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View as HTML version PSI Journal 8-9/2016 wanted to go into business with them had suddenly left. Sandra and Andreas Vavelidis, who by now were already parents of a young daughter, did not lose heart. Patience and a portion of courage are usually attributed to parachutists. Two attributes that would pay off for the young couple. “Our plan was to get the business with the glass products off the ground and once it was running to then devote ourselves to the skydiving site.” However, the great economic crisis and the collapse of Greece thwarted their plans. Tourists stayed away, putting an end to both business ideas. Reluctantly Sandra and Andreas Vavelidis said goodbye to Greece and their big dream. But not to the idea of working with glass. SAME IDEA – ONLY SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT In 2009 they returned to Germany – with the leased machine in their luggage, they now wanted to use it productively in their native country. The question was merely how. Photo glass gifts were ruled out. However, Andreas Vavelidis had quickly found the product with which they could occupy a niche. This was at a time when USB sticks were becoming more and more popular, and so he simply combined two things together: USB sticks with a glass body in which 3-D motifs were lasered. This was all produced by Andreas Vavelidis in his own ten square metre basement under his flat in the town of Weissach near Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg. Demand was high and when the basement became too small, the couple established a business in Weissach. Vavelidis’ products were given an additional boost through their first participation at the PSI in 2012. One of the product highlights: the USB inCrystal 3D, a USB stick with a glass body in which a logo, lettering or photo can be engraved. In conjunction with a USB port, a LED illuminates the laser-cut engraving. A PATENT WITH POTENTIAL Andreas Vavelidis had previously registered a patent for the combination of glass, technology and LED. This however did not stop imitators from copying the product to create a cheap version. “Three months after the PSI, the first counterfeit products surfaced from China”, explains Andreas Vavelidis. And as if that were not enough, distributors started preferring the counterfeit products to the originals and offered them on the market. And they also found wellknown industry customers who purchased the imitations at dumping prices. However, as Sandra and Andreas Vavelidis had learned to deal with uncertainties and always make the best of the situation, they were determined not to let things get them down. Andreas Vavelidis’ seemingly never-ending wealth of ideas helped them to overcome these difficulties. Thus today there is not only the USB inCrystal series, but also office utensils made of glass with an attractive glass engraving, stylish glass trophies and glass awards, glass keychains and still – perhaps as a small reminder of the beginnings – glass cubes and cuboids made of glass with subsurface engraving. The fact that these products are in high demand is proven by the fact that inCrystal has already created the trophy for the German Television Award. The latest creation of the inCrystal family is the Leading Light. “The new form of illumination” and “light in its most beautiful form” is how Sandra and Andreas Vavelidis describe the products in which the motif floats in the glass. And existing new products are complemented by new developments. One such example is the inCrystal WINDOW powerbank, one of the product highlights of the Swabian company at the PSI 2016. Andreas Vavelidis believes one thing is essential for all products: “The product should be useful and not simply stand around.” MORE DISTRIBUTION – MORE SERVICE A strong focus on sales activities is Andreas Vavelidis’ goal. The new strategy should be: more sales, more service. Two factors have significantly contributed to this strong focus on sales activities: On the one hand, reveals Andreas Vavelidis, promotional products of this kind made of glass are still relatively unknown. Secondly, the product requires intensive advice. And professional advice is very important to Sandra and Andreas Vavelidis, especially when it comes to providing advice to promotional product distributors. After all, they sell their products exclusively through distributors. Both refuse to deal direct with industry end users, claiming “we don’t run with the hare and hunt with the hounds”. The service they provide promotional product distributors is very extensive: free visualisations – now also in 3-D for rotating and viewing from all sides – a newly created website where promotional product distributors can login and download high-resolution product images, prices and much more, customised samples, Excel spreadsheets with all data, texts, prices and web-optimized images for an individual online presence as well as neutral catalogues. SINCE 2015 ALSO IN HONG KONG In addition to a refocused strategy, inCrystal has also had a branch in Hong Kong since 2015. This site was wisely chosen by the married couple. The majority of inCrystal products are manufactured in the nearby Chinese city of Shenzhen. In addition, the raw material and therefore also the suppliers come from China. Sandra and Andre- 105

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