Written by Amy Merrill
Founded in October 1915, Grünhainichen-based manufacturer and long-time GACC South Consulting client Wendt & Kühn is celebrating a full century in business this year. Yes, 2015 is definitely the Year of the Angel – the Grünhainchen Angel with its distinctive green wings and eleven dots, that is. We know you will join us in wishing our friends in the beautiful Erzgebirge region of Germany a very good year, with many more to come.
And it has been an eventful century to say the least. The 25th anniversary year, 1940, occurred in the shadow of World War II, during which Wendt & Kühn stayed in business and out of direct participation in the war by creating model ships. During the era of nationalization, the company was renamed “VEB Werk-Kunst” but was returned to the Wendt family in July 1990. Since then, Wendt & Kühn has focused on growing and reestablishing the company.
More recently, Wendt & Kühn’s figurines appeared in the 2013 Hollywood movie Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the beloved author of the Mary Poppins children’s books. What is the secret to success for Wendt & Kühn? Now in the third generation of the Wendt family, the company maintains its focus on tradition, craftsmanship and quality. The designs were originally created by Grete Wendt, who founded the company with her classmate at the Royal Saxon School of Art in Dresden, Grete Kühn, and are still being used today to produce the famous, handcrafted and -painted figurines.
To celebrate the big occasion, Wendt & Kühn has planned numerous events and anniversary product promotions. Many of the events will take place in the company’s “birthplace” and home town of Grünhainichen. October will naturally mark the highlight of the year’s events, which feature the opening of a new interactive world of figurines and a grand jubilee celebration in Dresden. Retailers, friends and long-time collectors of the brand from all around the globe will join Wendt & Kühn to take part in the festivities.
The “Anniversary Edition” pieces were first unveiled in the U.S. in the early weeks of January at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market. Retailers were granted an early glimpse of the centennial year’s new releases, which included a specially designed Anniversary Angel, a grand 72-tone music box and limited edition pieces highlighting Wendt & Kühn’s history and achievements. Wendt & Kühn also brought back the very first designs created by Grete Wendt in 1913: the award-winning 3 Berry Pickers.
The partnership between the GACC South and Wendt & Kühn has not quite reached a century, but at 12 years is still quite an achievement. The GACC Consulting department and Business Representation Team has assisted the company in expanding their U.S. business by attending trade shows, processing orders, facilitating customer relationships and administrative support. The GACC South has been honored to share in even a small part of Wendt & Kühn’s success story. Congratulations!