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“Sustainability and fairnes –
honestly and no nonsense”

An interview with Max Moedinger, Head of Business Development and
great-grandchild of the founder of schlafgut.

Max moedinger

Max Moedinger, born in 1991, is the great-grandchild of schlafgut’s founder and inventor of the fitted sheet, Adam Matheis. After completing his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Management in Munich and Friedrichshafen, he joined schlafgut in 2019. Today, as Head of Business Development, he is actively involved in continuing the company’s tradition of revolutionizing the world of sleep from the ground up.

Mr Moedinger, everyone is talking about ‘future-proof’ these days. Since when and how has schlafgut been dealing with the issue of sustainability?

Max Moedinger: “future-proof” is indeed a fitting term, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here. After all, I’m already a great-grandchild here at schlafgut. I believe family businesses inherently consider future generations – because they aim to continue into the next generation. We’re not a large, profit-driven corporation: we have different goals and values.

Our own production is a crucial cornerstone in this regard. For instance, we try to centralize production as much as possible in one location and avoid wasting resources with long transportation routes. Sustainability has always been an essential topic for us and has many facets. One of them is quality and durability. We don’t produce disposable goods but well-designed products that last. Other facets include packaging, production, managing our facilities, and providing genuinely fair workplaces for our employees.

Conscious” – a marketing term? More and more companies are touting ecological awareness and fairness towards their employees. How much truth is there to this? And what about schlafgut?

MM: I unfortunately haven’t encountered many companies yet where this issue is truly and comprehensively addressed. For the most part, this facade of ‘consciousness’ might be maintained for the relatively small portion of employees in Germany. But the majority of most companies’ workforce is in production, and that means employees abroad. For example, in countries like China, Pakistan, or India. These are countries with productions that are anything but sustainable and mindful.

Why does this model persist? Because it’s cheap. Sustainable production and good working conditions for employees cost money, which is reflected in the price of the goods. However, we don’t believe in dumping, and certainly not in greenwashing. For us, the principle is: People first. With the way we produce and where we produce, we want to give something back to people. We firmly stand behind our values, have lived them since our founding, and are very pleased that our schlafgut fans do too.

“We strive to manufacture everything as consolidated as possible in one location to avoid wasting resources with long transportation routes.”

The dark sides of the textile industry have increasingly come into focus in recent years – from precarious working conditions to significant environmental sins. What exactly sets schlafgut apart?

MM: From Made in Green to SA 8000: Naturally, we meet all the important certifications. But we’re not on the hunt for logos to adorn ourselves with. Because when it comes to sustainability and fairness, we’re serious and not about frills. This shouldn’t just be demanded by common sense; it should simply be normal. Dark sides emerge from price pressure and profit greed. Neither of which are part of us. We have values that are focused on longevity in every respect, and as a family business, we pass these on to every generation.

We have our own production in Turkey, where we can exert direct influence and produce everything in one place. From spinning and knitting to finishing, dyeing, assembly, and packaging. We consciously choose not to be in Bangladesh or Pakistan and prefer to invest in our own production facility and warehouse here on-site. For us, sustainable action is an essential part of healthy competitiveness and future viability. That’s why we don’t offer very cheap entry price ranges at all.

And by the way: Having solar panels and bees here at our company headquarters is self-evident to us.

Acting ecologically and fairly is very commendable. However, as a company, one is dependent on many factors and embedded in a network. What criteria does schlafgut use to select its partners?

MM: We consider this very carefully. Our main partner is the joint venture in Turkey. In general, we have a strong preference: as a family business, we also work almost exclusively with owner-managed family businesses. Trust, transparency, and likeability are extremely important to us in every type of collaboration and are the basic requirements for a good partnership.

We also select our suppliers according to our high standards and personally assess them. For us, the most important factor is cotton. That’s why we are a member of the BCI (Better Cotton Initiative), a coalition dedicated to sustainable cotton production worldwide.

Our new plastic-free packaging comes from a small family business in Austria, and our furniture is manufactured nearby in a carpentry workshop, also a family-owned business. Actually, it’s quite simple: If we feel that our partners take what we take so seriously, just as seriously – then it fits. When you focus and choose your network carefully, it becomes a real constant. In short: We uphold quality and sustainability in our partnerships as well.

“We will continue to explore the topic of sleep even further and develop and offer new products. It remains exciting!”

schlafgut is constantly planning for the future, with a focus on sustainability, innovation, and responsibility. While specific details may still be in development, we are committed to exploring new ideas and initiatives that align with our values and vision. Stay tuned for updates on our latest endeavors!

MM: Our minds never stop, and we are constantly striving to make our products even better. For example, we have removed printed bedding from our range and are focusing on a selected solid color palette. Minimalist design is also a counterproposal to fast fashion for us. Furthermore, we are in the process of eliminating the polybag once and for all and using the new recyclable packaging for our entire product range. A glimpse into the future: we will continue to explore the topic of sleep even further and develop and offer new products. It remains exciting!

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