Martin Menz likes to get up between five and seven in the morning and plan his day before going to the office. He has already tried many scheduling systems, but “the coolest feeling” is still to “rattle” with a pen about a completed item on the to-do list, as he tells us in the interview.
The online shop Relaxdays, which Menz founded in 2006 and which today has an annual turnover of 51 million euros, can be traced back to a 2,000-euro loan from his then 18-year-old brother and the success of selling a head massage device with manufacturing costs of a maximum of 30 Cent.
Martin Menz wanted to be a millionaire
In 2005 Menz had told his parents that he wanted to become a millionaire. Today he dismisses that as the “typical rebellious phase” of a young man. The 34-year-old puts our objection that he has made his announcement true by saying that he is “only a millionaire in sales” and that wealth is no longer so important to him.
2005 was also the year in which Martin Menz began to auction things he no longer needed on Ebay. Of course, the average 20-year-old doesn’t have an infinite number of things that he doesn’t need, so this business model didn’t last very long. That is why he was looking for products that he could buy cheaply and then sell again at a profit on Ebay. Vain.
The miracle of Alicante
A year later, Menz went on vacation to Alicante, Spain. A barker swung a head massage device, also known as a head crawler, on his head. At that moment, Menz found it “just plain crazy”, as he reports. Little did he know how much this inconsequential moment would change his life.
Because back in Germany he opened a wholesaler’s magazine and one of the products in it looked familiar to him: head massage devices. Ten should cost four euros, 50 only three euros. He decided to give it a try. Business started. However, he did not have the money to get into the trade. Fortunately, he has a brother.
“My brother was and is a more economical guy than me. He had made the money doing part-time jobs and lent it to me because he didn’t need it right now. Six months later, I paid him back. ”Menz has doubled the 2,000 euros every year since then.
Dropping out of college due to an acute outbreak of business
He began his business studies at the University of Halle-Wittenberg with moderate enthusiasm. “In 2006 we still had a degree in business administration and I was bothered from the start by the thought of studying for five years and not earning any money.”
He first considered how he could shorten the curriculum to 3.5 years, but then decided differently. “After three months I was no longer seen at the university because my business was going so well,” he says.
The plan against the planned economy
He obviously got the entrepreneurial spirit from his parents. Already in the days of the GDR they bypassed the barriers of the planned economy by selling self-made things at flea markets. They even used it to finance cars.
The end of the GDR was not only a relief for his family in one respect. The father went into business for himself, the mother, a teacher, went back to university in her mid-40s to expand her teaching repertoire. Menz considered trading stocks, but rejected the idea again.
He learned early on that he had to work hard if he wanted to achieve something. His primary school teacher had advised against sending him to high school because of poor reading and writing skills.
He decided to do it anyway. While everything fell to others, he had to learn in a disciplined manner. Finally he achieved an Abitur grade of 2.3, of which he is “proud as Bolle”.
Of full drawers and unfinished foundations
Today, Menz is no longer solely responsible for its success, but each and every one of its almost 300 employees. “With our size, every success is a collective effort,” he says. “I have a lot more topics in my drawer than I can handle.”
He describes his relationship with his employees with one word: Sure. “We have to be brutally honest with each other to see which projects are promising and what we are investing our strength in,” he says.
He deliberately renounces classic reporting obligations so that figures are not embellished. Such an atmosphere shouldn’t arise in the first place, he explains: “We try not to be driven by any KPIs, investors or numbers. Our drive is a general added value in the organization and economy. “
Menz does not rule out an IPO in principle. However, he emphasizes that it feels good at the moment to strengthen the foundation with his team in the background before everyone looks at them and assesses the company. It is perfectly okay to do “homework” in the next five years.
Beautiful moments in life
Incidentally, the name Relaxdays comes from his first Ebay shop from 2005 and was significantly influenced by the fateful head massage device. At the time, Martin Menz did not expect that a head crawler would become a trend product.
He therefore planned to build an Ebay shop with massage accessories around the head crawler. Since he did not get good prices from suppliers of such products, he expanded his range to include other products. The name stayed and stands for beautiful moments in life.
This article was published by NewsABC.net in February 2020. It has now been reviewed and updated.