THE FIRST COMPETITOR
Not long after Chernobyl, and thus also after my great trade fair success, I looked around for larger production rooms and found them in a small town with perhaps 700 inhabitants in the Bavarian district of Landsberg. It was not without pride that I inaugurated my first filling machine there and hired my first employees.
The trade office soon called to check that everything was right. The officer, with his scrutiny, seemed satisfied and also in a good mood: he told me about one competition in the district: and it was hard to believe, but true, in the same small place as I was. It is an entrepreneur with a natural cosmetics company who has just invested heavily. Nobody in town apparently knew about it. Of course I was curious, I got the address and phone number of my competitor from the officer. He and his company sat inconspicuously in a former beer warehouse at the other end of the town. I called him and immediately got an invitation. And who is there to welcome me in the office next to the beer hall? An Indian with a turban, who speaks German like a wheel and receives me with French champagne.
I was very impressed by its equipment: there were highly professional, brand new filling lines, the glass bottles were waiting in line for their filling, everything sparkling clean. I was amazed that nobody worked there and was told that production only takes place about once a month. "Du Gebhardt" he kept saying when he started a sentence. He had brought a hair product recipe from the Himalayas with him, and the necessary vegetable raw materials in his warehouse were perfect. To demonstrate the quality, he took off his turban. The hair below it reached his knee.
Talking shop we spent a nice afternoon, goodbye to my host good luck. The phone rang a week later: my Indian called excitedly and asked for help. What happened? He had an order, but unfortunately he didn't know how his filling machines worked. He wanted to know if he was allowed to fill up with me. I invited him, even with me there are days when there is nothing going on in the laboratory, depending on how the moon runs.
He showed up in person, wearing a turban and caftan, and bottled his hair with me. I helped him, he in turn occasionally helped me out with raw materials, for example when the olive oil hadn't arrived in time. We just had a lot of fun together: An Indian as the only competitor in a tiny urban picture-book town, who would have thought that!