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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

Why videos?

Why videos? 
Markus Kobelt, interviewed by Francijn Suermondt 

Markus, how many videos have you and Lubera already produced? 
We have shot a total of almost 2,000 videos to date (August 2014); about 1,600 in German and 350 in English. We now have 3,000 subscribers on the German YouTube channel and 900 on the English YouTube channel. Between 5,500 and 15,000 videos are watched per day on the German YouTube channel and on Gartenvideo.com; on the UK YouTube channel there are between 800 and 1,500 videos views each day. We will soon reach a total of 5 million views, which means our videos have been clicked on and watched 5 million times! 

Don’t you do anything else except produce videos? 
(laughs) Well, it is indeed the hobby gardeners who spend time with my videos, not me! To your question, though, it might be best to ask my staff. One of them once referred to me as a freelance artist in my own company…But seriously: producing videos is part of my normal weekly schedule, actually almost daily routine. I always have my camera with me on the trips I take; there should be no obstacles when shooting a video, no excuse why I cannot do it. One thing is certain: many videos will never be made if you do not do it immediately. So, spontaneity is important, as is alertness towards seeing the opportunity to shoot a video. Just yesterday I saw our company manager, Robert Maierhofer, planting large Eia Popeia passion fruits in containers, which were already full of fruit at the end of July. This just HAD to be filmed! 

markus_kobelt_interview1

You've been making English-speaking videos for a long time. English is not your native language, aren’t you intimidated? 
Intimidated? (laughs) It seems that the 900 subscribers and 700 + gardeners who watch my videos each day are not bothered by my English. Somehow we all speak the same language: the passion for fruits, vegetables and gardening, and the rest, like searching for the right word or waiting until the correct phrase comes to mind, is then not much more than a slight, background noise. And of course, I hope that my Swiss English has the same effect on a native speaker as German has with native speakers of French or Italian: the effect is namely always very friendly, almost cute and sweet. Those who want to talk with me must make an effort to do so. But seriously: after the launch of our English online shop we will be producing more videos in English! My personal motivation is now, of course, much greater. 

How do the videos pay off financially? 
I’ll have to ask my trustee! No, of course it does not directly pay off; the only sponsors are our nurseries in Switzerland and Germany and our sales platforms Lubera.com and Lubera.co.uk. Without this business model in mind, it would not be possible to carry the extra effort for the amount of videos we have produced. For several months now, we also have a video cutter who edits our videos and sets them to music and produces specialities such as the “wonder videos”. 

Wonder videos? 
Yes, currently we have five GoPros and game cameras installed on our nursery and in various gardens that capture the movement, the changes in the plants, and brings them, so to speak, to talk. Actually, they are accelerated recordings, but they have the same effect as slow motion: They identify that what you cannot otherwise see with the naked eye. But there are many technical hurdles to overcome; wind, weather, power supply, and we are continuously working to solve these problems. Starting this summer, we will definitely put more wonder videos online. The first video is live: It shows the rapid growth of asparagus.

How did you start producing the videos? 
Not alone! At age 51, I am personally (but also my generation) not very tech-savvy. Five years ago, a friend of mine named Sascha Hertli all of a sudden told me that I should start shooting videos and we actually drove to the electronics store right away and bought the first camera – that’s how it all started. I guess I just naturally have quite a desire to communicate, but actually, I'm more inclined to write, due to the fact that I studied literature and language back in my college days. I learned very quickly that you can get a message, but also a feeling, an idea and an experience, across much faster and easier with the help of a video. In the end, if you know about the technical stuff, it is easier to shoot one or two videos, than it is to write a good text. In business talk you could say: Videos work.

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Are the videos just a sales tool for you? 
What do you want to hear? ;-) 

Yes, of course they are a sales tool; some of them are integrated into our shop along with the products. But like I said: the videos would not be possible without our plant sales. But conversely, I try – according to my employee’s comment about being a freelance artist in one’s own company – to preserve my "artistic" freedom. I make a lot of videos, for example in gardens that have nothing to do with the business; sometimes I even talk about not buying a plant (not even a self-fertile kiwi), or I shoot dozens of videos with my garden friend Sabine Reber that also have relatively little to do with the plants we sell. First and foremost, the videos must be fun to me! Otherwise none of this would happen. 

In many videos you say at the end: “Don’t believe everything I tell you”. What do you mean by this? 
Yes, I have – unfortunately – stopped using this expression for the most part because it was often misunderstood. But what I really wanted to say is just that each gardener is the specialist of his/her own garden; there are many roads that lead to a garden paradise. Everyone should be and stay open to that. I want to contribute to discussions, nothing more! 

Do you then not believe everything that you say yourself? 
(laughs) Oh, yes, I believe what I say. However sometimes I am a little bit uncertain. I once shot a relatively radical video about lavender that got an incredible amount of views, however many lavender experts told me that it was not all quite right, or too radical, at least too one-sided...But then, by chance, I recently met the son of the owner of a large North German nursery dynasty. He told me that his father told him to exactly follow the instructions on my video when cutting the lavender in their home garden. In my careful inquiry, I learned that my advice was indeed successful! My horticultural self-confidence thus grew a bit. But I’ll continue to say this: Do not believe everything I tell you! But if you believe it, it can also go well... 

Can you summarise why you produce videos? 
Because I really enjoy it. 

Because I can immediately and directly convey information and entertainment, and also perhaps the Lubera-feeling a little bit. 

Because it is easier than writing. 

Because it helps gardeners to be slowly introduced to Lubera. 

Because our videos are loved by many people. 

And because a woman said to me once, that whenever she hears my voice coming out of her husband’s office, she knows that he is relaxing! Isn’t that something!? 

Do you ever run out of topics to talk about for new videos, Markus? 
No, surprisingly not. Actually, you only have to keep your eyes open and see what comes up at our nursery, and of course some topics come about because of the travelling I do. Freelance artists can take trips, you know!

 

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