`Unlike others´ - this is the slogan of the Cologne fashion label RUBDE. In a simple design process customers can customize caps and T-shirts adding attachable leather patches with personalized messages. Online ordering or live on-site - with the Mr Beam II technology, words and shapes can be accurately and quickly engraved on leather. A fresh breeze for the fashion industry - and a small contribution to interpersonal communication.
On average, people spend 374 days of their life waiting. They stand in a traffic jam, in a queue at the bakery or wait for the newsfeed to update. Mostly they are alone - with no direct contact to the fellow human beings. To bring a bit more life and communication into the silence of the public space, two students found the company RUBDE in 2014. "Almost all people in the U- or S-Bahn hang on the phone or have headphones on. There is no communication. We wanted to contribute with conspicuous messages to increase communication in public. "But where do we leave these messages?
"At first, we had to outsource the laser work to external agencies."
"It was crucial for us to meet the growing demand, having all the team members work with the laser. So it had to be a device that is easy to use and complies with the German safety standards. The Mr Beam II is a perfect solution for us."
For the two founders, it quickly became clear: the messages have to be on caps. These two water sportsmen seldomly leave their house without the caps. It is also clear that the texts have to be interchangeable and customizable. They wanted to set a signal against the fast-paced collection cycles of the fashion brands. A cap that can be equipped with different texts is more sustainable than constantly producing new ones. For the first prototypes they used a fire stamp. "Extremely elaborate and inaccurate. Simply not efficient as a business model", as Felix Deutsch, one of the two RUBDE managing directors, mentions in a retrospect. The discovery of laser technology gave a new drive to the company idea. "This made the process extremely professional and boosted our sales: faster, more accurate and flexible." In the online shop, on festivals and Christmas markets, interested customers can individually and spontaneously design the leather patches together with the RUBDE team on the laser cutter.
"At first, we had to outsource the laser work to external agencies." An extremely expensive and time consuming process. But this was not the only reason to switch to the relatively cheap Mr Beam II. "It was crucial for us to meet the growing demand, having all the team members work with the laser. So it had to be a device that is easy to use and complies with the German safety standards. The Mr Beam II is a perfect solution for us." The fact that device looks good and stylish, is also not a meaningless minor matter. The major part of sales take place at festivals and Christmas markets. "The high-quality design and the striking, flashing colors attract more people to our stand."
In short: the initial product and idea of personalized fashion have remained the same. With the use of Mr Beam II, however, a much bigger audience can be reached now. Thanks to the Air Filter System, the device can be used anywhere as all the odors and pollutants are filtered out. So RUBDE can use it a lot - even at indoor festivals.
Especially there, at festivals, people are in a good mood and act spontaneously. "We offer a new, creative means to take home memories and emotions tied to an event." Leather patches created with the Mr Beam II capture marriage proposals, mottos inspired by the music festivals or simply individual texts. According to Felix, some of their customers collect patches - it is almost like a Panini Picture book for textiles. "Interchangeable, something different every day. You can express yourself with the changing messages." The fact that their products are received so well, shows the creative maker where the social trend is heading. "Big textile brands and chains dominate the cities and for the small shops it’s getting harder to attract customers and make enough sales. I believe that individualization can provide an added value for the small businesses. Emotional products that can be bought spontaneously - that's what more and more people are looking for." Innovative technologies such as a laser cutter can bring a breath of fresh air into the fashion industry. The technical requirements are in place - the RUBDE team has already recognized the potential.