This morning I read a quote from football legend Ruud Gullit about the corona crisis.

‘We will see whether we’re team players or a selfish bunch’

This goes exactly to the essence of the problem when you’re talking about Brand vs. Retail.
When the corona crisis started, I, as entrepreneur, thought: what should I do? You go through phases.

At first you’re stunned and you don’t want to do anything. Then you want to fight and continue doing what you’re doing. But soon, you realise that it feels strange to talk about sunglasses when the world is on fire. But the truth is, my own business is on fire as well. As a sunglasses brand, we have spent the past few months by exclusively investing in the season that is supposed to start now. There currently are very few liquid assets, while the bills do need to be paid. This includes the self-employed people who were at the foundation of the brand and really made a difference for us.

On the other side, there are also large open sums from retailers to whom I sell. Do I need to be tough now and draw the line for those people who are also in trouble and who I have built a good relationship with over the past two years? That doesn’t feel good either.

For me the question is: what can we do that will really help?
Then I had the idea to shift our b2b model to an online one. From every pair of sunglasses we sell online, 50% will go to the retailers. We share the profit by the postal code areas of the customers and retailers. I realise that we as a small brand won’t be making a huge difference. But if more brands use the same formula, we can truly help each other and make an impact.

For us it’s about balance. The world is out of balance, society is out of balance. What we want is to restore the balance between brands + retailers. And GOBI starts this initiative by giving 50% to its retailers in order to get through this crisis together. Because this is about all of us. Hopefully it inspires others #LETSGO5050

Koen Middeldorp, GOBI Amsterdam


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