Article in PRO-LEDER – Issue 9/2016
With kind permission of the magazine about leather: www.pro-leder.de
The leading leathermagazin in the german speaking area.
Italian fashion with German thoroughness: this business concept of Jacobs GmbH was originally well received, especially in the leather goods industry. Meanwhile, new markets have been conquered. Today, already 70 per cent of the sales result from the shoe industry. More than 40 per Cent of the profits are made abroad, with tendency to rise.
Jacobs GmbH originally evolved from the section of the bag fashion and was initially oriented on the national market at the first head office in Rödermark. At first, the company operated as representatives and leather retailers. But the team around Bernd and Michael Jacobs had higher aims: they started with the development of their own collection in their own production, at the same time they made high efforts in sales and distribution, in the direction of the shoe industry as well as on target for internationalisation.
Today, the complete range of products results from the own production, and the collection is developed completely in-house. Jacobs GmbH purchases the raw material and wetblue mainly in Spain and New Zealand, but also in other European countries. Tanning is made in Italy, mainly in the north of the country. There, the company cooperates with three tanneries each for the tanning process and retanning process.
For the finish it counts on a larger range of specialists: about 20 companies in northern Italy and Tuscany are responsible for doing this work. The production will be supervised by two staff members of Jacobs who are working permanently on site in Italy. The complete manufacturing process, starting with the control of the raw material, the tanning process, the finishing process, the harmful substance control and the logistics up to the complete stylish and technical development of the leather is managed by the company in Eppertshausen itself.
Due to the late individualisation of the leathers larger quantities can be incorporated in the preliminary stages at low cost. In Italy, especially the velours are kept in stock in a warehouse of a size of 500 square metres; from there they are brought to one of the finishing specialists for a customer-specific individualisation. Jacobs produces above all bovine leather for the various uses – for shoes, leather goods, belts, watch straps, book binding leather, as well as all sorts of accessories.
Twice a year a complete collection is made which is presented at the Lineapelle in Milan. The inspirations for that are not only gained from fashion magazines and fashion lectures, but Michael Jacobs also relies very much on the input of his customers as well as his finishers
in Italy. “We are quite good in bundling all information and then developing an attractive collection.” He is quite sure about this. Moreover, individual developments for single customers are also manufactured.
Meanwhile, Jacobs has made a great investment in building a stock programme that comprises about 20 articles with up to 60 colours each. The main articles are nappa and velour. The customers reduce their stock inventory more and more and want to buy smaller quantities at more frequent intervals. Jacobs is willing to come up to their demands and delivers only a skin, and in case of stylish leathers a delivery of 10 square metres per colour is possible.
At present, Jacobs GmbH has 13 employees altogether. It is not at all difficult to find new qualified employees. Despite a low unemployment rate, especially in the Rhein Main area, the number of applicants for the new jobs advertised has been very high. “We as a medium-sized family enterprise set great value upon a pleasant working atmosphere and consider ourselves as a community of values inwards as well as outwards in dealing with business partners and also in the economic sustainability. This is what people are looking for nowadays”, says Michael Jacobs. Therefore, the enterprise has not experienced any fluctuation.
In the new company building in Eppertshausen where the company has moved last year a total area of 1100 square metres is available. Only the warehouse has a height of 8 metres and an area of 700 square metres. Due to two large show rooms the current collection can be performed adequately.
In case of the total equipment high value has been set on the subject of sustainability. The complete building is heated by an innovative wood pellet heating unit. The complete lighting is carried out by energy-saving LEDs which are regulated by motion sensors and light sensors. Thus, there are no more light switches in the building. In addition, the building has windows with a high k-value as a result of which about 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide can be saved annually compared to a “normal” new building. You see, Jacobs makes long-time and sustainable investments due to the strong faith in the future. “We will certainly have successful years before us, together with our business partners”, Jacobs says confidently.