Developing their own virtually incombustible specially coated leather
Sabine Grimm has discovered that fire safety is playing an increasingly important role on luxury yachts, and the requirements pose real challenges for material manufacturers. “We use finished leather, but then coat it in our own special way. We hope to market this product on a global scale.” They offer 200 different surfaces in every colour imaginable, produced with split cow leather ‘made in Germany’. Sabine Grimm’s membership of the DBSV (the German boat and shipbuilding association) and their industry pool Deutsche Yachten enables her, and her young company, to participate at several leading trade fairs. She will be attending the Monaco Boat Show and a fabrics trade fair in Paris in September, Metstrade – a water sports trade fair in Amsterdam – in November, and the ‘boot’ (boat) exhibition in Düsseldorf in January.
“But we have contacts in Finland, too. I spend a lot of time on the road – including in the south of Germany, where we design material for stately homes and hotels – and we have four freelance sales representatives who travel for us. But we carry out the shipping and quality control tasks here in Bremen,” says Sabine Grimm. She tells us that her current annual turnover is €200,000. Grimm believes that Bremen is the perfect location. “Many people don’t realise how much business we have here at the shipyards and how many small suppliers there now are.” What’s more, Hastedt is within easy reach of the motorway and her customers in southern Germany. “We also work with stately homes and hotels, and so we sometimes have to drive for a few hours to meet with architects and designers.”
Sabine Grimm and her son still supply standard yacht equipment
Having begun her business as an equipment supplier, she’s still open today to helping out yachties if they need products other than fabric. “It’s in my blood because I’ve been on the water for so long, sailing everything from kids’ dinghies to heavy cruisers. I am happy to provide sailing blocks or pots of yacht paint should I get any requests.” She also thinks that her son should work more on yacht maintenance: “Jan-Dirk should start being more active during the winter.” The 13-metre, mahogany-laminated family yacht is a perfect example of what a well-groomed boat looks like. When asked why she polishes the varnished wood every morning, even on holiday, she laughs and says “Well, of course, the boat is our business card.”
What direction will she be steering her business in next? She thinks for a moment then tells us candidly that new-build orders for yachts often have too long a lead time for her taste, and “refits are much quicker. But I would really love to fit the entire interior of a large yacht solely with our own materials – it wouldn’t necessarily have to be a superyacht.”
For further information about the north German maritime cluster, please contact Andreas Born, innovations manager for the north German maritime cluster and Industry 4.0, on +49 (0)421 960 0316 or by email at email@example.com.
If you are interested in establishing a business in Bremen, please contact Andreas Gerber, +49 (0) 421 9600 123, firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the maritime economy and logistics in Bremen and the services offered by Bremeninvest is available here.