Thoughts of our German Representative
1. How does the current COVID-situation affect your working life, Riikka Wartianen from RW Concept?
Obviously it has a huge effect on everyday life here in Germany. For five weeks we had to keep our showroom closed, as all stores other than food stores and pharmacies were instructed to do so. Since Monday the 20th of April smaller shops that are less than 800m2 were allowed to reopen their doors. Now there is a new law according to which everyone working in the shops and visiting them must wear a mask.
A big change to normal working life is the lack of meetings with the clients, as physical contacts should be kept to minimum. But on the other hand, it has worked pretty nicely to stay in touch with the clients via emails and phone calls instead. It has also been nice to see that during these weeks Germany has taken a big step towards home office culture, as earlier it was fairly uncommon for people to work from home. Now it has become clear that working from home is just as productive as from the traditional office!
Another big change is that all fairs have been cancelled or postponed. They are very important to us and surely we were very disappointed that Light + Building didn’t take place in March as it should have and at this very moment we should have been in springlike Milan!
What is positive, is that architects and designers are still keeping in touch and planning on. Of course it causes uncertainty when no one knows time wise when the new projects could actually materialize, but it gives us hope to see them continuing with their existing plans and planning new projects!
During the five weeks long closure we were obviously mainly getting orders from webshops, but I truly hope that now that the smaller shops are allowed to open again, the customers will find their way back. Hopefully people will also see how empty and miserable the streets in the centre would look without the small charismatic local shops brightening up the scene. I personally also hope that the elderly people who have been forced to explore the online shops during the closures wouldn’t have gotten too excited about them and would enjoy returning back to physical stores instead!
2. What's the effect on your market? How do you see the future and the impact this will have within the industry?
It’s a big question mark to all. In the short run I can say that big webshops seem to be the winners. Also the competition is hard as in general there are less people buying design related products now that the times are so uncertain and some of us have even lost their jobs or been temporarily laid off.
As a positive impact to the furniture industry I see the fact that home has become a very important place for many now that we are spending more and more time inside. Most probably until the end of the year most travel plans will be buried but instead people might start investing in their homes transforming them into them cosy nests from where it’s not necessary to travel away at all!
I also believe that the respect for quality will rise. At least I have personally noticed during the passed weeks that it is actually very little that I need. And the things I do buy, I want them to be long lasting quality products.
3. Share one of the recent interesting projects you have had with Secto Design lamps?
We have so many interesting projects! Dean and David to mention one of the nicest ones. That’s a health restaurant chain that has chosen Secto lamps to be part of all their cafes, and as they have one in more or less every German city, the Secto lamps are quite nicely seen around the country!
Another great one is Germany’s highest restaurant Panorama 2962 in the Zugspitze where they have Secto lamps. Oh, and also the newly opened Nautiland Würzberg Spa where they have 34 lamps hanging. We also have something exciting coming with Porsche and Stena Line cruise ships, but more about those later!
4. Share your most surprising Secto related story
Oh, there are so many nice memories! Which one to choose? Maybe I’ll mention the one with very popular “Fuck you Goethe 2” comedy series here in Germany, where they had Secto lamps featured. Thanks to Secto lamps being on the film, we got an invitation to the premiere in Münich! We saw Elyas M’Barek, the hot main actor on “Fuck you Goethe 2”, and other famous actors and actresses on a red carpet. The highlight of the evening – of course – was to spot the Octo pendant on the film!
5. Greetings to colleagues
We are in this together! We will survive, let’s all try to stay on the positive side. It’s important to be there for our clients, they need us to care now. In general, we are all in this crises together, so let’s be there for each others.
Happy to have such great brand as Secto as partners: quality products that bring joy and happiness to their owners couldn’t be better in this time we are living now!