Sustainable Expansion

On 15th November, Dirk Schülgen of FOND OF spoke to students of International Business Management (B.A.) in Cologne.

FOND OF is a successful German business, selling sustainable and ethical bag packs for children and adults with its headquarters located in Cologne. The brand awareness is constantly increasing as they are also building up several sub brands (i.e. „Affenzahn“), targeted for special age groups. Dirk Schülgen stated that transparency is one of FOND OF’s most important values. The company is making sure that employees at all locations are being fairly treated and paid. FOND OF is a BlueSign and FairWair Partner, has its own CR Department and the whole German team once even visited one of their biggest partners in Vietnam to see how the products are actually being produced.

Schülgen stressed that employees at FOND OF are encouraged to deploy their full potential at work. For example, they are free to develop new product offers like clothing in order to see where their creativity leads them. The focus is on creating a productive but also fun environment at work to achieve the best outcomes possible.

While sharing the structure and features of FOND OF, Dirk Schülgen let the students have a sneak peek into his remarkable career: While studying economics in Bonn, he worked for a consultancy firm in Düsseldorf which would provide him a first work experience. He successfully helped to establish a new base in Washington D.C. where he stayed for one and a half years. After his return to Germany he soon realized that his interests were leading him into marketing and advertising. Working for a gaming company, his tasks included developing marketing campaigns for well-known clients such as LucasArts and Disney to promote their products in German speaking countries. While also working for Electronic Arts and Nike, he went up the hierarchy from being the marketing manager to the marketing director. Dirk Schülgen described which challenges he faced and how overcoming them helped him grow. He encouraged the students by saying that everyone will be facing certain situations in which they will fail and make mistakes but that this will help them learn and do better the next time. Schülgen left Nike and took some time off for traveling. During this time, he made first contacts with the founders of FOND OF and was eventually offered a job in their fast growing business.

After his personal introduction, Dirk Schülgen offered to answer any questions the students might have and he took the time to give detailed responses and good advice. This included giving valuable information about what to be aware of when expanding a business, what challenges FOND OF is facing right now and the differences between the European, American and Asian market.

“We want to give our students detailed insight into the economy. One way to ensure this is inviting speakers from different branches of the business world to talk about their careers and experiences. We very much appreciate Dirk Schülgen taking the time to visit us and providing the students with such authentic insights,” said Barbara Lier, Program Director International Business Management (B.A. and M.A.).