So you've made it big: You've got your $200,000 coin collection, 70 Swiss timepieces and some legal documents you'd rather not let your adversaries get a hold of.
But where can you keep all these valuables safe?
In a safe, naturally.
But why keep such special pieces secure in just any safe? Gone are the days when your choices for security were dull grey and duller grey, thanks to safe maker Stockinger.
This German company, headquartered in Neuried, Bavaria, has been crafting hand-finished, high-quality safes for a quarter of a century with a mission to create a product that fits a space, not just occupies a space.
Stockinger President Dominik Von Ribbentrop explains that his company caters to an exclusive clientele and that its products have pushed his company to the premier position in its market.
Von Ribbentrop acquired Stockinger in 2003 after the company's original owner and president unexpectedly passed away.
With experience in finance and private equity, he saw an already well-managed small business that had been thrown into turmoil due to the loss of its real salesman and key figure.
Additionally, the luxury market had taken a hit after Sept. 11, 2001, as buyers scaled back on nonessential purchases, and Stockinger faced the challenge of connecting to new customers.
However, the entrepreneur in Von Ribbentrop spotted an opportunity. Possessing an eye for companies with growth potential (he was a co-founder of WebMiles.de), he saw Stockinger as a company staffed by experienced and dedicated craftsmen with a unique product -- all it needed was an injection of capital and some good marketing.
Von Ribbentrop's gamble appears to have paid off. Business is growing; the company is opening a shop in London and plans for expansion to Moscow, Zurich, Dubai and Qatar.
However, Von Ribbentrop knows the biggest market for his products is the U.S.
He sees opportunities to have his safes in airports for wealthy travelers and looks to build a partnership program with watchmakers and high-end jewelers -- purchase a luxurious treat and a stylish safe to protect it.
And when buying a customized safe, the personal connection is essential. As Von Ribbentrop says, "The product is not so easy to understand ... it's a bit like buying a car, that's why I want to have direct contact with the customer."
What's most striking about a Stockinger safe at first glance is that it doesn't look like a safe at all.
Lacquered finishes in rich colors, marbled surfaces, precision-cut drawers of chrome and rare metals, ostrich and other exotic leather linings as well as a concealed digital keyed entry are just some of the eye-catching features of these bespoke pieces.
But it's in the details where the company shines.
Any safe ordered from Stockinger is completely customizable from the outside finish and color to the inside layout and tray materials of the drawers, shelves and any part of the interior to fit all of your treasures, down to individual cufflinks.
Have a watch collection or maybe just a few treasured timepieces? Craftsmen can fit your safe with automatic watch winders to keep your collection running smoothly and always with the correct time.
Other thoughtful touches include interior LED lighting, which does not generate heat, and a silent alarm entry code -- if you're being forced to open your safe, just enter an alternate code in the keypad. The safe will open like normal, but will alert the police to the larceny in progress.
As Von Ribbentrop notes, "Once someone has a bit of money they don't want a standardized product. They want something personal and ... even unique."
And Von Ribbentrop makes it clear that Stockinger is completely focused on the customer. The company strives to make a singular piece and to accommodate individual needs, from unusual color and material requests to diminutive jewelry compartments.
He tells a story about a German woman with a jewelry collection worth well over 10 million euros. At her home, Stockinger employees looked on while she unceremoniously dumped her fortune on her bed. Although a bit daunted, the employees proceeded to painstakingly measure each piece in order to design an interior that would fit her collection exactly.
When addressed with the absurdity of keeping such valuables casually piled away in a bedroom, Von Ribbentrop declares that in fact this is very common with Stockinger's clientele. "Half of their jewelry is hidden away in a bank and they never see it, the other half is hidden among their clothes.
So we try to create pieces that incorporate themselves into a daily living area like your dressing room and work area. It's beautiful, easy to handle and gives you joy."
And what is the most unusual custom request the company has fulfilled?
Von Ribbentrop recalls a customer who requested his safe be lacquered with the same color as his wife's favorite pink nail polish. Another requested a Swarovski crystal lacquer which Stockinger had to develop in partnership with the famed crystal maker. "I can imagine
(stingray) leather coming soon," he remarks wryly.
The Luxe Life
In addition to customizing the exteriors and interiors of Stockinger's five standard safe sizes, the company can construct a safe to a buyer's size specifications, all the way up to an armored vault within a home.
Other special projects include partnering with
Bugatti for a safe adorned with the car maker's distinctive logo and design style. Partnerships with other well-known luxury brands are currently in the works.
Still, even with all these customized features, I ask Von Ribbentrop why customers come to Stockinger when they could buy a standard armored safe that also meets European bank standards for considerably less. He answers, "It's 40/60: 40% security and 60% luxury. It's like a very nice Swiss watch. It only gives you the time and date, and of course you can have one for a very small price. But why, when you can go for the ultimate luxury edition?"
With not only security covered but style as well, it's safe to say Stockinger is a winner.
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