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The long-established company Feiler is regarded worldwide as the leading manufacturer of high-quality bathroom textiles. Also for children. All products are produced sustainably. Luna Journal spoke with Managing Director Michael Hauspurg about the company’s future goals.
Feiler can look back on 90 years of company history – how did everything start and what has changed since the company was founded?
Michael Hauspurg, Managing Director of Feiler: Our company was originally founded in 1928 in Liebenstein in the Sudetenland. After the 2nd World War in 1948, a new company was founded in Hohenberg an der Eger in Upper Franconia, our location to this day. The economic miracle of the 50s also inspired Feiler, which in the 60s resulted in strong growth and numerous technical innovations. The next decade was characterised by internationalisation and entry into the Japanese market. This was followed by a general economic recession, but with the boom in Japan in the 1990s and the resulting commissioning of further production halls (1992 and 1997) this quickly became history again. The launch of the Feiler online shop in 2010 was one of the first major steps towards digitalizing the brand. At the same time, the opening of the flagship store in Frankfurt am Main was another milestone for stationary retail. The opening of the new production hall 3 in Hohenberg an der Eger was a forward-looking move and a further commitment to the German location. A comprehensive brand relaunch took place in 2016, which included the introduction of the new butterfly logo. A special milestone in the company’s history was the anniversary year 2018: In the course of the celebrations for the company’s 90th anniversary, the inauguration of the new administration building and the factory outlet also took place.
Why are filer products – especially soap wipes – so popular in East Asia?
Basically, one must first explain an important, culturally determined difference here: While in Germany the towel is usually only considered a commodity, in Japan it enjoys a very special reputation. The term “Tenugui” refers to a simply woven, rectangular cotton towel that usually measures 30 x 90 cm and is printed with artistic patterns and colours. “Tenugui” also means “wipe hands”, which is not the main function of the cloth in Japan. During the 17th century, the so-called Edo era, the towel became a status symbol for everyone. This is mainly due to the relaxation of the strict rules of professional conduct. Where cotton used to be reserved only for the higher stands, now the ordinary population can also buy cotton products. Since then the Japanese have used “Tenugui” in the following situations: as a headgear in the form of a headscarf, because of the colourful patterns, sewn on as a cloth bag or dress, in kendo fencing as a sweat catcher or as a protective cushion on the head or as a prop in their entertainment shows and as a business card replacement with their own coat of arms.
As for the file soap cloth, the well-kept Japanese woman usually uses it to dab her face, dry her hands and for body care. Our soap wipes are extremely soft and absorbent and have the same pattern on both sides thanks to a special chenille weaving process. The colour and pattern information of the later design is already woven into the chenille yarn during production. The result of the extraordinary filer weaving process: unique textiles with a velvety-soft surface and, in addition, consistent colour brilliance. For the Japanese, the soap cloth is therefore an absolute luxury product.
Where does Feiler get the ideas for the motifs and designs from?
An innovative design team consisting of several creative minds is responsible for our designs. Each season, they dedicate themselves to the creation of new design ideas with great attention to detail and artistic spirit. Especially for our Passion classics, the flower motifs, nature itself serves as a source of inspiration. With the modern designs of the Pure collection and the Junior line, on the other hand, we are more oriented towards the current trends in the fashion and lifestyle industry. Another nice development is our social media community, which also gives us new ideas. We also work with the creative people of tomorrow, such as students at the Münchberg University of Applied Sciences.
What are the most popular filer products?
Due to the high demand in Japan, our soap cloths are of course among the absolute feiler classics. In Europe, the focus is increasingly on the modern towel designs of the Pure line consisting of guest towels, towels, shower towels and large bath towels. In the baby and toddler segment, i.e. our junior collection, our traditional Pauli design, for example, continues to enjoy great popularity to this day.
What is so special about Feiler products?
On the one hand, of course, our high quality standards: All products are made of 100% cotton certified according to Ökotex 100. This makes them highly absorbent, extremely kind to the skin and suitable for allergy sufferers – particularly important attributes for baby and toddler textiles.
And on the other hand the production: We have been manufacturing in Germany since 1928 and all our textiles are ‘Made in Germany‘. For this we use a worldwide unique, extremely complex manufacturing process. This in turn means that the textiles have identical patterns on both sides and are not printed on one side as usual. In addition, this manufacturing method guarantees great colour brilliance as well as robust, hard-wearing and thus durable products.
Chenille or terry – what are the advantages and disadvantages of both materials?
Compared to terry towelling, chenille has a softer, almost velvety feel that feels very pleasant on the skin. All in all, chenille textiles are much lighter and therefore require less space than terry towelling. The visual appeal of chenille designs is primarily due to their attention to detail. Up to 18 different colours can be used for this. The high colour intensity is another feature of chenille. Another difference can be seen in the absorbency: terry cloth absorbs water through the loops. Chenille, on the other hand, has no loops, but absorbs the water. In order to produce such a high-quality product, two weaving processes with 14 work steps are required, which makes the production process more complex at the end than with terry towelling.
What are Feiler’s goals for the next few years?
As the only manufacturer of colourful woven terry cloth in the world, it is of course very important to us to preserve and continue this special, traditional craftsmanship. Love at first Touch – people should fall in love with this velvety soft fabric from the very first touch and feel it on their skin. And they should be able to buy the products ‘Made in Germany’ with a clear conscience due to their quality.
Of course, our focus is primarily on expanding the general brand awareness as well as the awareness and advantages of chenille – especially in the German-speaking countries. Among other things, we are relying on the successful implementation of a new premium partner concept in the DACH region. In the coming years, in addition to strengthening existing markets, we want to open up new sales markets and increase exports with the help of a new importer structure. In this context, it goes without saying that further technical development of production to increase productivity as well as constant innovations and improvements in terms of sustainability are indispensable. This is a matter of great concern to us at Feiler.
In which points of sale in Germany is Feiler represented?
Customers can currently purchase our products directly online in our own Feiler web shop or in our flagship store in Frankfurt. Our products are also available in premium stores of department store chains, such as Oberpollinger or Alsterhaus, as well as in selected specialist shops and mail-order companies.
Is there a typical “Feiler consumer”? And if so, what does it look like?
Due to our large product range, it is hardly possible to typify the classic Fe consumer. In the sports sector, for example, many men appreciate the high quality of our products, which has now led to cooperation with the basketball team Medi Bayreuth. Our soap wipes, on the other hand, are more popular with women with an affinity for beauty. In principle, our customers definitely have a pronounced sense for extraordinary and high-quality products – especially in the baby and toddler sector.
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