Interview with Mr Ulrich Schmidt

Mr Ulrich Schmidt
Mr Ulrich Schmidt
Managing Director
MADEIRA Garnfabrik
MADEIRA Garnfabrik

Headquartered in Freiburg – Germany, MADEIRA Garnfabrik is the multinational company pioneer in manufacturing of premium quality embroidery threads. Originally founded as “Burkhardt & Schmidt Garnfabrik” in 1919, it was renamed to its present name in 1975. With a strong emphasis on quality and continual improvement, the Madeira group currently comprises a network of Madeira-owned companies in 14 countries world-wide and cooperates with independent dealers in 46 more countries, and is a combination of traditional values and the innovative prowess of the company's founders forming the basis for success. Mr Ulrich Schmidt and Mr Michael Schmidt, twin-brothers born in 1953, are both Managing Directors of this family-run conglomerate. They entered the company in 1980 post their academics. Mr Ulrich Schmidt holds an MBA degree, whereas Mr Michael Schmidt has a Textile Engineer Diploma. Since 1996, they are at the helm of managerial affairs of the group. Speaking to Face2Face team, Mr Ulrich Schmidt shares his views on current trends in thread industry worldwide and key to success in select sector.

Having stitched the long history of almost 9 decades, how has Madeira established itself in the arena of threads industry over the years?

Madeira from the early beginning on was concentrating on producing high quality products – starting with the selection of the right raw material, a strictly controlled production process e.g. in terms of colour consistency while dyeing, up to a customer-orientated service when it comes to the availability of our products in the various production markets worldwide. Last but not least Madeira was and is always looking for new, interesting threads or accessories for the embroidery industry. Some special embroidery threads have been developed by Madeira and are now on sale exclusively through the Madeira supply channels. Offering the widest range of products in the embroidery thread field, we proudly can say Madeira is the market leader when it comes to what we offer to the choice of textile designers world wide.

Are the threads by Madeira applied specifically into embroidery, or there are some others for non conventional applications too?

Basically, the threads produced by Madeira are thought for the use on the fast-running multihead (computerized) embroidery machines. Since many years however, some of our – even standard – threads are being used on Schiffli machines because they offer a unique look. On the other hand, Madeira has introduced 4 metallised threads which are dedicated to the sewing industry. Two of them can even be used in the production of Denim garments, because they resist to a stone-wash treatment or other chemical treatments of the finished garments.

Furthermore, all our embroidery threads can be used for decorative stitching on any kind of textile – from garments to home textiles. Ask for details – we have available some scanned samples which show completely new looks, designers will immediately see what different embellishing can be done with Madeira products.

Threads and accessories though being elfin products play very vital role in apparel sector. What is the total market size of your industry and Madeira’s share in it?

A difficult question, which actually cannot be answered! There are too many embroidery companies working in the domestic, mostly low to medium level market only. Madeira however is concentrating on the upper segment of the textile industry, where we are the first choice of the market leaders. Why? Madeira guarantees a high quality standard in terms of colour fastness, colour consistency and our products meet high ecological standards. This way, all quality control processes which come after the embroidery has been done (such as washing tests etc.), can be eliminated and hence the producer saves time and money.

Which all countries would you categorize as strong/potential/emerging markets for your sector?

In the apparel production, strong markets currently are China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Egypt, Brasil. Other markets like Turkey, Tunisia, just to name a few, still have got some good production capacities, but partially work in very specialized segments.

Published on: 19/01/2009

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

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