On their business trips, they did not content themselves with simply presenting their latest catalogues, but also carted along suitcases packed with originals of their latest novelties. After all, it was the toys that had to convince customers. The Naefs were happy to demonstrate the toys, since this was the best way to encourage most of their customers to place orders. But as time went by this changed. The fact that wheels were added to suitcases in the s was a slight consolation at least. It was impossible to visit customers abroad as frequently, but when the Naefs were on holiday, they always managed to arrange a stop here and there if business acquaintances happened to live on route.
Personal contacts played an exceedingly important role in their line of business. Now and then, the Naefs would also call on potential customers.
In such cases, however, it was necessary to exercise restraint, especially if they already had other business contacts in the same region. Many businesses laid claim to exclusivity — a wish the Naefs had to respect. Their factory in Zeiningen also contained a large display room to attract customers. When they arrived, the Naefs would take them round the factory. Mitte: Messestand in Frankfurt a. Unten: Kurt Naef erprobt einen Prototypen. Top: Exhibition at Heimatwerk, Zurich. Bottom: Kurt Naef tests a prototype. Twice a year, the Naefs gave presentations in hotels in the cities of Zurich and Bern.
Promoting exports meant investing a lot of time and money. Although the Naefs were very hesitant to place advertisements in newspapers and journals, they did invest in exhibition stands. The Naefs attached great importance to presenting their small firm at a decent stand. At the time, it was quite common to wind up business deals at the fairs.
Every day one could see the results, take cheer, or swallow the disappointment. Entgegen allen Erwartungen wurden die Naefs freundlich empfangen. Bertoia zeigte sein Werk und setzte die Skulpturen in Bewegung. Bei weitem nicht jedes Spielzeug und jede Produktelinie waren kostendeckend.
Bereits in den er und er Jahren war bei Spielzeugen ein enorm breites Angebot aus dem billig produzierenden Fernost zu verzeichnen. They also placed great value on serving their customers attentively. In this way, they attracted customers who liked visiting their stand and wanted to come back again in the future. Business relations of this nature frequently turned into lasting friendships. Kurt Naef saw himself as a craftsman, a merchant and a man of many other talents. But he had problems writing advertising copy, letters of invitation and the like.http://apimelisatest.sociocaster.com/hp50g-manual-de-usuario-adelantado.php
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In , he got to know Felix Waibel in the sauna. Felix Waibel was an intelligent man and capable copywriter with a broad education.
At the time he met Naef, Felix Waibel was working for a large furniture company. Despite this engagement, Waibel said that he was quite prepared to plan advertising campaigns for Naef now and then and write copy for them. This was the start of a pleasant and — for the Naefs — valuable business relationship that would last for the best part of 40 years. A customer of theirs owned a gallery, where they discovered sculptures with innumerable metal rods that made beautiful sounds. These sound sculptures were made by Harry Bertoia — , an artist and furniture designer who came from Udine, Italy.
After working together with Charles and Ray Eames in , Bertoia had independently developed innovative wire chairs which Knoll International managed to sell so successfully that Bertoia was able to live off the royalties and devote himself entirely to his sculptures. The Naefs were swept off their feet by these sound sculptures and determined to meet the artist. They learned that Bertoia lived outside Philadelphia and rarely received visitors. Even so, they were told there would be no harm in trying. Contrary to their expectations, they received a warm welcome.
Bertoia worked in his studio, which was located in an old factory containing vast numbers of his sculptures.
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He showed them his work and set his sculptures in motion. His two Swiss visitors were overwhelmed by the optical and acoustic impression created by the moving sculptures. Bertoia enquired into their line of business and Kurt Naef, prey to an old habit, took one of his catalogues out of his waistcoat pocket.
While they were talking, Kurt Naef asked him how much his sculptures cost. They chose two sculptures and were as pleased as Punch.
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A second pillar It became increasingly apparent that they needed a second pillar to their business, because manufacturing toys called for huge investments that made this particular line of business uneconomical. Not all toys or product lines cover their costs. Ultimately, there are upper lim- 44 45 ten, waren immer billiger als das in kleinen Serien produzierte Holzspielzeug. Die beiden wurden handelseinig. Die Zusammenarbeit verlief lange freundschaftlich und erfolgreich.
Beide Firmen konnten gegenseitig voneinander profitieren: gleiche Absatzwege, gleiche Kunden. Jussila produzierte einfache Spielsachen aus naturbelassener Birke und die vorteilhaften Preise verschafften der Firma Naef einen grossen Markterfolg. Der Hersteller war Garry Kvistad.
Auf der Messe in Frankfurt am Main wurden die Muster am Naef-Stand ausgestellt und siehe da, am ersten Tag und in den ersten zehn Minuten waren die ersten verkauft. Erfolgreiche Produkte rufen Kopisten auf den Plan. Wer keine Ideen hat, ist versucht, diese zu klauen.
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Auch die Glockenspiele von Woodstock wurden sofort kopiert. And the price can make the difference between success and failure. As early as the s and s, a wide range of cheaply produced toys was entering Europe from the Far East. There was no point in competing with their low prices, for the mass-produced plastic toys that flooded the market would always be cheaper than wooden toys produced in small series. And although it was easy enough to convince customers of the functionality and high quality of Naef toys, it took a lot of persuading to explain to people that their advantages justified the high price.
In , the proprietor of the Pastorini toyshop in Zurich informed Kurt Naef that the toy-maker Antonio Vitali was looking for a buyer for his company. Vitali toys were, at the time, an ideal addition to the Naef collection, and both businessmen reached an agreement. Vitali would be taken over by Naef and continue operating.
Vitali undertook to go on producing its speciality — sculptural wooden animals — in its own workshop; Naef would produce those Vitali toys that matched its own programme. They got on well, and their cooperation proved to be a success. The two companies benefited from their business relationship: they had the same marketing channels and the same customers.
However, in friction between the two proved damaging to their business relationship and ultimately led to their terminating their cooperation agreement. The two collections spoke very different languages. As one customer put it, the Naef line was a little like a city lady, whereas Jussila was more the down-to-earth country girl. On his travels through the United States, Kurt Naef discovered countless new products that were unknown in Europe.
He signed agreements with some companies that made Naef their sole agent for Europe.
At the time, he was one of the few wholesalers in this sector who also took small manufacturers seriously and visited their studios and exhibition stands. After Naef Spiele had made a name for itself in the toy sector overseas, offers starting arriving in Zeiningen. Their toys were made by Garry Kvistad, who had worked as a teacher before he decided to make his hobby into his job.
A few samples were exhibited at the Naef stand at the trade fair in Frankfurt am Main and — lo and behold! Encouraged by this success, the Naefs sent an initial order to the Woodstock company while the fair was still in progress.