History

Although the past does not usually count for much in the fast-moving world of fashion, we see our unique history spanning more than 100 years as a key strand in our corporate culture. After all, we have written an incomparable success story – one we continue to write today. Maximo combines tradition and knowledge with technology, team spirit and responsibility – the quintessential qualities of our development.

 

How it all began

Maximo is closely connected with the Chemnitz region. In 1898, company founder Bruno Barthel established the company as a glove factory in Chemnitz-Rabenstein. At the time, Chemnitz was a major player in the German textile industry. By World War II, the company had expanded to become one of the largest glove manufacturers in the region.

Harsh economic situation

In the GDR, the company was nationalized. The founding Barthel family fled to West Germany before the Berlin wall was built. After nationalization, Bruno Barthel’s company became the state-owned firm “VEB Polar”. At times, the enterprise had a payroll of as much as 2,000 employees. After the unification, the economy in the region almost collapsed completely, and VEB Polar was in jeopardy.

In this extremely tough economic situation, the company was restored to the founding family as part of the re-privatization of state-owned companies. How were they to keep the firm under such arduous conditions?


Working together for success 

Both the management and the employees assumed responsibility for their company. The solution was to “all pull together”. Ultimately, the sheer dedication and efforts of staff made it possible to rebuild the firm, and helped us become what we are today:  an internationally successful family company with a passion for its products. Since 2001, we have been producing in a new facility in Chemnitz, very close to the location of the original company of Bruno Barthel. In an area of about 5,000 square meters, we design, knit, sew, pack and dispatch high-quality accessories for babies, children and teens.

Tradition meet the modern

Even though today we work on cutting-edge knitting machines and have expanded our product range, the legacy of company founder, Bruno Barthel, still remains. We see ourselves as a family firm in the true sense of the word. Since May 2012, the great-grandson of Bruno Barthel, Thomas Merk, has been CEO of maximo, and has kept the original values that the company was founded on: respect, accountability and fairness. In May 2014, Thomas Löpenhaus-Boras, a man with many years of experience in the industry, joined management where he is responsible for the business operations.