Only the many safe-deposit boxes in the basement of Outdoor Service’s first headquarters in Schönenwerd SO give any hint that there was once a bank here. Now colourful fabric scraps adorn the entrance area. Huge sewing machines are set up on the upper floor. Where money was once deposited and coins counted, sportswear is now sewn, mended, packed and shipped.
Markos is the founder and managing director of Outdoor Service and has one clear goal: to bring as many people as possible to the Swiss mountains. Before Markos was born, his parents emigrated from Mesopotamia to Switzerland for political reasons. Arriving in Switzerland, the family initially found it difficult to gain a foothold and lived in modest circumstances.
In the 1980s, Markos’ family began running tailor shops, bringing the tradition of craftsmanship from their homeland to Switzerland. Years later, Markos also joined the company and gave up his carpentry job. He always carried his love of perfection and quality with him in his new job as a tailor.
The most sustainable tailor shop
At Markos’ shop, things are repaired instead of thrown away. Over the years he has specialised in tailoring and Flickenoutdoor products such as backpacks, jackets and ski clothing. In the process, he has always asked himself the question: How can I design a business that is entirely sustainable?
At some point, he came up with the idea for an outdoor sports equipment hire business. People from Switzerland should be able to hire high-quality products for their mountain adventures at low prices. After use, the items are washed, repaired and sent to the next person.
Mountains are for everyone
The business idea, which was put into practice in 2020, was well received. Markos quickly established partnerships with the Swiss Youth Hostels and the snow sports initiative GoSnow. Well-known brands such as Patagonia entered into collaboration with Outdoor Service.
The advantages for customers are huge. The products are out for delivery the day after the straightforward order placement on the website. Thanks to the hire service, parents don’t have to buy new, expensive winter clothing for their children (or themselves) every year, but can send it back after the ski camp or mountain holiday. With such high-quality products, romping around in the snow is twice as much fun, because cold or wet don’t stand a chance.
Through his business, Markos makes a valuable contribution to making Switzerland’s mountain world accessible to everyone and to extending the life cycle of products through repair, care and ecological washing. For him, this is a matter of the heart, because so often in the past he was unable to explore the breathtaking Alps of Switzerland because his family lacked the money and it was not yet possible to hire outdoor clothing.