SPORT - INTERVIEW
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Stefan Clauss, Co-Founder and CEO of HEIMPLANET
SPORT - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
There is an idea that suddenly emerges at the born of every innovative design. The idea of The Cave has come up during a surf trip that made to the Atlantic coasts. Stefan Clauss and Stefan Schulze Dieckhoff worked for three years to realize their idea and create a unique tent for outdoor lovers. As a result of all their work, The Cave appeared. In order to learn more about HEIMPLANET and innovative inflatable tent The Cave, I asked Stefan Clauss, Co-Founder and CEO of HEIMPLANET.
Before start talking about Heimplanet, could you tell us about your background and design industry experience?
Before launching HEIMPLANET, I was working in advertising as a strategic planner. My job was to find the right match between people and brands.
So job wise there was not really a background in design or a particular connection to the design industry. It has always been a private passion of mine since I can remember.
When we started the development of our first inflatable tent, The Cave it took us almost three years from start to finish. During these three years, we felt like students again and we studied everything we needed for this development. When we started we did not know much, when the product was finished, we knew what was "state of the art" in design, production and in the field of materials. It was an amazing ride.
HEIMPLANET Fistral © Hannes Becker
What was the inspiration for Heimplanet? Could you tell us about the Heimplanet story?
Simply us. We loved traveling with a tent and we loved the process of traveling a lot. There are not many experiences that can be as groundbreaking as traveling. By traveling I don't mean regular holidays. I am talking about the experience of being surrounded by a new culture, a new landscape, been challenged, being inspired and that excitement that comes from all these experiences. I believe everyone who experienced it knows what I am talking about and can relate to it. We wanted to create a brand that embodies that spirit and enables you to have more of these experiences.
The idea for The Cave occurred during one of these trips while Stefan (Schulze Dieckhoff) and I were on a surf trip along the Atlantic coast of Portugal. After setting up the tent every night, we one day asked ourselves, what would the tent of the future look like? That's when it started.
HEIMPLANET Nias © Felix Gansicke
What are the advantages and responsibilities of being a German Brand?
I am not sure if there are any particular advantages and responsibilities of being a German Brand, but I believe that the Germany culture has some influences from a long history of engineering. This perspective has most definitely influenced us and it's one of the main aspects of our brand. We want to deliver products that offer a clear advantage and that offer technical benefits. Even our t-shirts that appear to be simple, are made from a technical fabric that makes these shirts very functional. It’s these aspects, which you can feel, that make the difference. If we can not create that difference with a product, we won't do it. I believe this is what you might call our German influence.
HEIMPLANET The Cave @ChrisMcLeod
The Cave is your first product. It was the key that brought you success. Why did you decide to design The Cave?
The Cave was born out of our very personal experience while traveling and moving around a lot. We thought that there must be a better and easier way to set up a tent. That was our starting point. Later, during our development, we stumble across Buckminster Fuller and the geodesic principle, from there on, it was very obvious that that was the right path for us. Geodesic domes offer the perfect solution for a tent. The offer the best possible ratio between the used material and the room that they create. Making an inflatable version of that was never done before. But I think even more important is the fact that people connect to geodesic structures in one way or another. Many people react even emotional when they see geodesic domes. I believe it's a magical mix of something natural, maybe fundamental that at the same time looks futuristic. It combines the future with the past.
The Cave is beside our tent Mavericks the one where this principle is the most obvious and I believe that's why it's still our best selling model up to today.
HEIMPLANET The Cave © Michi Lehmann
What are the features of The Cave? What kind of innovations The Cave design contain?
The key to our development was what we later called our "Multi-Chamber Safety System". It simply means that we break down what appears to be a complex structure in much simpler pieces. The Cave, for example, is built from 5 identical air chambers that combined create the inflatable frame. All these sections are connected by a bypass system that allows inflating the tent at once. Afterward, these sections can simply be separated from each other with a simple clip. This ensures maximum safety and easy maintenance. Even if you forget to close a valve properly our in the unlikely event of a damage, only one of five pieces would be affected and the others keep the structure stable. This principle also ensures that repairs can be done with no effort without even taking down the tent. We patented this principle and you can find it just with HEIMPLANET tents.
HEIMPLANET Monolith Rucksack © Felix Gansicke
After The Cave, what kind of products did you design? How many different types of products do you offer now?
Since our inspiration was rather traveling than just camping, we added bags in 2012 to our portfolio and we are now starting slowly to add more apparel as well.
With these new categories, we also stick to our principle of offering the right function as we say: for every trip and every day.
Right now we have 5 different tent designs 3 bag series and a growing selection of apparel and accessories.
HEIMPLANET © Jan Vincent Kleine
Could you briefly tell us about your products common features? Which features of your products makes Heimplanet brand different from your competitors?
HEIMPLANET products combine function and quality with a design that allows you to use them whenever and wherever. The most functional product becomes useless when you feel uncomfortable with the way it looks or with the look it suggests. We believe that a clean and minimalistic design is the best solution to make sure the products adjust to your lifestyle rather than the other way around. We believe that there is a growing demand for products that offer quality on all three levels. What we mean by that is that more people search for products that offer
1. practical solutions. Our products should offer you a better experience through better technical solutions.
2. better materials. The possibilities have never been better to create products that last and add great functionalities on a material level
3. A design that always works. We try to create products that can be easily integrated into all aspects of your life.
HEIMPLANET Fistral Tent Cairo Camo © Jan Vincent Kleine
Please tell us the story of your collaboration with AUDI design team. What is the final result?
The work with Audi has been a great experience. One day our telephone rang and we received a call from one of the designers at Audi who told us about an idea they were working on. A week later we met in our office in Hamburg and started working on a tent concept, that would extend the interior of the car into a living and sleeping area created by one of our tents.
The result is a tent that with the help of individual connection parts can be attached to all Audi Q-Series models. The tent is always the same, just a connection piece is designed to fit a specific model. Thanks to this connection piece, the tents fit like a glove and we create a weatherproof connection and a unique solution where tent and car really become one space.
HEIMPLANET Monolith Daypack @JohannesHohn
You made successful Kickstarter campaigns. What were the key points?
So far we finished one campaign in 2016 and our 2nd campaign ends on the 11th of August. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/heimplanet/heimplanet-transit-line-everyday-travel-bags
Kickstarter requires e really good preparation. It's a great platform to make projects happen, but it requires you to really mobilize your network and make sure you generate enough traffic for your campaign.
You can find a lot of very helpful guidelines online that will explain all the essentials you need for a good preparation.
HEIMPLANET Tent View © Johannes Hohn
Could you briefly tell us about your ambassador program and your ambassadors?
Our ambassador program is very essential for us. Most of the people in our program travel most of their time and they are the experts to help us understand how to build better products. Their input is very essential for our design process and it really helps to anticipate a wide range of perspectives. At the same time, we structure our program in a way that we just work with people that really want to use our products. We don't want to pay people to use our products. We want to work with people who in the first place are keen to use our products and then we want to help them achieve their goal by supporting them on their ideas and projects.
This way our partnerships and connection are very real and we believe we find the best representatives for HEIMPLANET.
How do you use social media for Heimplanet? How can our readers follow Heimplanet?
Our Instagram profile https://www.instagram.com/heimplanet/ is the place where we feature a lot of the pictures that are created by our ambassadors. Pretty much all the pictures you find there were made on real trips. We very rarely share pictures from shootings. We hope this way our Instagram channel becomes an inspiration that motivates you for your next trip.
We use Facebook to connect closer with the people who care about HEIMPLANET. We post updates on everything around HEIMPLANET our products, projects and give the chance to peek behind the curtain. https://www.facebook.com/heimplanet/
How can our readers buy Heimplanet products? Do you have an international delivery option?
You can find HEIMPLANET products in a growing number of retailers. If you can't find the product you are searching for, we offer worldwide delivery from our online store www.heimplanet.com
What is next for Heimplanet?
After our Kickstarter campaign finishes, we are looking forward to starting working on new products and keep exploring new ideas and projects. #whereveryougo
Thank you Stefan.