Jan and Marek once faced each other on the field as bitter opponents. But somehow it all made more sense as a duet. That is the history of WINQS.
"Better with than against", Jan remembers his first encounter with Marek. They had heard from each other. Then they faced each other on the square. "Better with than against. That was clear to me immediately."
Both had grown up in Prague and for both of them sport set the tide from an early age. Marek has long been an aspiring decathlete, throwing javelins and leaping into the distance. Jan, in turn, took almost every sport in which you could throw any ball into any net. They didn't know each other at the time.
Eventually both ended up playing floorball, a hockey sport that is particularly popular in the Czech Republic. When she then went to Germany to study, they met in the Bundesliga. Jan as a Berlin clipper, Marek as a gigantic Chemnitz defender.
So better with than against. One word led to another and a week later Marek was asleep on Jan's futon sofa. Changing clubs was just a formality. The beginning of a momentous friendship.
Both finished their studies, found jobs. A return to the Czech Republic was out of the question. Eventually they founded their first company with another friend. They later sold it to a Swedish sports brand and from then on worked for them. years passed.
At some point Jan had an idea, or rather a need. In contrast to other sectors, the sporting goods industry found it extremely difficult with its change towards more sustainability. In fact, the big brands seemed to actively resist him, preferring to paint things green rather than actually change anything.
How great and how important it would be to build a sports brand that does it right. With performance and sustainability in its DNA, it defies the excesses of its industry. And it should probably be fun too.
Marek's enthusiasm was limited at first. It would indeed be great and important, but maybe also a bit naïve. Are the people ready? And whether you can get the products made that way? That takes time. So Jan quit overnight and started building and pottering and making and doing.
Although the pandemic had brought the world to a standstill, the idea caught on. Established partners such as Michelin or Lenzing supported the project and one piece of the puzzle came to the next. 2020 WINQS was born.
Jan didn't let up on Marek. Does he want to sell plastic jerseys forever? Week after week, day after day. And because at some point even the toughest iron gives way, the gigantic defender suddenly stood on the threshold.
"Better with than against," says Marek. The rest is history.