130 YEARS: FROM LEATHER TRADING TO GLOBAL EXPERTS FOR CREATIVE COVERINGS
130 years ago – the leather trader Carl Winter-Lawrence and his brother Franz Winter-Jäggi founded «Gebrüder C. & F. Winter, Leder en gros». The company began humbly, based in a small location in a courtyard, a very modest stock of goods and a handcart. The leather pieces were delivered to the customers on foot by the entrepreneurs themselves.
The firm was extremely successful and grew rapidly as a result of the enthusiasm and commitment of its owners. In 1911 the second generation joined the company with Otto Winter-Aretz who was followed by his brother Ralph Winter-Delay, five years later. In 1917 the company had 10 employees and the books showed CHF 2’730 of monthly wages. From the very beginning, Winter & Company was a very socially-conscious company. As one of the first family enterprises in Switzerland, an independent pension fund for employees was installed after World War I. In 1924 the company moved into their new prestigious office and warehouse building at Nauenstrasse 65 in Basel, where the company’s global headquarter is still located today.
FROM A TINY PACKAGE TO A BIG BOX
In 1956 Philippe E. Winter, representative of the third Generation, joins Winter & Company, the family run business. In accordance with tradition he completes a tanner’s apprenticeship before gaining his degree at Cambridge University. As an innovator he quickly recognises that the new synthetic materials which are becoming available represent a huge opportunity for the company. The substantial growth of Winter & Company begins, when he uses his knowledge about the visual and haptic properties of leather to develop a new product with a partner in the USA.
Starting with the brand Skivertex® in 1967, Winter & Company has since then been the market leader in special coated papers that set the standard for imitation leather. The main markets for these leather-like materials until today are the luxury and premium packaging sector as well as the bookbinding market. Soon after Skivertex® other product lines like Pellaq® and Silktouch are launched. Three brands which are – among over 30 other company owned brands – still on the market today!
24 LOCAL CONTACTS WORLDWIDE, OVER 30 EXCLUSIVE BRANDS AND 1’300 MATERIALS
Winter & Company’s passion for coverings had its origin in leather. Philippe E. Winter, more than anyone else, possessed the knowledge of leather processing and how it contributes to the creation of new materials. This creativity first made it possible to design a product like Skivertex®, with a previously unachievable look of leather from a paper base. This passion has driven the Winter Group’s development and launch of countless products in the second half of the last century, not only used in, but also often driving and shaping the market: from the finest genuine leather to coated paper, «Hightouch» materials or imitation leather meeting the most rigorous material demands.
Seeing ourselves in the role of an «Editeur» Winter & Company today owns more than 30 international product brands. As a result of the significant growth of the business, the company became more and more international: with fully and part owned companies in Germany, UK, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, USA and South Africa in the 1960’s. With the founding of Winter & Co. (Hong Kong) Ltd. in 1995 the enterprise gains a foothold in Asia, soon followed by the expansion into China (Winter & Company Shenzhen Ltd.), with a sales office in Shanghai. Today, Winter & Company is represented in 24 countries around the world. With warehouses around the globe, more than 1’300 materials are available from stock worldwide.
READY FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
With Nikolai Winter in 2013 and later Alexej Winter, the fourth generation enters the family business as Members of the Board of Directors. With spirit for innovation, engagement for the environment and society as well as decades of experience we offer our customers a unique choice of creative and high-quality products.
As a globally active company we are aware that our business has an impact on the environment. By complying with applicable regulations and strict self-imposed standards, we ensure that this influence is kept as minimal as possible and that our ecological, economic and social contribution to a sustainable environment is maintained. These three pillars form the foundation of our company and lead to the continuous development of sustainable products.
Already in the 1990’s environmentally friendly product ranges like Ecorel® and Wintan® were launched. Wintan®, a material made of recycled leather fibres was the symbolic starting point for «Winter Wrup-Cycling». This term describes the systematic upcycling of our portfolio by reducing new resources and actively promote the circular economy. The waste used for our Wrup-Cycling products comes from tanneries and the cotton industry. Paper or PET waste and even recycled ocean plastic are also used to create upcycled cover materials with a unique look and feel. These new-generation products feature outstanding material qualities.
CREATIVITY – GUIDANCE – TRUST
For all these years, leading designers, converters and international brands have relied on us for cover materials that set standards in the market. For this we say thank you and assure you, that we will continue to do everything in our power to inspire you with our materials, to guide you with our know-how and to deliver the best quality.