled down. ‘Dölmer’ – Westphalian slang for a silly fool – has become the key word for the funny slouch hat look.
The business idea of marketing a hat online with customisable logo, lettering and slogan embroidery was born. Each customer can have his motto written virtually on his forehead – available for order through the very first website, www.doelmer.de.
The legal founding of Beelmann & Klatt GbR made the concept of an online hat shop a reality. In their parental homes, the then economics students, Beelmann and Klatt, accepted their first orders for the embroidered slouch hats. Customised embroidery was on trend at the time, but growing competition in the market led to a change of the concept.
Instead of focusing on embroidery, the two-man operation concentrated on expanding the range. www.hutshopping.de replaced the ‘Dölmer’ site and provided around 20 different hat models – the first western hat and straw hat are still bestsellers to this day.
The Beelmann & Klatt GbR company was renamed Anthec GmbH. Due to increasing sales, the company expanded and included successive new brands and models in the range, in order to reach a wide range of customer demands.
The steady increase in order volume and range of products required a move to the new business and warehouse space at Wienburgstr. 189, 48147 Münster. The goods were professionally stored and made ready for dispatch in just over 1,000 m². An expansion was planned.
The extensive relaunch of the Hutshopping website optimised the user interface for customers and was more clearly designed than before.
Hutshopping started a Facebook fan page in April. With the help of social media, customer contact was intensified by exchanging suggestions and questions about hat shapes, materials, order processes etc. in a very non-bureaucratic and timely manner. In addition, fans were also presented with the latest trends, tips, competitions and Hutshopping vouchers.
HUT.de, the new premium online shop for headwear, opened its online doors in June. In addition to Hutshopping.de, HUT.de offered more brand collections, more extensive product information and a comprehensive service. The wide selection could be refined by various criteria, such as occasion or colour. Free shipping within Germany, 100 day returns and free telephone advice make ordering even more convenient.
This year was certainly very special in the ANTHEC GmbH and Co. KG company history. Because, after long and intensive planning, the company moved to a new premises in the Loddenheide industrial area of Münster in September 2011. The administration building was on Willy-Brandt-Weg and featured 600 m² of office space and a 900 m² wide and seven metre high warehouse with packaging area, which offered sufficient space for the over 60,000 items stored there. A connected warehouse shop also offered customers the opportunity to visit in person and receive qualified advice.
In January 2012 HUT.de also joined the Facebook social network with its own account. From this time on, customers were always up to date and informed about the latest hat trends. The brand range of both Hutshopping and HUT.de were gradually expanded to include sporty accessories with trendy caps and water-repellent bandanas. There was even headwear such as cute caps, hats and scarves for the little ones. As the world of social networks is constantly expanding and an online presence is a must for online shops these days, customers could now ‘tweet’ Hutshopping.de on Twitter and join the Hutshopping.de circle on Google+.
An integrated blog on Hutshopping.de allowed customers – without relying on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – to always find out about the latest trends and news relating to Hutshopping.
The demand for mobile shops on smartphones is increasing – Hutshopping joined in and released a mobile version. This is followed by the foreign shops: The French shop, Chapeaushop.fr, and the Dutch shop, Hoedshop.nl were the first to open with the Italian shop, Cappellishop.it and the English shop, Hatshopping.com opening mobile versions a little later on. The brand range was also expanded, particularly with regard to brands who are known for their handmade and high quality hats.
The launch of Hatshopping.co.uk made it possible for British customers to pay in sterling. At the same time, Hatshopping.com remained available to all other English-speaking customers. HUT.de Store Aachen opened in the Aquis Plaza shopping centre.
The Austrian site Hutshopping.at was launched. HUT.de Store Bonn also opened its doors.
Along with Swiss branch Hutshopping.ch, the online shop CapUniverse was launched. The shop is aimed at younger customers in particular and offers an extensive and varying range of caps. This year also saw planning commence for the construction of an additional, approx. 2,100 m² warehouse with integrated administrative wing and showroom, with completion scheduled for the late summer of 2018. In keeping with the age of social media, Hutshopping.de joined Instagram.
HUT.de followed suit and now launched its own presence on Instagram. The new building and its large warehouse were completed according to plan, opening up entirely new logistical possibilities and allowing for additional staff in the photography and graphic department. HUT.de Store Cologne was renovated and modernised.
The company hit the magic number of 100 employees. The location of Hut.de Store Aachen in the Aquis Plaza shopping centre was ultimately less of a success, leading to its closure in June. The Polish Hutshopping branch Kapelusz.pl was launched in summer, allowing Polish customers to now “hatshop” in their native language. The two new Hut.de Stores Bremen and Dresden were opened just in time for the Christmas season.