Paul Franzreb from Paul Valentine

Growth as a drug: 10 lessons from the bankruptcy of Paul Valentine

In 2015, Paul Franzreb founded the jewelry and watch label Paul Valentine with his sister and scaled the startup to a turnover of 30 million euros by 2019. The Mannheim-based company owes its rapid success to the low advertising costs in performance marketing at the time and a clever use of influencer marketing.

But in 2020, the corona crisis will start. Retailers are pushing into the digital advertising market. Prices for social ads are rising, and the pressure on the advertising market is increasing. The appreciation of the dollar causes raw material and purchasing prices to explode. And contact restrictions are reducing demand for watches and jewelry. In addition, the startup has not managed to build up the internal processes, personnel and financial structures well enough. Paul Valentine plunges into crisis and has to open insolvency proceedings in the spring of 2023 and is taken over by the Weltbild Group shortly afterwards.

In the podcast, Paul Franzreb talks exclusively about the last few years and, together with Romy Riffel and Johannes Kliesch, analyzes Paul Valentine's insolvency based on ten learnings that Paul took away from the whole process.


(00:00) Start

(01:13) What is behind the fire Paul Valentine?

(04:28) What were the biggest mistakes that led to insolvency?

(11:10) How much growth is healthy for a company?

(14:35) Was it possible to sense even before the crisis years that things would also go downhill at some point?

(22:19) How does Snocksulting look back on the crisis years?

(24:13) What mistakes did Paul Valentine make with fixed costs?

(27:00) Why should D2C brands focus on their retention?

(30:50) Why keep your product portfolio as small as possible?

(32:53) Why should founders pay themselves a salary?

(34:15) As a startup, why not work with banks?

(36:03) What's the hard part about private guarantees?

(38:27) Why is slow growth better than fast growth?

(40:12) How important are hiring processes, creative solutions & the right timing?

(46:10) What are Paul's plans now after Paul Valentine?

To the consequence
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