Carsten Schroeter is a smell focused person. In his childhood he discovered the world by his nose. Wether it was a Lego brick or Tuscany stone pines, will it rain or snowing or just the fine difference between the air during the day or at night. He had the ability to identify items by its smell. Of course he was fascinated by perfumes and he in fact created his first own perfume. But there was another smell he was much more addicted to. The smell of fine cigars. Since his early days he travelled a lot and some day he began to collect rare cigars.
But the difference to other Avicionados was that he selected and stored his cigars separately by its smell.
Design and art was another fascination of Carsten. He painted pictures in oils and often he created his own furnitures and accessories tailored to his personal needs.
Grown up in Munich with 3 siblings, a mother which educated him in aesthetics, and a strong father, a role model, self employed as patent attorney. But his gran gran father must be the source of his love for design. In Berlin he run the famous foundry S.A. Loevy appointed to serve the last German emperor but working with great designers of its time like Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe or Peter Behrens as well.
After completing his school he studied marketing and design. Worked as a student at companies like Monteverdi in Switzerland and in Brazil.
As a brand strategy expert he worked over many years consulting the automotive industry, airlines and others in strategic brand steering.
His passion for cigars forced Carsten to start the development of an unusual humidor. Not another version of the many existing wooden boxes. He questioned everything existing in the market.
The design, used materials and especially the technology.
For long term storage and conditioning cigars should be stored in their own boxes to avoid mingling of aromas.
A consequent focus like maturing bottles of wine in a silent cellar.
He took the challenge to approach the problem with new technologies and startet in cooperation with climate specialists, the best carpenters, glaziers and metal constructors he found the development of a new humidor. He closed temporarily alliances with global technology companies to find the perfect solution for a long term climatization. For several years, various prototypes were developed. Different types of cedar tested for its suitability, its fragrance and its impact on cigars. Long-term climate stability testing and maintenance requirements of the prototypes were reported with measuring loggers. Each new test set, each additional prototype created new, better and more stable results. Several development levels were necessary until slowly a stable technology arised from these experiences.
Carsten is a quality fanatic and he constantly pushed his vision of the perfect humidor to an extreme level of quality and high tech. As a confirmation of his invention he received a patent for his new technology.
But beside of a patent he created a new product category. A precise operating high tech unit which can mature good cigars to unique vintage cigars. A huge difference compared to an usual humidor. The design of the first generation was a tribute to the ancient Egyptian civilisation in the design of an Obelisk. It should be a symbol of long term. Long term of maturing cigars. The international press wrote enthusiastically about the revolutionary technology in many countries.
But the press success had a disadvantage too. It created the disappointment of other humidor manufacturers. They became nervous about their market position. To avoid competition some of them arranged boycotts. Schroeter should be excluded of significant fairs. Carsten‘s comment was significant:
„Are my humidors so dangerous competitive in such a short period of time? I can't believe it. But thanks for the recognition!“
However the design of an Obelisk was not appreciated by consumers. Only a few customers integrated the unusual design into their interior. The tremendous investment of the past years into the development did not pay off yet.
It took a couple of years and a lot of gained experiences out of his work as a brand coach to start a resumption of the humidor project. And he again questioned every detail of the design and of course the brand. The technology should be further developed to longlasting hygienics and less maintenance. Carsten took a sabbatical leave and developed from scratch a new and very emotional yin-yang design language. The new concept was fascinating and occupying his energy day and night. He created a timeless, minimalistic, iconic design. He combined unusual materials which are not found in conventional humidors before. Together with electronic specialists he improved the existing technology. New controllers were integrated that no other humidor could provide. Equipped with an aesthetic lighting concept the product finally entered the high end level. Carsten accepted the circumstance that only a few Aficionados would be able to afford such high end products. "Better high class and high end than high volume!" was his comment about the pricing of a Reposo humidor. He decided to handcraft his humidors only in Germany and only by different specialists with a long history in their profession to maintain his high demands of quality. Finally a new brand was developed, a new identity. This new generation was named Reposo as a registered trademark.
The first impression is intense - minimalistic on the outside, with the elements glass and steel strongly reminiscent of the Bauhaus style, on the inside the cedrela wood creates a warm interior. The principle of Yin & Yang combined in design objects. The cedrela wood reflects the incident light, thick float glass gives the Reposo transparency to which the cool stainless steel stands in an elegant contrast. One would like to glide with hands over the soft, smooth materials, the nose on the fragrant wood - seeing, smelling, feeling.
The luxury press was enthusiastic and published great articles over several pages. In one of the many interviews Reposo was compared with Rolls-Royce. The market accepted the new design. New orders came from Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Emirates.
Carsten felt relieved and verified about the new design and his huge investment. And he was motivated to construct an oceangoing version of his humidor for installing on yachts. The exceptional idea became a success. Some owners of yachts gave the order to their shipyard: „...the cigar cellar must be a Reposo!“
The Lufthansa Magazine published a detailed article about the manufacturing process of a Reposo. This article created the attention of Pascal Johanssen, the curator of the Direktorenhaus in Berlin. He was searching for extraordinary design exhibits for his ,Handmade in Germany‘ world tour exhibition. Only 150 manufacturers should representermany internationally. Reposo was nominated as the only humidor manufacturer. Together with the artist Marietta Torda he created a limited edition of the Reposo 12. Only 77 handmade specimen. The first of them started a journey over 5 years through the most respected museums of the world. Beginning in Europe, followed by Asia, middle East, America and Canada.
The brand Reposo got international awareness - nevertheless it remains an inside tip for gourmets with a high demand for exceptional design and highest technology.
The manufacturing process remains in Germany. In a small village in the Bavarian Alps. Where the brain behind Reposo lives with his family. So he can have an eye on the quality of the handcrafting process of each single humidor.
Reposo comes from the Spanish, and simply means ,tranquility‘. Undoubtedly an important criteria for maturing cigars to vintage cigars.
Nevertheless, up to today the last Cuban Davidoff Chàteau Mouton Rothschild of 1990 are stored in his first prototype, built in 1994. From time to time he enjoys one of the old Davidoff‘s and ruminates about new products.
His nose forced him to develop outstanding solutions - but above all he is a gourmet.