Interview by Lisa Hillers.
What inspired you to start working as a massage therapist?
I actually began work as a sales executive, guided by my parents to find a steady job. My interest in massage began as a casual hobby and then expanded when stressed colleagues would come by my desk for a quick massage to relax them before returning to work. During my employment my mother developed problems with her upper arm muscles, and as part of her rehabilitation, required me to give her a daily massage. It was at this point that I finally quit my job and decided to take my career in a new direction.
How did you come up with the idea of Relaxainment? How did it develop?
Whilst working as a massage therapist for 6 years, I worked for many different organisations and companies. I grew tired of jumping from one job to the next without having the chance to improve what I had learned over the years. I wanted to actively change the negative aspects that I had witnessed during this time and use this to create a higher quality service. Therefore I decided to build up my own agency where I could ensure that my ideas could be put into practice, so around 1 year ago I founded Relaxainment.
What kind of people is the service designed for? What kind of people make up the client base?
The possibilities are endless. I do work for a lot of large firms, small businesses, events and even the occasional sports team! It’s not always easy, especially at a company party with a room full of drunken clients. However I am constantly meeting diverse, interesting people which keeps my work fresh and never boring.
How to you promote Relaxainment?
Currently, most of my clients have heard about Relaxainment through word of mouth. My network of contacts has so far succeeded in promoting the service and keeping my schedule busy. In the very near future, the company website will be significantly improved and we hope to run more online promotion once the upgrade is finished.
Why did you choose to work at betahaus?
I was originally made aware of betahaus by my boyfriend who had been working on his own projects there. When I arrived in betahaus I was immediately hooked by the vibrant atmosphere and warm hearted people. I had so many things to think about and problems to solve but it was a huge comfort to me that I was with people in similar situations. We were able to share our experiences and make life so much easier, overcoming many of these problems together. Many of the people I met at betahaus now feel like family.
What was the last surprising thing that happened to you?
One of my recent clients was from a corporate bank and since he had been having back pain, requested an oil massage. So he removed his shirt and to my surprise he had a clothes label tattooed on his back with the words: 100% human, handwash only! I promptly asked him where he got it and he explained that it was at a music festival in Britain. I found it very amusing that someone in the world of corporate finance would have this kind of tattoo!
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Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.
Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.
If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.
The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.
It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.
Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”.
Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?
It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as well as urban planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!
A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.
Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!
Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.