On July 11, Dutch company EDC Retail took over the online activities of Beate Uhse, and news of the takeover spread throughout the erotic industry like wildfire. After all, the parent company of Beate Uhse, be you GmbH, and its three affiliates had filed for insolvency just the day before. What plans does EDC have for the Beate Uhse online business? What will become of the Beate Uhse brand, which had been one of the fixed stars of the erotic industry for decades and decades? We talked about these questions with Eric Idema, head of EDC Retail.
When you started EDC 12 years ago, the biggest name in the European erotic industry was Beate Uhse. How does it feel to now be taking over parts of the Beate Uhse empire?
Eric Idema: I always looked up to the Beate Uhse empire and I felt like the little brother, dreaming that I could – one day – become a competitor to the Beate Uhse brand, which seemed nearly impossible due to its size and history. Taking over the e-commerce business of Beate Uhse and now owning the brand name is still very unreal, like a dream come true.
Could you provide some details about the aforementioned online activities that are now under the control of EDC Retail?
We now own and control the websites pabo.nl for Holland, pabo.be for Belgium, AdametEve.fr for France and Beate-Uhse.com for Germany. The websites are now back online, and customers can place their orders and will get their goods, benefitting from the fast and trustworthy service of EDC, offering a unique assortment with over 14,000 items of pleasure products, drugstore items, novelties, and lingerie. We will expand our current lingerie assortment, putting extra care and energy into the collections we offer.
What does this step mean for EDC Retail? What types of synergies do arise from this acquisition?
Our easytoys.nl online shop is successfully active in Holland and Belgium and we have been looking for ways to take the next step into international growth. With the arrival of the Beate Uhse online activities, this has become a fact. Beate Uhse, Pabo, and Adam et Eve are strong brands with a tremendous market share in 7 countries and we plan to expand to more countries in the years to come. We are extremely excited that Beate Uhse is now part of the EDC family, where we are planning to let the brand grow and flourish even more than it did before.
“Beate Uhse, Pabo, and Adam et Eve are strong brands with a tremendous market share in 7 countries and we plan to expand to more countries in the years to come.”
What are your plans regarding the future of Beate-Uhse.com, etc.? Will those sites continue to operate under their existing brand names?
Yes, we will continue to operate under the existing brand names Beate Uhse, Pabo, and Adam et Eve. The name Beate Uhse holds so much history, which is why we want to honour the person she was and everything she stood for. She was a true pioneer and so are we. I truly believe that the brand names are strong enough to overcome this transition, we are already working hard to win back the customers’ trust in the brand and the company behind the brand. We strive to offer the best service and our infrastructure is highly effective and designed to serve the consumer in the best way possible.
Do you feel that there is an obligation that comes with the Beate Uhse name? Do you want to keep the legacy of this name and this brand alive, and if so, what steps will you take to achieve this goal?
I do believe that using the name Beate Uhse is something really special and comes with the obligation to honour the legacy of the person and the brand. She paved the road for our industry almost 70 years ago, this mustn’t be forgotten. That is why the brand name needs to stay alive; it is so much more than just a name. We have great ambitions to let the brands grow internationally and to become the strong brands that they were known for. We are investing tens of millions in marketing, and one of the first things that we will reintroduce is the printed catalogue with a key focus on the lingerie assortment as this is what Beate Uhse, Pabo, and Adam et Eve are known for.
“I do believe that using the name Beate Uhse is something really special and comes with the obligation to honour the legacy of the person and the brand.”
However, one might also argue that the Beate Uhse brand name has lost quite a bit of its lustre in recent years. Do the younger consumers, who make up the bulk of today’s e-commerce business, still care about this name? Or, to put it a bit more provocatively: Hasn’t the e-commerce market left Beate Uhse in the dust years ago?
You might be right, but I don’t believe that this is a reason to simply drop the name and let the legacy go to waste. Isn’t it our responsibility to teach the younger generation about our history? We are still talking about Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Nelson Mandela. These were all pioneers who stood up for what they believed in and changed things for the better for future generations. I like to see myself as a pioneer as well; I may not have an impact on our generation the way Beate Uhse did, but I still want to continue what she started: improving everyone’s sex lives.
You issued an official press release regarding the acquisition, stating that you expect the annual turnover of EDC retail to go from 21 million euro to 50 million euro within the next three years. What are these expectations based on?
The company grew by 300% over the course of the past five years. I expected that the growth would level off after 2018 as I did not foresee this major change to the company. But with the arrival of the Beate Uhse online activities, I expect that this growth will continue along the same trajectory and who knows what will happen next year.