A path to compagnon: Niels tells his story

Ein Weg zum compagnon:  Niels erzählt seine Geschichte

A few days ago, compagnon co-founder Valentin was a guest at the in-house exhibition at Calumet Düsseldorf. Some of you came by, said hello or got to know compagnon for the first time. Some of you even fell in love with it.

When a young lad came to our stand with his eyes widened and sought a chat with Valentin, we heard a story that we had never heard before.

This visitor introduced himself as Niels Sperling. He was interested in the beewax care product. He carried his little messenger with great pride. This question quickly turned into a conversation, because Niels is communicative and communicative. And in a good way.

The way he talked about his little messenger made it easy to forget how young Niels seemed. Valentin was not at a loss for questions. The answer showed his visitor to be the youngest compagnon of them all.

It begged the question of how this sixteen-year-old had found his way to compagnon. The entire compagnon team found the answer both heart-warming and inspiring. That's why we asked Niels to write this story down for you all:

"It all started in October 2014, when I bought my first DSLR during the fall vacations. I went to an electronics store and looked at the selection. I found the Sony Alpha 58, which is exactly what I bought. With a kit lens, SD card and a typical camera bag.

I was just 14 at the time, so I sold my Lego collection and started handing out brochures months beforehand.

After my vacation, I looked online for a high-quality bag, original equipment to match the camera. I found one just like it. And bought it. Less than a month had passed and I already had my second bag. My parents and siblings looked at me puzzled and asked why I needed another one. I just said that the other one was too small in case I had more lenses at some point. But who was I going to explain that photographers have a certain pocket fetish?

By chance, after the vacations, I found out from my music teacher that he owned a Sony A7 and he showed me pictures of his great camera bag, his little messenger. At the time, I couldn't really understand why it was so great.

I finally got my second lens for Christmas 2014. It was a Tamron 70-300mm. It's not a breathtaking lens, but it does its job and found a place in my camera bag. After the Christmas holidays, my teacher brought his compagnon. It was there that I saw this bag live for the first time. At the time, I didn't know how much such a gem would cost and whether it would be worthwhile for a student who "only" takes photos as a hobby. Nevertheless, I took a look at the compagnon website and was amazed at the price. It was too expensive for me and I wanted to forget about the bag.

The Easter vacations were just around the corner and I was looking forward to two wonderful weeks in St. Peter-Ording. After all, I handed out tons of brochures every Saturday, so I really appreciated the time off.

I wanted to use my savings to buy another lens, a travel zoom, so that I wouldn't have to change lenses on the beach. It was going to be an 18-200mm. But now my Sony bag was full. I really wanted a bag for city trips where my camera and the 18-200mm would fit in perfectly. So I ordered a sling backpack to go with it. However, I also wanted to replace my shoulder strap for my Easter vacation. DSC00182 I wanted a wrist strap so that I always had my camera to hand, as the whole thing was too dangerous for me without a safety strap. I found myself in the local photo store and had a look around. The nice sales clerk first offered me a very inexpensive strap. I was disappointed as soon as I touched it. I asked for a higher quality version. This ended up on my camera in no time at all. I paid and left.

I had now spent a lot of money. The savings were gone and the brochures were calling again. Over the next few weeks, I saved a nest egg in case something broke or I needed to make a purchase.

I often only had the weekends left to take photos, many of which were spent on homework and Latin vocabulary. As luck would have it, I saw my music teacher's little messenger again in September. A lot of time had passed between my first contact with the bag. But this time I knew that I would have to use my savings for this bag. And it had to be done quickly. The graduation trip to Berlin was coming up at the end of September.

I didn't actually have enough money saved up. So, without further ado, I took half of the budget for the school trip to buy this bag.

I set off for Düsseldorf on the Friday before departure. I got on the train straight after school and set off. When I arrived at Foto Koch, all the staff were in conversation. I waited patiently. When my moment came, I told the sales assistant that I wanted a little messenger from compagnon in a light brown color. When the man returned from the warehouse, I loaded the bag with my camera and lenses. Everything fitted perfectly and there was even enough room for another large lens. IMG_0016

I was satisfied. But the salesman asked me how old I was. After I answered '15!', he glanced at a colleague and told me that I wasn't allowed to buy it.

I hadn't expected that. My face must have been full of despair. I reiterated that I certainly hadn't been out all day only to be sent home.

A Canon salesman intervened and said that it would be better to sell me this bag than to let me spend my money on buying drugs.

The employee was convinced and directed me to the checkout. The cashier also looked at me a little questioningly and obviously thought to herself how a little boy could afford such a bag. With my little messenger in my hands, I made my way home. I arrived in Berlin on Monday. My compagnon didn't leave my side. Nobody in this big city had any idea that I was carrying equipment that cost me a fortune. The size of the bag was the right decision for me, because I packed it more consciously and only took what I really needed.

Classmates who approached me about the bag or whom I told about it were amazed by the price, but still thought it was justified.

I still believe that German companies should be supported and that fabulous quality costs something. People buy a Porsche or a Mont Blanc fountain pen for a good reason. Even if the money is rarely earned by delivering brochures. At the end of October, compagnon presented the strap camera strap. I had been following all the news from this small company since the summer and was immediately taken with the new strap. I spoke to my music teacher about the news. And of course he ordered it straight away.

I, on the other hand, still had to be patient. My birthday was still a little while away, and I only held the strap in my hands a week before Christmas. In the perfect light brown of my little messenger.

When attaching it to my Sony, I noticed that the leather eyelets were missing. When I asked via Facebook, compagnon took care of it straight away. The eyelets were on their way to me the next day. A great service. I felt like an important customer. They really looked after me. At Christmas I added a macro to my equipment. It also fits perfectly in the bag, and there's still a bit of room. DSC00006 The bag and strap were purchases that I do not regret. The workmanship, the leather and the whole feel are of the highest standard. After my visit to the in-house exhibition, I was able to rub my bag with beewax for the first time. It is six months old and is already developing a beautiful patina. It is one of a kind. And my companion. Often serves me as a motif. It is simply very photogenic. I love the smell and the feeling when I hold it in my hand.

I hope it lasts a very long time.

Niels' passion makes us as a manufacturer incredibly proud and we thank him for his moving story on the way to his first compagnon. If you would like to keep up to date with where Niels is traveling, what he is experiencing and what he has in front of the camera, check out his Instagram (@sperling_fotos) or his website!

Reading next

compagnon der Inspiration – Teil 10: Ethan Lee
compagnon der Inspiration - Teil 11:  MXMILIAN

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.