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NO BACKGROUND, NO FUTURE - THE HISTORY OF SCHIESSER

The 27-year-old Swiss manufacturer, Jacques SCHIESSER, and his wife Malwine rent the ballroom in the still existing “Schwert” Inn and start with the production of their hosiery on just nine circular frames.

1876

Construction of and move into their own small “factory for tricot weaving and dying” in Radolfzell.

by 1880

Staff increase by almost 200% from 100 to 280 staff members. Development of export markets in the Middle East, India, China and Japan.

1890 - 1896

Company expansion: branches are established in Stockach (1890), Bucharest (1984) and Engen (1896). The number of staff rises to more than 600. Even female foreign workers from Italy are employed due to a lack of qualified labour in Germany.

1913

Jacques Schiesser dies of heart failure on 18 August. His wife Malwine inherits the company. His son-in-law, Wilhelm Finckh, takes over as manager of the company which now employs 1,200 staff.

1914

World War I breaks out. Owing to the situation, SCHIESSER changes its production and produces army clothing. The export markets are cut off due to the war. As a result of the increasingly difficult procurement of raw materials, attempts are made to produce hosiery and knitted fabrics using stinging nettles and paper yarn.

1939

World War II breaks out.

1940

The number of staff rises to 1,100 again. The course of the war forces the company to restructure, develop emergency plans and finally to produce war garments – the well-established “Schiesser fashion” falls victim to the war.

1915

Following the death of Wilhelm Finckh, Jacques Schiesser’s nephew, Jean Schiesser, takes over as manager.

1916

The company becomes a public limited company and operates under the name SCHIESSER AG.

1918

End of World War I. During the war, the number of staff sank to 360.

1922

End of the crisis – the company can offer 800 staff members a secure job.

1929

Due to the inflation and the worldwide economic crisis, some parts of the company have to shut down. The number of staff is reduced to 500.

1930 - 1931

The Engen and Stockach branches are shut down.

During the World Expo in Paris, Jacques Schiesser is awarded the Grand Prix for Innovation for his company’s patented special products such as braided tricot, damask tricot, hardening underwear made of ramie linen and hosiery with long stripes.

12,000 items are produced daily. 80% of the production is destined to the worldwide export market. The company employs almost 1,000 (!!!) staff as well as more than 300 female workers working from home. Schiesser has its own bleaching, dying and dressing/finishing departments. A four-storey building is erected in Johannisstrasse, Radolfzell.

1932

The company stands on the brink of collapse but can be saved thanks to help from Switzerland which paves the way for painful rebuilding.

1933

Economic boom and staff increase to 600. Schiesser takes over the Radolfzell-based children’s linen factory, the bodice factory which is later called “TAUSENDSASSA-Spezialfabrik” (meaning Jack-of-all-trades factory).

1936

Jean Schiesser resigns as Managing Director and Chairman. His successor is Walter Schellenberg, the first Managing Director who is not a member of the Schiesser family.

Owing to the lack of raw materials the production is almost completely shut down. 160 tonnes of scrap metal in the form of old sewing machines help rebuilding the company.

1951

Jean Schiesser dies at the age of 80.

1960

Schiesser employs 3,500 members of staff.

1962

A new branch is set up in Neustadt in the Black Forest. New production sites are built in Switzerland and Greece. SCHIESSER Netherlands is established.

1966

A new production site is built in Radolfzell, covering an area of 32,000 square metres. Furthermore, a new distribution centre is set up in Milan/Italy, as are now production sites in Greece, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland.

1967

Another distribution centre is set up in Belgium.

1971

SCHIESSER dares to move into the garment sector: Following the acquisition of Standop GmbH as well as the Hudson Textile Works, SCHIESSER becomes the market leader in printed knit fabrics.

SCHIESSER sets up its own fabric printing department to ensure good quality in future.

New business boom: the annual production amounts to 2.7 million pieces of tricot items, the annual turnover is almost 13 million Deutschmarks. Again, the company employs some 1,000 staff.
Construction of a new production site in Engen and start of operation of two branches in Mimmenhausen and Rielasingen.

SCHIESSER AG looks back on 14 years of continuous expansion and today produces 38 million pieces of garment per annum.

SCHIESSER AG’s annual turnover amount to 437 million Deutschmarks.

The company restructures its field force, focusing on communication with the final consumer.

1990

In addition to quality, fashion is of prime importance as the slogan “Lust auf Mode, Lust auf Schiesser” (keen on fashion, keen on Schiesser) shows. As a result of the financial consequences of German unification and the development of a new market, the annual turnover rises steeply to almost 555 million Deutschmarks in 1990. The SCHIESSER Group was transformed into the Schiesser Eminence Group by means of majority holdings in Italy, France, the Czech Republic and Slovakia; the Group operates throughout Europe. By 1996 it has expanded to more than 30 countries.

1997/1998

In Germany, SCHIESSER hat more than 8,000 corporate textile customers and textile department customers in department stores. Export is developing continually. 1997 and 1998 have seen a complete brand and product re-launch including a new logo design. SCHIESSER AG opens SCHIESSER Bodyfashion Centers in Prague and thus establishes a distribution centre for Eastern Europe.

1998/1999

SCHIESSER has to adapt to market changes in the late nineties. SCHIESSER intends to focus on the SCHIESSER brand and therefore splits from Ragno (Italy) and Eminence (France), both belonging to the SCHIESSER Eminence Group.

At the start of the new millennium, SCHIESSER rapidly changes from a manufacturing company into an international marketing and sales operation. With “SecondSkin”, SCHIESSER launches a most successful microfiber collection for ladies, gentlemen and children.

2007-2009

In 2007 SCHIESSER starts to experience trouble. In 2009 the company has to file for bankruptcy although it is profitable in its core business. During the bankruptcy proceedings, the liquidator, Dr. Volker Grub, manages to lead the SCHIESSER Group back to success based on the restructuring measures initiated previously by the SCHIESSER board of directors.

At the end of 2010, the bankruptcy proceedings regarding SCHIESSER AG are officially suspended. The SCHIESSER AG board of directors take over the management of the company again with Rudolf Bündgen, Karl-Achim Klein and Johannes Molzberger at the helm.

The company saw its insolvency as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reposition itself and make a credible and successful fresh start.

Exploiting this opportunity, the brand was relaunched and SCHIESSER quickly turned the corner, with renewed success leading to acquisition by the global underwear and hosiery group Delta Galil Industries. All the creditors’ claims arising from the insolvency were settled in full.

SCHIESSER is continuing to grow, achieving one of the best results in its history in 2014 with steady net sales growth in the high single-digit range. Its successful multi-channel strategy (own stores, specialist retail, e-commerce), new, profitable licences (Marc O‘Polo and Lacoste) and an expanded product portfolio (polo shirts, shirts, bed linen, towels, socks) are ensuring that the company’s development remains firmly focused on growth and on the future.

October 2018 marks the opening of SCHIESSER’s flagship store on Kurfürstendamm, Berlin, and the launch of a new store concept. The store provides a sales platform for the company’s brand concept centred around natural, sensuous fabrics as well as modern design, thus capturing the spirit of its brand identity.