WERNS, ruler of animal kingdom. Since the end of last year, the young designer brand from Münster has been selling their extravagant products from the animal kingdom via their own online shop across the whole of Europe – backed by logistics from FIEGE NOW.
Stepping into the showroom is like stepping into another universe. It feels a bit like a visit to a zoo with lamps. Monkeys, leopards, giraffes, seals. They’re all here – and they all have a name: Franz Josef, Lucie, Leopold or Otto, shining as brightly as they can.
And right in the middle is David Voß. The 29-year-old Münster native is the zookeeper, so to speak. In 2020, the managing director had the idea and the courage to call the WERNS brand to life together with the co-managing director, Alexandra Gördes. True to local vernacular, WERNS is pronounced a bit like worms only with a ‘v’ at the start and an ‘n’ further on, and is named after David Voß’ dad, whose nickname is Werns.
“The whole process is still very fresh and gained quite the momentum because of Covid”, Voß says. He first toyed with the idea in 2020 after which the project grew steadily. “Things really heated up in 2021. And in December of last year, our online shop went live.”
It doesn’t get much more unusual than this: the exotic animal lights from WERNS, here the “Hiding Bunny” model, are a real eye-catcher. (Photo: WERNS)
From B2B to B2C
WERNS is a brand that emerged from Werner Voß GmbH, which has been supplying the wholesale trade and distributing exclusive interior design items under its Bring Adventure Home maxim since 1986. “WERNS is actually the sub-brand”, David Voß explains, adding that “it is principally the consumer brand.” Beyond this, WERNS is something of “the creative hub of Werner Voß GmbH, the lab where we get to let off steam like crazy”, he says.
And letting off steams seems to have paid off. In the meantime, WERNS has almost 210,000 followers on Instagram alone. #beyondordinary is the hashtag that says it all. It encompasses today’s zeitgeist. And when David Voß says that they are “only at the very beginning” of their B2C journey but “no longer light years away”, there is almost something comical to that statement when looking at the luminous product range.
“The animal lamps were and are the origin of WERNS”, the managing director tells us. “In the meantime, however, our product range also features wallpaper, vases, pots and furniture.” After all, so his opinion, the sky’s (not) the limit when it comes to their assortment of products, even though they serve a niche. “The interest in products with some sort of animal connection is huge. The universe is infinite.”
David Voß, Managing Director of WERNS, named the stylish brand after his father. (Photo: WERNS)
First steps, important insights
On their journey to infinity, the young team of WERNS is learning a lot day by day, ever since the online shop went live last December. “We check which items sell very well online. And we are learning quite a bit right now”, says David Voß. “Currently, we have around 500 orders per month. In perspective, we naturally are aiming to increase this figure many times over. Which is why 2022 will be a super exciting year of learning for us because we are gaining new insights practically on a daily basis right now.”
WERNS had to overcome three major challenges when taking the leap to becoming a B2C business. David Voß sums those up as a creative, a marketing-related, and an organisational challenge. At a creative level, it was especially about the design, the text copy, or photography; from a marketing perspective, it is on one hand about the communication with existing customers from the wholesale trade and on the other about securing the brand’s exclusivity. “And in terms of organisation, we had to decide who we wanted as our logistics partner and payment provider and who would build our online shop.”
Alexandra Gördes runs WERNS as co-managing director together with David Voß. (Photo: WERNS)
FIEGE NOW as the “perfect solution”
In terms of logistics, the choice went to the family business FIEGE, whose FIEGE NOW product has appealed specifically to smaller and mid-sized online shops since 2021. “This was the perfect solution for us because it allowed us to just get going – so an ideal entry-level programme”, David Voß reveals. “We were able to start fast at an affordable budget. FIEGE knew how to ideally cover our needs in terms of logistics and interface connection. Theoretically, we could have quickly opted out because of the short contract term had our online shop not made it. The risk was very low for us. In the end, the flexibility and agility of FIEGE were the key points for us when it came to making our decision.”
The young entrepreneur has not regretted his decision. “I have nothing but praise for FIEGE”, he says. “The collaboration is going really well because both sides are extremely agile. We enjoy a close and trustworthy exchange because there is mutual understanding. Above all, we always take a solution-minded approach – the end customer is ultimately the primary focus.”
WERNS has thus been shipping its zoo of lamps from the FIEGE logistics centre based in Apfelstädt, Thuringia to all 27 countries within the EU – so that Franz Josef, Lucie, Leopold, Otto and their companions may make the world a slightly brighter place.
All about FIEGE NOW: https://fiege-now.com/