Our history

We are committed to tradition.

Even though our “sigikid” brand is only just over 45 years young, it is firmly rooted in our company’s 150-year history.

Our traditional values for the past 150 years:
– Customers are our focus: Customers are not merely numbers.
– German company values: Reliability, passion and professionalism.
– Family business with style: For families by families.

Our company history is our commitment to the future. We believe that businesses also have a responsibility to their past and people, even in today’s rapidly changing world.

The founding years

Our company was founded during the mid-19th century in the Upper Franconian city of Bayreuth, located around 70 kilometres from Germany’s “Toytown”, Nuremberg.

1856

Nuremberg merchant Heinrich Scharrer opened a new branch of his Nuremberg-based business for mirrors, glass beads and bead sets for children. Heinrich Scharrer was a level-headed businessman who helped shape the way our company did business from the moment of its inception. He established a new branch in Bayreuth to bring his business closer to the glassworks in the Fichtel Mountains, which supplied the blue beads known throughout the world for their unsurpassed quality.

Shortly thereafter, Christian Koch joined the successful, soon-to-be international mercantile business. Christian Koch helped grow the business and later married Heinrich Scharrer’s daughter. The company’s name was thus changed to H. Scharrer & Koch, which is still a part of the corporate name today.

1872

Heinrich Scharrer hired Bruno Müller as the company’s authorized representative. He later took over the business. Even then commercial apprenticeships “at Scharrer” were considered a mark of excellence throughout greater Bayreuth. To this day the company remains proud of the high quality of the training programmes it offers.

1910

Theo Köhler, who also completed his apprenticeship at Scharrer & Koch, bought the company. Branches were established in the Bohemian town of Jablonec and in Venice under his leadership. His immense talent and flexibility helped him steer the company through the difficult years of both world wars.

From beads to toys

1945

The product range focused increasingly on children after the end of World War II. At the time, it was common to give children presents known as “bead sets”, which were made from the scrap created when producing high-quality wood and glass beads. This “overproduction” was packaged in colourful boxes and placed on the table with other presents. Girls were especially excited by the little handicraft sets, which so perfectly addressed the trends and needs of the era. Demand for these products grew steadily, which led Theo Köhler to stop using scrap to make these children’s items and start using the high-quality beads directly from original production. The success of these premium toys continued throughout the 50s and 60s and helped shape the company’s fundamental philosophy to this day: Only the best is good enough for children.

The birth of the sigikid brand

1968

Theo Köhler passed the company on to his granddaughter, Sigrid Gottstein. At the time, she and her husband Josef Gottstein wondered why there weren’t more well-designed, premium-quality toys on the market for children. They therefore decided to establish an independent development and production company for toys under the old corporate shell of H. Scharrer & Koch. The “sigikid” brand was created as a neologism from the shortened version of the owner’s first name, “Sigi” and the English word “kid”.
The first toys the company produced itself were little wooden cars with wooden beads for wheels. Their simple yet ingenious design made them an instant hit. Inspired by her experience with her own two children, Sigrid Gottstein came up with the idea of offering a stylish fashion line for children that could also stand up to everyday use – and the “sigikid” brand was born. This was the company’s first foray into textiles.
In the wake the post-war material crisis, there was also a desire to make productive use of fabric cuts left over from the manufacture of children’s clothing. This was how the company began producing small stuffed animals. This marked the birth of our range of textile baby gifts.

1970

was the first year stuffed animals were presented at the Frankfurt Fair. The enterprising couple blazed a new trail here as well: Instead of producing animals with the most realistic natural features, the company focused on a child-friendly shape that was both appealing to the eye and soft to the touch.

From wooden toys to women’s fashion to collectible dolls

1972

Just a few years after the company had changed hands, its offices in Bayreuth became too small. The business moved to Mistelbach, a small community about five kilometres outside of Bayreuth, on the border to what is known as “Franconian Switzerland”. Once again the company’s growth required another major expansion of its buildings.

1980

The brand became more and more popular throughout the 80s. A wide range of products including women’s fashion, collectible bears and art dolls were added to the assortment. At the time, sigikid had a range of over 4,000 items, all of which were produced in its own factories in Germany and neighbouring countries.

1990

In the 90s sigikid developed into a designer brand for women and children. sigikid also made a name for itself as the manufacturer of collectible vinyl dolls for a broad market. The company worked with renowned porcelain artists and doll makers to produce these items in small series.

1998

In the late 90s the company’s management changed hands once again. Today Eva and Axel Gottstein are the company’s fourth generation of family management. Under this new leadership, business decisions focused more on children as a target group.

Lifestyle worlds designed by sigikid

2005+

Although production was the focus at first, creative design and product development have been at the heart of the company’s philosophy since 2005. sigikid products have a unique, recognizable design signature. The brand offers a young, design-oriented lifestyle world for children aged 0 to 6. Thanks to the company’s branches, its products are now available not only in Europe, but also in the United States and Asia and around the world.

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