What does it take to grow a brand not just through mere months or years, but throughout decades and well into centuries? Evolution paired with a consistent adherence to high quality standards appears to be the common denominator for many country-specific brands and retailers that have been around for over a hundred to nearly two hundred years. Consider Britain’s Fortnum and Mason which has been around since 1707 or even Japan’s Mitsukoshi which was established in 1673: while both continue to offer traditional products, they have survived throughout the centuries by staying abreast of the latest trends and offering the best examples of such items to their customers.
The same could be said of the Swiss retailer enSoie: what started out as a silk importer in 1894 and remains a favourite among both Swiss consumers and customers from overseas.Throughout the span of over a century, the brand has evolved with the times, realigning the focus of its business to what customers want and need, but ensuring that they always deliver the best possible products.
From Silk to Style
The company which eventually became enSoie was formally incorporated as Königsberger, Schimmelburg, &Cie, in Zurich, a city that was a vital stopover and trading port for the flourishing global silk trade. Over time, it became the fabric supplier of choice for some of the world's foremost fashion ateliers, including renowned houses Balenciaga, Balmain, Dior, and Givenchy.
As the decades passed, the business changed hands numerous times and, with each change, its focus shifted from importing silk, to distributing fine fabrics, and eventually to retailing more casual clothing with a certain je ne sais quoi. The latter became possible when designer Monique Meier became its creative director in 1979 and, over the next decade, the Meier family built up the company - now called enSoie, the French term for “made of silk,” an homage of sorts to its origins - into one of Switzerland’s most elegant brands. Since then, enSoie has become synonymous with chic and sophistication with a curated hit of edginess.
All in the Family
Together with her husband, renowned musician and entrepreneur Dieter Meier, Monique set about revitalising the business, making the paradigm shift from textiles importation and fabric supply to full-scale retail within the luxury fashion and lifestyle niche. As the decades passed, enSoie became a true family business, as their daughters joined the company when they could. In the 21st century, a new generation of the Meier family is at enSoie’s helm and they continue to honour the family commitment to purveying goods of exceptional quality.
Today, the impressive enSoie flagship in Zurich's Old Town continues to be a mecca for those who are into cutting-edge modern style and also those who consider enSoie a source for some of the best accessories, houseware, and home accents in Europe. In store, one will find that the cellar vault is filled with colourful ceramics – a dream for any homemaker and ceramics aficionado!
EnSoie is also renowned for beautifully designed accessories that combine the richness of their corporate history. In each piece, the creativity of Creative Director Anna Meier pairs beautifully with a sense of timelessness to make these accessories a true keepsake.
Silk foulards, for example, are named after the Meier daughters, while rabbits – a symbol of creativity and fertility – are a house motif that has found its way onto the store’s signature carryall bags.
But enSoie’s unique sense of style is not just limited to its clothing and accessories. As a matter of fact, the brand offers a line of beautifully crafted tableware and home linens that will add a welcome pop of colour and a hint of whimsy to even the most modern living spaces. Extremely popular are enSoie cups, bowls, and plates which all sport the brand’s characteristic vichy (gingham) pattern in a variety of bright colours, adding a sense of fun and warmth to even the simplest meals. Every one of these fine ceramic products is handmade with excellent craftsmanship.The brand’s line of table linens also help set the scene, adding a celebratory touch to even the most ordinary days.
Perhaps it is this sense of creativity and innovation that has helped enSoie grow and thrive throughout more than a century: a unique business that embodies the spirit of Swiss entrepreneur- and craftsmanship.
In Singapore, enSoie ceramics, clothing and accessories, and home ware are exclusively distributed by Helvetia and Sons. Shop the collection here