Many ambitious and unusual start-ups can be found in the Hamburg Metroplitan Region some of which have featured earlier on VOX TV’s “The Lion’s Den” show. The latest candidate is Dr. Steffen Oppermann, a gynaecologist by profession and founder of www.wizardo.com, an online shop selling masks for Halloween and carnival. A hobby turned professional now centres on mask production, logistics and searching for dealers. Financed on the back of Oppermann’s career as a doctor, the enterpreneur is venturing into “The Lion’s Den” show on Tuesday (October 25th) in a bid to bring investors and expert know-how onboard. Oppermann spoke to Hamburg News in an interview about the market, expanding both the team and range of products and his hopes from the TV appearance.
Hamburg News: Are there mask trends?
Oppermann: Definitely. We always notice them when certain films are released in cinemas. The new “James Bond” film (SPECTRE) screened at the start of the year. Skull masks were shown during the parade and demand for such masks has soared. Unfortunately, there is a trend towards horror clown masks presently.
Hamburg News: Do men and women have different tastes in masks?
Oppermann: Certain tendencies are noticeable – women buy masks with cats’ faces whereas men opt for gruesome masks. The gruesome look is generally more popular at Halloween. Then, the differences are barely noticeable.
Hamburg News: Wizardo’s season runs from Halloween to carnival. What happens during the rest of the year?
Oppermann: We use the other months for developing new masks and replenishing our stocks. During the summer, we sell well at gaming conventions. So the summer is not fruitless.
Hamburg News: Where do you produce the masks?
Oppermann: We make some products manually here in Halstenbek. However, you have to sell to end customers to make it worthwhile. We develop and make every single product and design the packaging ourselves. Mass production is done partially in China.
Hamburg News: How many masks are made every week?
Oppermann: We make 300 to 400 masks by hand every week depending on whether the masks have to be painted and make-up added as well. Customers can design an adhesive half mask themselves and we can make higher quantities of those than intricately painted masks.
Hamburg News: Where are the masks sold?
Oppermann: Several wholesalers and retailers sell our products and we have a Europe-wide network of resellers who equip costumiers. The online shop launched recently and that allows us to target end customers. At present, our business focuses on the B2C sector.
Hamburg News: What do you expect from your appearance on “The Lion’s Den”?
Oppermann: We will present masks that we have designed ourselves. We want greater publicity as a producer of carnival and Halloween articles and masks made in Germany. Our main goal is to find someone to support our endeavours. I do not know my way around the business world too well as I did not learn that as a doctor. So I have had to gain my rudimentary knowledge of business administration myself.
Hamburg News: Which “lion” are you expecting the most from?
Oppermann: Mr. Dümmel is highly interesting as he has a huge network and great expertise. We are also focusing on Mr. Schwiezer as he might be suited to our field. Our potential market could be a combination of conventions, parties as well as stag and hen parties.
Hamburg News: What will you present on the show?
Oppermann: We have a selection of Wizardo masks focusing on three main themes: parties, animals and horror masks. We have fantastic masks in every sector.
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