European Business: Ms. Schuhman, you are the head of a company that mainly targets men. Isn’t that a paradox?
Nicola Schumann: Not at all. Before there was the company there was a Grand Old Dame called Beate Uhse. She founded the company and she made it successful. She had a great intuition for social trends, new impulses and demands. Of course, both our industry and sexuality used to focus on men exclusively, for many years. Beate Uhse just met the spirit of the time. This is what we do today, too. Over the years, our society changed. Nowadays, sexuality is not as much a taboo as it once used to be and it is not men-oriented any more. People are much more open, today and the role of women changed. You find female managers in all kinds of industries. Talking about the adult industry, women are setting the tone, especially in the erotic lifestyle sector. Our target group is much more diversified than it once used to be. It includes singles and couples of both genders – all people who like a sexually active lifestyle.
European Business: What do you think are the strengths of Beate Uhse?
Nicola Schumann: Thanks to our long history and experience in the market, our brand is extremely well-known. Today, we follow a cross-channel marketing concept and unite e-commerce activities with the personal brand experience in our newly designed shops where we offer qualified and individual consultancy. We have customers who prefer to order at home and to stay anonymous. Also, there are those who prefer a personal shopping experience. They appreciate our service and like to touch the products before they take their buying decision. Our cross-channel strategy integrates different sales channels into a seamless shopping experience. This way, we offer our clients real added value. Also, our cross-border approach is unique. Beate Uhse is represented in several European countries with a whole range of strong brands. We have wholesale exports to over 50 different countries. Yet, we are still one of the leading providers of erotic lifestyle products.
European Business: Apart from Germany, what will be your most important markets in the future?
Nicola Schumann: We already achieve almost two thirds of our annual turnover outside Germany. Still, Germany is our most important market, followed by the Netherlands, France and Belgium. We cover the respective markets with different brands. For example, Pabo is our brand for the Netherlands, Belgium, England and the Czech Republic. Adam & Eve is our label in France. Our marketing is tailor-made to the regions in order to meet the national preferences, trends and demands. This strategy enables us to react individually to local market changes. In general, the adult industry hardly depends on the overall economic development. Yet, we see a promising future for erotic lifestyle in Europe. In all European markets, we see a strong trend towards online shopping.
European Business: What will be your next major steps at Beate Uhse?
Nicola Schumann: First of all, we will celebrate our 70th anniversary in October. Against the background of these festivities we will launch a brand new sales and marketing campaign. Just recently, we presented a sophisticated anniversary lingerie collection and a special anniversary edition box containing everything you need to make your love life more exciting. Also, we will soon open up our new flagship department store in Berlin. Here, we will present our new image and promote the experience of our brands.
European Business: How do you manage to take all your employees with you on this journey?
Nicola Schumann: Once, Beate Uhse was a charismatic entrepreneur and a pioneer in sexual self-confidence. I continue her heritage and support a transparent, value-based and future-oriented company culture. We go on this journey as a team. Our determination is to strip off the bad image of our industry and to become the leading brand in erotic lifestyle and sexual well-being. We all work hard to prepare Beate Uhse for the future and to implement the new strategy. We have a common goal and a common vision – this was the guiding principle of Beate Uhse when she started, too.
European Business: Ms. Schumann: What is your vision for Beate Uhse?
Nicola Schumann: My vision is to position us as a historically rooted label with a modern and digital approach as one of the leading names in the adult industry. Our goal is to offer singles and couples a platform to enjoy a self-confident and erotic lifestyle and to pave the way for innovative products and inspiring ideas around people’s sexuality.