A male accessory from the Lower Rhine
The fashion conscious man wears a tie. Creativity and quality are of decisive importance in this fiercely competitive market. They are also the foundations of the success of a traditional Krefeld company called alpi Krawattenmode GmbH. The company’s two Managing Directors, Birgit Porten and Nicole Waßenberg, create new designs of this male fashion accessory every season. According to the two entrepreneurs, the most important qualities for a tie are fashionable design, high-quality material and good workmanship.
Krefeld. Lydia Trüb sits at a table covered with different cloth patterns. Her skilled hands are working the high-grade Italian material into a sample tie for the 2009 autumn and winter season. Ms Trüb has been working for alpi for more than 30 years so she experienced the company’s re-launch in December 2003 first-hand. Following the bankruptcy of the family business, which was founded in 1904, two former employees decided to go into business themselves and bought the trademark rights and customer base. In addition, Nicole Waßenberg (39) and Birgit Porten (44) brought alpi back from Willich to Krefeld. “Ties and Krefeld simply belong together”, Nicole Waßenberg, who also worked in the predecessor company, explained. Krefeld is the ideal location for the two entrepreneurs. “The proximity to our suppliers and to our manufacturers gives us flexibility. The short paths save time and money,” says Birgit Porten listing the benefits of Krefeld. She explains a key part of the company philosophy: “For us it is important that the customer gets a product that is “made in Krefeld” and doesn’t have to make do with goods from the Far East.”
At the beginning of 2003 the long-established brand was at risk of going under completely. But the now Managing Directors weren’t going to give up without a fight. “It was actually an employee initiative,” Birgit Porten, who also completed her training at alpi, recalls. “And the idea, which was actively supported by our management consultant Ralf Jülicher from Achilles Consult, has now long since become reality.”
The pure silk materials come from the silk city Krefeld and from traditional Italian weaving mills that have been supplying alpi for decades. “Our designs are exclusively for the German-speaking region. Alongside the alpi emblem, the trademark found at the tip of every tie, an alpi tie is distinguishable by its unmistakable lining. The special lining makes the tie more voluminous and makes sure it returns to its perfectly smooth form after the knot is untied,” Nicole Waßenberg explains.
At alpi, alongside Birgit Porten, Nicole Waßenberg and the two employees Lydia Trüb and Susanne Fischer, 13 well-established sales representatives who sell the collections to upmarket retailers take care of the business. Another important sales channel is the field of corporate design, where alpi has long since established itself as a specialist. Many prestigious companies, associations and municipalities use the textile accessories as business cards. For a special occasion such as an anniversary or trade fair, the clients can present themselves in a unified and unforgettable manner. The trade fair service also includes the embroidery of shirts, women’s blouses or other accessories - an all-round service for fashionable men’s accessories.
alpi Krawattenmode GmbH
Telefon: +49 (0) 2151 - 493 – 0
Fax: +49 (0) 2151- 493 - 100