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By Emma Roberts
It's a warm, sunny day in Copenhagen and a line of eager punters, ready to relax in an eco-friendly vessel, is already forming outside of GoBoat's modern water-front Pavillion. A favourite with locals and tourists alike, GoBoat is now one of the most popular and sustainable experiences in Copenhagen (and abroad), and we can see why; fun, sun, and sustainability - what a combo!
SQUARELY are excited to have recently completed a design project with GoBoat, furnishing their stunning Pavillion with our beautiful self-watering planters; looking out over the water, we speak with Mads Sander, Operations Director of GoBoat, about sustainability, design, going green with SQUARELY, and the future of GoBoat...
INTERVIEW WITH MADS SANDER, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR, GOBOAT
10AM: 18/08/2020: GOBOAT HQ
Emma: Hi Mads! It's a beautiful summers day and we are looking out at the Copenhagen canal with GoBoat's iconic boats and Pavillion. You've chosen to work with SQUARELY to decorate your workspace and we have a few questions for you...
Mads: Great! Happy to be here and to speak with you.
Emma : We know sustainability is really important to your Company - why have you chosen to prioritise this in your business?
Mads: It's a short term and also a long term decision. It's because we want to help the planet and help the environment, we don't want to make an imprint on the local environment or do something bad here, we want to help the future. We are not claiming to be experts, but we want to help as much as we can by doing something that other people can see for themselves.
Emma : What actions have you taken and which innovations have you made to make your business more sustainable?
Mads: The motors are running on water, wind and sun power, they are electric boats, made out of recycled plastic with sustainable wooden tables.
We also collaborate with a lot of companies that do clean up days in the harbour and have a green influence on the environment in Copenhagen.
Plus we have 'Cleanup Pirates' which is what we call the kids that come here. They get fishing nets and they catch all of the rubbish they find in the harbour. So we try to do some small initiatives all the time and also have some larger collaborations. We don't promote it much but we do it.
Emma: Why is it important to you, as a Company, to be surrounded by nature?
Mads: We started the business because we wanted to open up the water and open up nature - using sustainable materials to do this. The tables on the boats are made of sustainable wood and the same with the Pavilion and the full green dock we have here. We are trying to do lots of small nature projects on the water. It was a great initiative to get you guys in with your green products too.
Emma : We saw that you were planning to change the design of your boats. Can you tell us about any sustainable innovations you have planned for the future?
Mads : We have some developments in this area that will be coming, but we are also trying to expand our business to be available in both winter and summer and 100% sustainable.
Emma : What's been the biggest challenge for you as a sustainably focussed business?
Mads : Just to keep up with the initiatives and make sure we do not slack on them. Keeping up with all the good ideas!
Emma : Do you think it's possible to put sustainability before profit in a business, or at least, prioritise them equally?
Yes, we do it right now - and hopefully, we are a good example for other companies in how to do this.
Emma : What are GoBoat's expansion plans?
Mads : We are already in four locations in Australia and the UK. Now we are looking to open up in more Danish locations on top of our Copenhagen and Aalborg sites, plus more locations in Europe. The coming summer, 2021, is going to be an exciting year for GoBoat - hopefully, we are going to expand!
Emma: What is the importance of good design in your business and for your customer experience?
Mads: Good design is the main focus for us, especially as we are a green and sustainable business. The whole pavilion was designed by one of the owners and he made it out of sustainable materials. SQUARELY and the Pavillion look alike in their design and so you couldn't get a better match, also with the sustainable focus from you guys. We are really happy with the design and how it connects our business to your business as well.
Emma : Ofcourse we have to ask about Corona. How has COVID19 changed your business?
Mads: We can feel the effects of COVID19, we opened up later than we usually do. The boats can have 8 people so from the beginning of Corona we have actually been under what Mette Frederiksen said, which was maximum groups of 10. We also only let families or roomies that lived together out on the boats, but whenever she said to open we did it - so we've followed her. We could have opened up earlier but we wanted to follow that rest of Copenhagen
Emma : Have you seen a change in your customer base because of it?
Mads: We don't have any tourists, but we can see that all the locals need something to do, an activity while they are home in Denmark.
Emma: Have any innovations come about because of this experience?
Mads: We definitely gained a new focus on safety and customer experience. Corona has shown that we need to focus more on the smaller things, the day to day operations, how the boats are sailing, and in the end, maybe we have made the business better than last year. We did have to change some procedures, but it came out as a positive - we are fully booked every day in the summer.
Emma : What is the best route to do around Copenhagen?
Mads: I've done the tourist route many times now so I'd recommend the recommended you. I'd definitely go to the southern part, there is more space, no one usually goes that way, the sunset is amazing. We opened up a base down in Tagelholmen where there is a bar southern harbour.
Emma : Why do you think people love GoBoat so much?
Mads: Because they can be their own captain, have free space on the water, they can get rid of their daily stress, put the phone away - and also to try to sail a boat, who wouldn't want to! Plus you can sail a GoBoat and feel good about the sustainability aspect - not everyone knows that we are so sustainable. And ofcourse the best thing is that you can be together with the ones you want. It's a picnic boat, you can bring your own food and drinks and enjoy each others company on the water.
WORKING WITH SQUARELY
Emma: Do you always work with local companies?
Mads: We try to work with local companies, yes. We were local at the beginning and we got a lot of help from locals so we want to try to give something back and try to help other Startups as well.
Emma: Have you had plants in the Pavillion before?
Mads: Yes, we had some smaller plants in there that we just looked after ourselves but not a business partnership. It was on our own initiative that we brought some plants in to show that we are a green company and have some green fingers. To show a green touch. You helped us a lot with that SQUARELY visually helped us promote the sustainable aspect of our business.
Emma : Are you happy with your SQUARELY planters?
Mads: Yes! We have had a few issues the previous years with plants that died because of the weather conditions inside and outside, so it was nice to get someone in that had some experience with plants - because we don't have time and resources to keep track of all the plants.
Emma : How has your experience been since they've been installed?
Mads: Of course there have been some ups and downs in the beginning because we needed to figure out how do we do it best, and also because it's a new place for you guys, it's not a normal place to install plants - on the water and next to the water like where we are - But I think we have reached a level where we are happy and you are happy. I think It looks nice and it also helps the customer experience to come around GoBoat.
Emma: Would you recommend SQUARELY?
Mads: Yes, of course!
If you are a business and you'd like more information or to collaborate with SQUARELY, you can see more of our project work here or simply contact us today!