Three SBE graduates, Philipp Mackeprang, Felix Mauerer and Julian Hansmann, are the founders of stixta, a start-up aiming to help companies, artists and individuals to stick out in the masses of MacBook users.
In the heart of Cologne, Germany, stixta produces handmade and customised decals for MacBooks that let individual logos and designs shine through the light of the Apple logo.
High-quality customised decals
Mauerer explains the trigger behind the niche market concept: “As timeless and beautiful as the design of the MacBook may be, every user nowadays seems to disappear in the midst of a massive number of MacBook users. There is only one identity, no individuality and no recognition. We saw that the glowing Apple logo on the MacBook represented an unused opportunity, where a new identification could be created and used as a small advertising space.”
Mackeprang adds: “Before stixta’s launch, it was almost impossible for people and companies to change visually the appearance and identity of their MacBook. Some websites offered unsatisfactory solutions involving a non-transparent and lengthy process bundled with a high price but no support in design development. Our company provides a unique solution for this problem.”
stixta operates under the umbrella of Friendventure, an initiative founded by Hansmann. “Friendventure is a community of young entrepreneurs based in the beautiful city of Cologne,'” he explains. “We offer the necessary infrastructure and network of professionals to develop unique and innovative internet startups.”
With the help of Friendventure and after over a year of working with pre-designed decals for MacBooks, the three SBE graduates came together as stixta in late 2012 with the idea to offer a completely unique and customised product.
Creating value for businesses
stixta aims at adding value to businesses in many different ways. Hansmann emphasises the importance of a company’s corporate identity: “Our decals are an asset to a company’s corporate culture. Even if employees use their own devices, having a stixta on all MacBooks increases the cohesiveness and builds a communal spirit.”
Mackeprang believes that the decal sends out a strong message to clients and the public: “By having the company logo on their MacBook, employees signal that they identify with their company. The decal establishes a feeling of trust and confidence and encourages potential clients to do business with the company, rather than with competitors who project less loyalty. The MacBook is a yet unused advertising space for companies.”
Another strength of the concept, according to Mauerer, comes from the fact that it taps into the appeal of the Apple brand: “Apple is seen as the absolute love-brand. Combining your logo with the popular brand creates a positive perception for your clients and the public”.
How does stixta work?
The three young entrepreneurs are keen on delivering “an premium product and an outstanding service”. They explain: “stixta always puts the customer first by offering a unique and tailored product and allowing clients to freely choose and design their own customised MacBook decals. The tailored and hitch-free service means that after customers have uploaded their logo, the stixta designer team sends out personalised design ideas to its potential customers within 24 hours. Regarding the product itself, stixta only uses high-quality vinyl material made in Germany, to produce a lovely, handmade one of a kind upmarket decal.”
Although new on the market, stixta has seen a great increase in sales performance and boasts an impressive array of clients. San Franciso based Uber, the German DJ Alle Farben and the marketing agency Zanox are only a few of stixta’s first customers who have all been enthusiastic about their decals and given positive feedback .
Providing over 100 clients with customised decals in the first few months after launch, stixta experienced a dream start with high growth rates and many companies buying the decals to complete their corporate identity.
Being one of a kind on the global market, the German startup is also attracting international interest. The young entrepreneurs say that stixta is ready to meet this demand and will be expanding its market internationally so that anyone in the world can personalise their glowing Apple logo as they wish.
By Philipp Mackeprang and Felix Jonathan Mauerer