READY FOR LIFTOFF
For the speed issue we take a look at forward-thinking disruptors and innovators from the startup capitals of the world. These are the people behind the big ideas that are changing the future, coming up with new ways to look at old problems, and in the process inspiring us by their entrepreneurial spirit and their ambition to execute change.
Interview JUSTIN ROSS
4SEE PROFILE – YOU MAWO (Konstanz, Germany), Founded in 2016.
Innovative Individual Design | Completely Customized 3D-printed Eyewear for All
“Impossible does not exist! At least you should not focus on the obstacles but on the possibilities in every situation.”
4SEE PROFILE – YOU MAWO
What is YOU MAWO?
YOU MAWO is an eyewear company for 100%-individualized eyewear frames from Konstanz, Germany founded in 2016 by Sebastian Zenetti, Daniel Miko, Daniel Szabo, and Stephan Grotz.
What is your mission?
We come from the eyewear industry and had the feeling to do something new and meaningful. The answer was the inception of YOU MAWO, which is derived from the English “your magical world.“ Our claim was: Nobody should wear uncomfortable glasses anymore. The perfectly fitting glasses, that was the original idea of our journey.
What makes your company different?
We are the first company in the world to produce 100%-individualized 3D-printed frames with laser-sintering technology based on face scans. Our technology and the parameters are much more mature and, through the cooperation with world market leaders in 3D-printing, we are able to bring this quality into the stores and thus to the customers. Recently we have received several innovation awards (such as the German Business Award and the German Innovation Award), which also brings us a new wave of customers abroad.
What were the most difficult challenges along the way?
The biggest requirements were to develop this perfect scan. The next challenge was the extremely fast growth of YOU MAWO. We have grown from 4 employees to 45, we now work together with more than 400 opticians worldwide and therefore setting up a logistics system that works was not very easy. Especially, since day one we wanted to finance everything ourselves and without capital contributions from outside. A healthy growth for the company was and is important to us.
What does it mean to be a startup?
It means you are working in highly motivated, sometimes unconventional, and very inspirational surroundings in which everybody can bring his/her skills to another level. Furthermore, for us it means that we have a certain aspiration to create innovation for the optics industry.
Is it important to be first or fastest?
We have been the first brand in optics to develop this kind of parameters, scan and concept which was important for us, because we had the time to build up long-term relationships and trust between us and the opticians that sell our products.
What advice do you have for people with a great idea who want to start their own business?
The most important thing is that you are willing to walk many many extra miles and not be discouraged by the many small and large setbacks. When we started working on the idea of YOU MAWO 4 years ago in a shared flat room in Munich, we were far from aware of where the journey would take us and how strenuous it would be. Last but not least, the most important thing is the team! We have a team of founders with different skills and only because everyone contributes his expertise from different areas, a flexible and promising company could develop.
Photo: courtesy of You Mawo
This article originally appeared in the SPEED issue // published in September 2018.