Founded by the two families Spiesshofer & Braun in Heubach, Württemberg, Germany in 1886, Triumph International Ltd is a multinational company manufacturing undergarments. Its first foreign subsidiary was established in Zurzach, Switzerland which has now become the financial headquarters. Triumph enjoys presence in over 120 countries encompassing the globe and is one of the leading underwear producers in the world. The Company boasts annual turnover of CHF 2.5 billion (2007), and is backed by the workforce of around 43,000 employees. Born in March 24, 1964, Mr Jan Rosenberg, Global Marketing & Sales Head at Triumph, is a Danish by nationality. Mr Rosenberg did his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France in 1992, and Aeronautical engineering at the Technical University of Munich (1983 to 1988). The career moves of Mr Rosenberg depict his career start as a professional of Procter & Gamble Inc., where he was a Brand Manager at various locations in Germany and Turkey for the period 1989 to 1992. In 1993, Mr Rosenberg joined the Boston Consulting Group, Munich, as a Project Manager handling International customers from the areas of fast moving consumer goods and fashion industry. Mr Rosenberg joined Triumph International’s head quarter in 1997, initially as Marketing Director, and today he is the Head of Global Marketing & Sales as well as Member on the Board. Sharing his views with Face2Face team, Mr Jan Rosenberg portrays the transition that intimate wear market has undergone and reveals the strategies that keeps Triumph one up in the market.
Setting out the conversation, we would like to hear from you the most-remembered episodes from the history of Triumph.
The corset-maker, Johann Gottfried Spiesshofer, and the businessman, Michael Braun, set up the Spiesshofer & Braun corset factory. With six sewing machines and a staff of six they start producing corsetry in a barn. The location: Heubach in Wuerttemberg, Germany. The company expands rapidly in the heyday of the German corset industry: by 1890 the staff already numbers 150. In 1894 the first supply agreement for export is signed and the company starts exporting to England.1902 – The Trademark
Spiesshofer and Braun recognise the need for a memorable trademark – one that is equally understandable in every country. The exciting idea comes to Johann Gottfried Spiesshofer when he sees the Arc de Triomphe in Paris – “Triumph” becomes the trademark. The company develops new export markets and quickly achieves the position of the leading manufacturer of undergarments in Europe.1933 – First Expansion Abroad
The foundation stone is laid for international expansion: the firm fits out its first branch abroad in Bad Zurzach, Switzerland. 44 years later the worldwide holding of Triumph International will develop from it. In the Thirties, Triumph grows to become Europe’s largest corsetry manufacturer and in 1936, the year of the Berlin Olympics, the company proudly celebrates its 50th birthday.1950s – Fashion Show Pioneers
Triumph introduces very stylish lingerie fashion shows - for the first time the models do not wear leotards under the garments but march past with the lingerie on their bare skin. “More fashion for underwear” is the message in 1957 at the first Triumph Show in London’s Royal Albert Hall. The next show follows at the international cotton fair in Cairo in 1958, and in 1959 the Berlin Hilton hosts the largest lingerie fashion show ever held up to that time: a presentation to 200 journalists from 16 countries.1960 – Expansion to Asia
Triumph International expands into Asia and opens a branch in Hong Kong in 1960. Over the next decades this is followed by Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and India (2001). The company has already developed to become one of the three top manufacturers in Japan by the mid-Sixties. New branches are opening in Europe too: in Spain, Greece, France and Portugal. In 1965, Triumph International is marketing its products in 92 countries.1970s – Touring the World
Triumph rings in the Seventies with the largest fashion show ever held up to that time. It becomes a spectacular fashion journey over a 25,000 km route: the glamorous “Triumph 70 Show” takes its models on tour through Europe and Asia.1986 – The first 100 Years
Triumph International celebrates the company’s 100th anniversary. In its centenary year, the Triumph Group employs a staff of 19,000 all over the world and its total turnover amounts to more than 996 million Swiss francs.2002 onwards – Growing Engagement in India
The Indian involvement is increased considerably, with sales offices being set up in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore. These are followed in 2003 by a branch in Kolkatta. Today, Triumph produces in 2 PCs in India: The first one was opened in 1998, the second started production in April 2008; the latter is fully owned and operated by Triumph. Both PCs are on the outskirts of Chennai. Furthermore, Triumph India will open 30 stores by the end of the year which will be operated by franchise partners.2008 – A new Corporate Design
A new, contemporary Triumph logo is at the heart of a corporate design that has been renewed in every respect, providing Triumph with an even more direct approach to its consumers. Their needs and desires are the central focus of all the company’s activities. The same strategy of ongoing investment in innovations and in maintaining the legendary quality and fit of all products is also applied to communication. The current Triumph advertising campaign, photographed by Peter Gehrke from Sweden, shows the Triumph woman as self-assured and natural in situations that are true to life. Triumph finds inspiration for its creations not only from within the company: the “Triumph Inspiration Award” was brought to life so that young, hopeful talents would also have a chance of making a name for themselves in the fashion industry. The prize is awarded to talented up-and-coming designers from around the world – and so ensures a creative dialogue between the company and young, creative consumers. And finally, emotional brand retention is also achieved via the Triumph Stores that serve not only as a showcase for the products but also, most importantly, encourage personal contact with our target groups.
How would you like to depict the transition that market of lingerie has undergone from historical times to the current one in terms of consumer trends?
Of course underwear evolved from being not-talked about, exclusively functional items to items of fashion and inspiration, but I believe the most important trend is the direct interaction with the consumer. Of course the products have always been designed and crafted with consumers in mind, but until recent times, the distribution focus of underwear manufacturers was mostly oriented towards their wholesale customers. Today, many more activities revolve around the consumer herself as we have moved from a seller’s to a consumer’s market. Triumph today does not only produce fashionable, enchanting lingerie but creates retail environments through the Triumph Stores that make lingerie shopping entertaining, comfortable and relaxing.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.