Hannes is one of the first guys who were employed by Lukasz Gadowski, which means that he joined Spreadshirt shortly after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Consequently, Hannes is “Head of Asset Management” today. Find out what his devotion to Spreadshirt is all about, and have him fill you in on the most successful Spreadshirt designs.
Leipzig born and bread?
Yes, I was born and raised in this lovely place. Leipzig is a great place for studying, living and working. Having seen many German cities and towns all over Germany during my time with the army, I was convinced that Leipzig is a choice place to live. That’s why I moved back here in 2004. That’s when Spreadshirt were looking for a graphics designer. The add just said “Designer wanted”, nothing else. So I applied for the job, and Lukasz called me the next day to ask me when he could meet me. I talked to him, and the next day I started to work for Spreadshirt.
2004, those were the days. We can sure tell that you’ve changed your job. What happened?
In the beginning I was more like a typesetter for designs. I would place the individual design parts in a space-saving way in order to minimise clippings. And I learnt a lot about plot printing and making vector graphics files printable. But I also knew after half a year or so that I didn’t want to do this forever, so I enrolled for a university course in economical engineering. During this time I still worked for Spreadshirt’s design service, as a freelancer. When I had just bagged my Master of Engineering in 2010, there was an opening for the team-leader position at the Design Service. This is how I started my regular work week here. Until a few months ago, the Design Service was still officially a part of Spreadshirt’s customer service. That’s now changed. My department now operates independently from Service, and it’s called Asset Management.
Did this change have any effect on customers and shop partners?
No, not at all. Changes took place in the background and mostly concern my work. I have a few new tasks, more responsibility and I spent half of the time in meetings in order to create projects and streamline work flows. So this time has about doubled. I keep tabs on my time planning now!
How do costumers and asset management get in touch with Asset Management?
As soon as they upload a design. And it only really becomes obvious in case a design gets rejected. Another example would be when people have legal questions. What else can they do? Contact the Graphics Service. They help in case customers need assistance with turning their template into a printable design.
How many designs do you examine on a weekly basis?
This happens automatically so the customer can make use of his design as soon as possible. After that we run checks on aspects of quality and ethical aspects. During this year’s summer, there was a week when we were looking into 51,000 in Europe alone. That was an ultimate record. And our team did fantastically well in dealing with this onslaught. Usually there are about 30,000 per week. In North America, there usually are between 20,000 and 30,000 designs per week.
That’s an immense number, when you think about it! How big is your team?
There are 10 people in Leipzig, and 2 in the US. But not all of them look into designs. In Germany there are 3, and 2 in the US.
Some designs don’t take a lot of time. You just look at them and can instantly say whether it’s a yes or a no. But some of them require some more expensive research. I can do about 100 designs an hour, and a real pro would be able to do 500-600. These folks know whether a design is passable without the help of Google.
Are there a lot of copyright problems?
Yes, quite a few obvious ones. Well known logos of many different brands are constantly uploaded, as well as images of pop stars and actors, which cannot be used without consent. T-shirts showing One Direction, Justin Bieber or the ACDC logo are official merch sold by the artists, but not by Spreadshirt.
You deal with designs every day. Do you have any inside tips to pass on ? And are there any trending topics?
A clue? That’s actually not that easy. The most straightforward designs are those that sell best. And if you create a design with a text field it will be even more successful. One that’s a best-selling classic is the “I <3 xxx” design. But there are hundreds of them on the Marketplace already. My recommendation would be to create graphics that go easy on the eye. And to come back to your question: A recommendation for a topic is difficult since we have a huge selection for most areas of interest. Maybe we could do with a few more on “surfing” and “kite surfing”. Trending sports and unusual hobbies definitely hold some potential. Now about you: Do you have a motto or mantra that makes you a good cop or bad cop?
I want to create a friendly atmosphere in my team. Cooperation and democratic leadership is what’s important to me. Having fun at work is much better than just issuing orders. Everybody should feel good at work. Since you spend about half of your time at work, it’s quite important for everyone to feel alright. And Spreadhsirt is a really good place to feel good. I’ve been a witness to it over many years!
Do you have a life outside Spreadshirts? And are you still day-dreaming about a different life?
New Zealand I definitely want to travel New Zealand.
Good answer, and here I was thinking I had put you off track! How come that’s so clear to you?
It’s been in my head for a while. The country has a lot of fascinating aspects to it. But it’s quite a way to get there. Last year I travelled to California, which had been a goal before. New Zealand has been on my mind for 2 or 3 years. I just need a goal for my next travel destination. In the past I would book a holiday trip before embarking on the previous one.
Is that due to a mad travelling bug or are you just a control freak?
A bit of both, probably. I’m just quite fond of travelling. And I can’t say that I’m not organized. It’s important for me to have these goals to be able to look forward to something. That’s why I plan ahead.
Who do you want to see in our next Meet A Spreadster?
Someone who’s been around even longer than me: Markus Kellner.
Thank you for taking the time, you were great! Any questions you want to ask Hannes? Please do it here, I’ll pass it on!