Wie aus einer Bier-Idee 750'000 gepflanzte Bäume wurden – NIKIN wird 4 Jahre alt - NIKIN EU

How a beer idea became 750,000 trees planted – NIKIN is 4 years old

In October NIKIN celebrates its 4th anniversary. But how did it all actually start? A look back at four eventful years surrounding the NIKIN fir.

In October NIKIN celebrates its 4th anniversary. But how did it all actually start? A look back at four eventful years surrounding the NIKIN fir.

Nicholas & Robin

It all started 4 years ago. On 20. In October 2016, the two friends Nicholas and Robin, who have known each other since childhood and get along well, met for a beer in Lenzburg. There is a reason for the meeting; they have been wanting to do something together and start a joint project for a long time.

The inventive spirit was probably already in the cradle

Nicholas started his own small project while still studying economics in 2013. Under the name “NIKIT” he designed and sold black gym bags, adorned with his own logo. The popular bags were well received by his friends and acquaintances and the few hundred bags were sold out in no time. His success didn't go unnoticed; it didn't take long until a world-famous snowboard brand from Iceland asked him to stop producing under the name "NIKIT" to protect his brand. So he was forced to give up his booming project for the time being.

Robin, who was actually trained as an automotive mechatronics engineer, lacked the creativity in his job that had already flowed out of him as a child and so in 2015 he decided to take a new path in his life. He obtained his vocational baccalaureate, completed the preliminary design course with flying colors and began studying industrial design. He had never enjoyed going to school so much before - he could now finally give free rein to his creativity. The language stay in Canada opened his horizons even further. The breathtaking nature and gigantic forests of Canada inspired him and, as it later turns out, so did the idea that lay dormant within him.

Nicholas & Robin

Back then, Nicholas and Robin shared the sleigh, now their joint venture.

A name and logo are required

So that's where they came together, the shelved label "NIKIT" and the inventive spirit bursting with ideas. The autumnal weather was raging outside, winter was approaching and that's when the idea came about that would make waves. The two thought:

“How about our own fashion label and winter hats for all our friends?”

But it shouldn't just be an ordinary beanie, the market was already completely oversaturated. The two former scouts and skaters continued to study.

“Why not plant a tree for every beanie sold?”

But how would that work? The two googled and found the perfect solution: OneTreePlanted, a non-profit organization from the USA that plants trees worldwide. A request for collaboration followed.

“What do we want to call the hat?”

“Hmm, it’s a beanie and we’ll plant a tree with it… how about “Treeanie”?”

 “And what does our logo look like?”

Robin scribbled on a napkin a narrow fir tree with a long trunk – like the thousands he has seen in Canada.

“But what is the whole thing supposed to be called?”

“Why don’t we just swap the letter “T” for an “N” – NIKIN – the combination of Nicholas and Robin.“

This is how the first meeting of the new business partners went in the pub and then things really started. 

Preparations are running hot

With a specially saved budget of just 5,000 francs and without any real fashion know-how, the two boys started their own company. Create design drafts and choose materials (first find out how to do this), look for producers, set up a website with an online shop, create social media channels, take product photos and set up logistics. These were the first tasks that the two of them occupied themselves with, alongside their full-time studies, until late at night. On the 11th In December 2016 the time had finally come: the website went live!

Foto Shooting

The first photo shoot in the improvised studio in Robin's garage.

The rush is growing

With the first NIKIN release, the Treeanie appeared in three colors and a new version of Gymbags. The Treeanies were initially named after the places where a tree was planted together with OneTreePlanted (Africa, Asia, Canada). At the start, the two had a total of 20 pieces (!) of each color in stock. So it started with 60 Treeanies. It was with great pride that Nicholas and Robin packed the first orders that evening (almost exclusively from family and friends). Robin's childhood room in his parents' house served as the logistics center. What a first day, all the friends were now equipped with a tree hat - and word got around.  In the following days, demand continued to increase and all Treeanies were sold out after a very short time.

A cry for help that is heard

The supply of raw hats without logos (at that time still from China) arrived about two weeks later. But the labels that turned the raw beanies into treeanies were still missing. Since neither Nicholas nor Robin knew how to use a sewing machine, Robin's mother came into the picture. During long night shifts, she sewed one label after another onto the hats. It went on like this for weeks, demand increased steadily and so in the early weeks Robin's mother sewed several thousand Treeanies, which have since been sent all over Switzerland. Since then, a personal tree certificate has been sent with the order, which ensures that a tree will actually be planted.


Robin's mom diligently sewed the labels onto the raw beanies.

The logistical and communication effort became greater and so Robin's brothers, Lester and Jeffrey, were brought on board to support. A short time later, the new NIKIN headquarters was set up in a small rented room in the neighboring village - where farmers' wives previously sold their vegetables. The first external employees, Jonas and Regula, were also trained. Nicholas' wife Carla later joined the bandwagon and has been keeping track of NIKIN's finances ever since. The orders increased day by day and so we staffed the local post office several times a day with hundreds of packages that were now being sent to places we had never heard of before. We were probably the best customers because shortly after we moved away, this post office had to close. More and more people from all over Switzerland wanted to wear a tree hat and so to this day it remains one of the best feelings to have seen someone stranger on the street with our Treeanie on their head for the first time.

NIKIN Bestellungen

So we went to the post office several times a day.

It climbs steeply uphill

Over the months and years, not only has the range been expanded with various new products such as hoodies, shirts, socks and much more, but the goal of producing fairly and sustainably, which we aimed for from the start, has also been largely achieved. Today we produce almost exclusively in Europe, using certified sustainable materials.

With the rebranding in summer 2018, the old NIKIN logo disappeared and made way for our flagship – the NIKIN fir tree. The move to the larger rooms at Wisa-Gloria in Lenzburg enabled further growth. Many new, motivated employees were hired. Today there are around 40 people that NIKIN employs and who advance the idea of ​​cool and sustainable fashion. We remain innovative, keep up with the times and continue to give full power.

NIKIN Team 2019

The NIKIN Team 2019

Several visits to OneTreePlanted, where we also lent a hand and planted trees ourselves, further strengthened our collaboration. There are now almost 750,000 trees planted worldwide - and it's still going! Our online community has also grown tremendously - there are now over 100,000 people on Instagram alone who follow and support us and our vision every day.

NIKIN & OneTreePlanted

NIKIN visits OneTreePlanted 2019

So that's it, the story of how NIKIN came about - told very briefly. What was once a “small side project” has now become a full-time job that has completely turned the lives of the two founders upside down. Nicholas and Robin used to build cabins in the forest together, but now they run their own business and grow their own forests all over the world. We toast to four great years with NIKIN!

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