Karl Toosbuy took over an empty factory in the small rural town of Bredebro, Denmark and began production of ladies’ fashion shoes under the name of Venus.
Due to a dispute over the rights to the Venus name in Germany, Karl Toosbuy needed to find a new name for his company. He selected one with international appeal that was easy to say and easy to apply as a logo. The ECCO brand name was born.
ECCO Olympic launched to mark the Olympic Games in Munich.
Karl Toosbuy decided to make shoes that broke with all tradition - shoes that fit the foot and were flexible, light and comfortable. The first was ECCO JOKE followed by ECCO FREE and ECCO TIME.
The German produced DESMA machine was the first high-tech production equipment to be installed in Denmark. It enabled mass production of a consistently high quality. This year also marks 1 million pairs of ECCO Joke sold.
The next generation of ECCO shoes, the SOFT, became the bestselling ECCO shoe ever. The SOFT and its later versions are still much in demand 30 years on. ECCO JOKE reaches 2 million pairs sold.
In 1984, ECCO, which had until then procured its raw materials in Brazil, Yugoslavia and India, started production at its first fully owned factory abroad, in Portugal. From the start, the initial 1,200 employees produced 18,000 pairs a day.
Needing a stable supply of uppers for its factories in Denmark and Portugal, ECCO built a factory in Indonesia in 1991. The plant included a beam house and a tannery because of the plentiful supply of local hides. Shoe production followed later. Today, ECCO Indonesia is ECCO’s largest product unit with over 5,500 employees.
The launch of the TRACK II; still one of ECCO’s top selling men's styles.
Three years after the opening of the Indonesian factory, demand had risen to such an extent that a further production unit was required. The decision was made to build a shoe factory and a tannery in Thailand, which today produces over 5 million pairs of shoes per year.
In 1994, ECCO bought a former agricultural college in Tonder, Denmark, and transformed it into the ECCO Center, the company’s conference and training base. Karl Toosbuy and his son-in-law Dieter Kasprzak, went on to develop FUTURA here - the ECCO Group’s research and development center. ECCO named retailing chain of the year in Denmark.
ECCO was initially represented by a distributor in Canada. In 1996, ECCO Shoes Canada Inc. was founded and assumed all operations by 2000.
Historically, ECCO was a wholesaler. The opening of the first Flagship retail shop in London’s famous Oxford Street, therefore, heralded a significant change. Since then, ECCO has steadily increased the number of fully owned stores across the world. To this day, however, the Oxford Street shop still sells more shoes than any other. ECCO also made its mark on the World Wide Web by launching its own website ecco.com.
With more than two-thirds of all products sold in Europe, ECCO opened yet another factory, this time in Slovakia. This enabled ECCO to reduce time to the market and improve its supply chain to European markets. Her Magjesty Queen Margrethe II appoints Karl Toosbuy Knight of Dannebrog.
In 2001, focus turned to Asia. From newly established headquarters in Hong Kong, a team set out to turn ECCO into Asia’s best known comfort shoe brand. Today, ECCO Asia Pacific sells ECCO shoes from more than 600 shops in 15 countries throughout the region.
Another milestone was reached with the launch of the SHARK shoe. Once again, ECCO’s designers broke with tradition and pushed ECCO’s production capabilities to the limit.
ECCO releases its first injection mould Performance shoe. Sadly, we say farewell to our Founder Karl Toosbuy as his daughter, Hanni Toosbuy Kasprzak, becomes the company's new owner and chairman. Karl Toosbuy's son-in-law, Dieter Kasprzak, is appointed ECCO's CEO.
At the inauguration of the ECCO factory in Xiamen, China, Karl Toosbuy declared that ECCO had not come to Xiamen to produce low-cost shoes. Knowing that the Chinese employees would make high quality products, he expected China to become the world’s largest market for shoes.
ECCO’s Leather Group decided to build a tannery alongside the shoe factory in Xiamen. From the outset, the aim was to break with traditional layout and operational methods. At its opening in 2008, the tannery was the world’s most advanced tannery in terms of sustainability.
Several years of close collaboration with the German Sports Institute of Cologne resulted in revolutionary running shoes using natural motion. BIOM, as the shoe was called, became an immediate success.
Once again breaking the mould - ECCO develops its first hybrid golf shoe. 2010 also marks the year that ECCO became the world's fourth largest golf shoe brand.
Women's dress shoes meet direct injection technology with the release of our Sculptured Collection. ECCO also celebrated the opening of store no. 1,000 at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ECCO has developed a global retail presence, now with 1,000 stores and more than 2,600 shop-in-shops and shop points. The brand is represented in a total of 94 countries.
ECCO takes the sculptured collection one step further with the launch of Sculptured 65 - SMILE High Heel Comfort has Arrived. The BIOM HIKE and BIOM LITE receive the 2012 Scandinavia Outdoor Award.
How do you celebrate 50 years of shoemaking? By making a shoe, of course. The ECCO MIND is born. It draws elegantly on ECCO's design legacy. You will find inspiration from not only Ejnar Truelsens famous JOKE shoe, but also the iconic designs of FREE and TIME. The result is a shoe true to its heritage, yet remarkably current.