Passion since 1883: Vorwerk looks back on 140 years of success
WUPPERTAL, Germany, March 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Vorwerk is 140 years old – and that means 140 years of passion and innovation. Founded in the valley of the Wupper river as a carpet factory, Vorwerk also moved into the production of household appliances (Kobold vacuum cleaners) in 1929. The advantages of the first, powerful Kobold model could not be conveyed via retail sales – This gave way to direct sales at Vorwerk and certainly the most important milestone in Vorwerk's history. Today Vorwerk is the number one direct sales company in Europe and a world leader in the direct sales of high-quality household appliances. In 2021, the Group generated sales totaling € 3.4 billion, a new company record.
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Vorwerk's Company History
The invention of the radio brought the market for gramophones to its knee. Although, a new idea would save the day: The gramophone motor became a motor for a vacuum cleaner. In 1929, the Kobold was something of a small revolution: a handy appliance - but nevertheless one that was very effective. However, the market was not yet ready for that innovation, and prospective customers could not appreciate the advantages of the Kobold model from merely seeing it on sale in a retail store. Once again, a revolutionary idea would save the day, namely the introduction of direct sales in Germany – certainly the most important milestone in the company's history. Brought back from the USA by August Mittelsten Scheid's son, Werner in 1930, this people-oriented sales concept would become Vorwerk's trademark and the secret of its success.
In 1953, Dr. Erich Mittelsten Scheid took on sole management of the company and initiated far-reaching changes, such as expanding the product range and opening up further to international markets. In 1968, akf bank became the first service brand to join the Group.
In 1969, Erich Mittelsten Scheid handed the Vorwerk reins over to his nephew, Dr. Jörg Mittelsten Scheid, who from 1969 to 2005 played a crucial role in shaping the company, turning it into an internationally successful corporate group. Expansion of the product portfolio is among the achievements that fall within his time at the helm: Already in 1971, the Thermomix® became the first multifunctional food processor and cooking appliance to be launched onto the market. Pushing ahead with its consistent strategy of internationalisation, Vorwerk founded its first foreign subsidiary abroad in China, in 1990, and subsidiaries in Eastern Europe soon followed. At the end of 2005, Dr. Jörg Mittelsten Scheid stepped down from the management of the company, but today continues to oversee the company as Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board. With Dr. Thomas Stoffmehl, Hauke Paasch and Dr. Thomas Rodemann, a three-member Executive Board now manages the fortunes of the Group, whereas the owner family provides continuity in its fifth generation.
People are our Focus
The Vorwerk SE & Co. KG family enterprise was founded in 1883. The holding company's registered office is located in Wuppertal, Germany. Vorwerk's core business encompasses both the production and sale of high-quality household products (Thermomix® kitchen appliance, Kobold vacuum cleaner). As a direct sales company, Vorwerk always seeks direct contact with its customers. Here, the Advisor is at the center of activities and serves as a central point of contact for the customer. The Vorwerk family also includes the akf bank. Vorwerk generated consolidated sales of €3.4 billion (2021) and operates in more than 60 countries.
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