| Interview 2015 |
The Ultimate in Comfort for 66 Years
“The Ultimate in Comfort” is the slogan of the latest W.SCHILLIG advertising campaign. It has been the motto for our company’s 66 years of history, as well as for the customers who live with our products.
Our aim is to provide comfort for people who work for us and with us.
66 years - how do you feel about that?
Fresh! You only reach this age in this industry by motivating your staff, convincing your customers with quality and your partners with reliability. This combination is part of our tradition. It is also why W.SCHILLIG is managed by the second and third generation of the founding family. Loyalty to the family and to the Franconian site are the fuel that powers our growth. Even as we increasingly develop into a global player, we still keep our feet firmly on the ground.
Can you still remember your childhood?
But we aren't afraid to admit that we find that difficult. Nowadays, with more than 1,300 employees and four sites across the world, it is very hard to imagine that everything once started out much smaller, a typical German economic fairy tale. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, company founder Willi Schillig started making linen chests and wicker chairs.
The entrepreneurial rise demanded total dedication and personal sacrifice. Although traditional football clubs such as Schweinfurt 05 and 1. FC Nürnberg were knocking on his door in the 1950s, Willi Schillig put his career as a sportsman behind him and devoted himself almost exclusively to “his” company, always energetically supported by his wife Trude Schillig. They were successful, because within a very short time, W.SCHILLIG became a market leader.
Your actual appearance .....
Son-in-law Rolf Stammberger, who joined the company at the end of the 1960s, now concentrated on upholstered furniture. While his wife Brigitte – Willi Schillig’s daughter – worked in personnel and finance, Rolf Stammberger made another pioneering move: leather! In the mid-1970s, leather covers were still considered to be a luxury product and were mainly used as extras for cars and furniture suites in the high-end segment. Rolf Stammberger wanted to fundamentally change this.
Today, his son Erik says: “my father’s dream was always to make well-designed, comfortable leather furniture generally affordable. With our furniture, he was gradually able to realise this vision. Nowadays we call it ‘luxury for everyone’, a motto to which we have always stayed true.” W.SCHILLIG began its rise from a leading regional company in its sector to one of the leading manufacturers of upholstered furniture in Europe and to one of the largest suppliers of leather upholstered furniture in the world.
Do you have a recipe for eternal youth?
Erik Stammberger outlines his strategy as “continuity, innovation, reliability and the desire for change”.
At the turn of the century, Rolf Stammberger’s son joined the company’s management. He built up the site in North America for W.SCHILLIG, taking another step on the way to a more global presence. As well as expanding the foreign business, Erik Stammberger also did a great job of revamping the collection.
As the main partner, he manages the company, passionately and with vision. “The challenge is in running the business innovatively and ‘comfortably’, investing at the right time and, as a result, steering the company away from crises in the long-term, which includes keeping jobs.”
Long-term planning also involves another pillar of the company’s success - seamless cooperation with specialist trade. In the “möbelforum”, which is managed by Willi Schillig’s son Klaus, our trading partners are given professional further training to expand their product knowledge. “A direct line to our partners that also helps to secure our company’s long-term success and durability”, is how Erik Stammberger describes W.SCHILLIG’s present and future direction.