Retailer Profile: Mantis Life, Hamburg, Germany


The Mantis shop staff are all about the progression of skateboarding. They feel the sport should be inclusive, and untie skateboarders, not divide them. For this week’s Retailer Profile, we have spoken with the guys from Mantis Life Store in Hamburg Germany to find out what’s selling, and how they keep customers coming through their doors.

What was the reason for starting Mantis?
In 1999 there were no skateshops in Hamburg, I had already started my Skatebrand TRAP. And wanted to fill that space and create a home for the skaters of Hamburg. I Opened it with a big party on New Year’s eve 1999 and it has been running ever since then.

What percentage of your sales are from online business compared to your brick-and-mortar sales?
We are about 80% Brick and mortar 20% Internet

What are the benefits of having a physical shop over simply having an online store?
Well. if you have a shop, then you have a shop. A webshop is not a shop, it´s just data flying around, but I would not say that having a webshop is simple. You have to be clued up and know your stuff, it’s a completely different beast.

What are your secrets for selling high-end products?
The Basics, make sure the Brand has a good quality and Image, then good customer service helps and keeping an ear to ground for upcoming trends is essential to ensure you have the right high-end products!

What has sold well over the past few months?
Clothing is falling off a bit, so accessories are more important now then ever. Socks, caps, and Olloclip the first company to create a great mobile phone photography product for action sports are doing great for us.

Did your store’s sales increase or decrease over last year?
Sales have been falling a little recently. Which is strange as the interest for skateboarding in mainstream world has never been stronger. At the same time skateboarders that really skateboard are about only 30% of what we have had in the last 5 years. We do heavy social media pushes and try to promote our webshop to compensate for local losses in store.

What makes your store different and in what ways does your store excel beyond your competition?
We are all skaters, which makes it tough, since skaters are not really down to work or be structured or efficient in working, especially when the weather is good. Having said that I think when you enter our store, you can tell immediately that we’re a real, true skate store. And for kids after clicking and like or disliking their life away, a certain ‘realness’ is missing from their life, and that’s what we bring to the table. You can’t get that through pixels in your monitors.

How do you stay in touch with the wants and needs of your customers?
We like to think our staff is on point, so what we like works, but more importantly we remain interested in our customer and never forget that we are here to pass on the torch from our great culture from generation to generation.

Does your store sponsor athletes, competitions, etc? If so, what are the benefits to the store and to the boardsports community?
There are always things happening here: We had the Adidas and the Lakai team here a couple of weeks ago. Things like that are always cool, but we also do parties and events at the shop or on other locations. Things like this ensure that our name is constantly being spread, and promotes us in the best way possible. Plus we have a team, we create Youtube clips and also run a blog.

If you could go back five years what would you do differently?
Kick out girl’s clothing and some other clothing brands that went too mainstream. But nothing else.

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