Søren Skifter has been in the tie making industry for almost a century. His clients range from world renowned fashion houses to the Danish royal family. I recently paid Søren a visit to chat about his work.
What’s the history of Søren Skifter A/S?
My grandfather started the company in 1919. It was just ahead of the second industrial revolution and business boomed. It was easy to set up production lines and there were some important inventions in the weaving industry that made it possible to produce fabrics for ties. In the beginning my grandfather started the business with a small shop, then my father decided instead of paying rent to buy our own place so he bought the building which we are in today. I came on board in 1992 with an ongoing internship at the company. Originally my father and I did not plan for me to take over this business but I love it and I’m all about this.
How has the company changed since then?
Since those days, we trimmed the company to what we need today. It is very important to not be too stubborn and adapt with the times. For me small is beautiful. As we found out that marketing and sales is not necessarily the answer, but doing the right thing for our clients and focusing on quality.
Did the product also changed with time?
Production-wise we remain loyal to product quality and service. But what has changed is that before we were very retail orientated, we had salesmen in the field canvassing with suitcases; that was the main source of sales. Today the focus is more on the professional production market. Again, it is important to adapt to change.
What’s your relationship with Copenhagen?
We always wanted to stay in Copenhagen. A lot of people have moved their offices abroad, Hong Kong, Italy, etc. [But] we are Danish, the typical old-school Copenhagen company. It influence us in everything we do, the way we think, the way we approach business.
You mentioned earlier that you didn’t plan to be in the tie business; if you weren’t here, what would you be doing right now?
I would be a skipper on a boat, sailing around the world.