Established, developments, and later changes
Michael Etter established Inkognito Gesellschaft für faustdicke Überraschungen (society for huge surprises) in 1984. He started the company out with seven his friend Michael Sowa's postcards with the idea of specialising in the development of bizarre promotional gifts. Michael Etter's constant stream of new ideas and ability to pass his enthusiasm on to others attracted evermore artists and, in the process, evermore cards. Inkognito quickly became established as a source for gems in the mass of postcards on the market.
For more than 25 years now, Inkognito has gone from strength to strength with a comprehensive selection of satirical cards. Some of these have become established as classics, like Michael Sowa's first card, “Köhlers Schwein“, which is still on the market and still a bestseller. The original idea of producing bizarre gift ideas has also developed and resulted in classics, such as our classic Schweinelampe (pig lamp) inspired by the film “Amelie” or the “Angie citrus juicer”.
When Michael Etter died suddenly in 2007, his then still under-age daughter, Lotte Steenbrink inherited the company. Lidwien Steenbrink, who had been involved in the company on and off from the beginning, began to work as managing director of the firm to assure that Inkognito could continue to operate with its time-tested concept, retaining the energies of a dedicated staff.
Range of products and the propagation of the merchandise
The complete name of the company, translated as Inkognito - Society for Huge Surprises also defines its remit of prioritising satire. Some of the cards on offer are classics, while others are a bit quirkier: postcards, folding cards, furry cards, cards complete with a little gift and more... We offer much more than just cards though: our unconventional collection of gift items provides an increasing number of clients with just the right, individual way expressing one's appreciation, including Loriot bookends, our infamous breast-shaped memo pads, a variety of breakfast boards and glass cleaning cloths in a wide range of designs.
Inkognito GmbH is based in Berlin-Kreuzberg and still doesn't have a shop of its own. All orders, however, are processed quickly thanks to our in-house delivery service. Our products can also be found in book and stationary shops as well as gift shops thanks to the exceptional work of our friendly sales team. Additionally, private customers can order their favourite cards and other merchandise directly from us online. Our products can be found all over the world: within Europe, from Finland to Spain, as well as in the US, Australia and a number of countries in Asia, such as Taiwan and Japan.
Nearly all of the artists who work with Inkognito are well known as book illustrators or have established themselves through their satirical drawings in various media. In addition to familiar names such as Michael Sowa, Quint Buchholz, Tetsche, Loriot, Axel Scheffler, Henrike Wilson, Papan, Rattelschneck, BECK, Rudi Hurzlmeier, and Gerhard Haderer, new names are regularly added to the list. Our stake-holding concept makes it possible for artists to receive a percentage of the profits from the sale of each card sold.
Philosophy and future perspectives
“Our goal is not to offer run-of-the-mill, dull products”, said the managing director of the company, Lidwien Steenbrink. “On the contrary, we value high quality, individual, even quirky merchandise that stands out in the crowd. You can have a good laugh with what we offer!“ Another factor is the atmosphere among employees, who are all dedicated to Inkognito, making our team a productive one. We are also very interested relaying our service-orientated approach to customers and all other interested parties. It goes without saying that we appreciate your feedback and suggestions and strive to improve our service. Please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inkognito will continue to make greeting cards and gift items emphasising a combination of intelligent satire and artistic quality. There's a constant stream of hilarious new cards, wacky objects all manner of unusual other new things available through our online-shop - surprises aplenty await you there.