Ida Pauline Bäurlin is born on the 7th of July in Aarau, Switzerland. Following the early death of her father, Paulines mother Luise single-handedly raises the eight children. After finishing school, Pauline insists on working as a teacher. She finds a job in Aarburg and meets the widower Johann Jakob Zimmerli whom she marries in 1859. From this moment on she is responsible for the care of six step children and her own son Oscar.
The story of the company Zimmerli begins with Isaac William Lambs invention of the manually run single-needle knitting machine. When he receives a gold medal at the World Expo in Paris in 1867, he doesnt have a clue that his invention will dictate the future destiny of the Zimmerli family tucked away in the little Swiss city of Aarburg.
Johann Jakob Zimmerlis dyehouse goes bankrupt. Whilst seeking gainful employment he learns through the newspapers about the new knitting machine. He sends his wife Pauline to Basel where she gets training from one of Lambs agents. Following some initial difficulty, Pauline Zimmerli quickly learns how to knit the finest hosiery and mens socks. She very quickly develops into a proficient business woman who knows how to sell her products way beyond the regional boundaries
Very soon a number of employees have to be hired. Fired by success and the desire for new products, Pauline invents a new knitting machine and sends her plans and ideas to the USA. That very same year, the first two-needle knitting machine is delivered to Switzerland and Pauline begins to manufacture ribbed fabric and underwear. With this she lays down the foundation for an entire industry.
Together with her sons Adolf and Oscar, Pauline step by step expands the company. They risk taking their business abroad, and find an agent in Paris. Already in 1878, one can buy Aarburg fabricated knitwear at the Parisian department store Le Bon Marché From 1880 on, Oscar travels often through the USA and once around the world, from which he returnes with full order books.
Adolf Zimmerli sells his share in the company to his step brother Oscar. In order to secure the prosperity of the business, Oscar founds a limited company with a one million Franc capital. One year later, a new solely-owned factory is opened in Aarburg.
Following a gold medal award for Zimmerli fine knitteds at the World Expo in 1889, Zimmerli goes on to win the Grand Prix as well as another golden award.
As a result of their ongoing success, the factory in Aarburg is significantly extended. A further highlight is the winning of a third gold medal at a World Expo, this time in Brussels.
Zimmerli is able to quickly recover from the difficult economic times in the aftermath of the First World War. The company now starts moving in a new direction, stays true however to the s trategies of the founding family: Production of very fine underwear for men and women.
Whilst in the meantime, production companies have been set up in France, Zimmerli takes over a production site in Coldrerio in the Swiss Canton of Tessin. Till today, highly qualified seamstresses continue to produce the world's finest underwear there.
During a period of structural change, the cousins Walter and Hans Borner buy the production company Zimmerli Coldrerio SA, and in 1997 also the company Zimmerli Textil AG. They revive the original entrepreneurial spirit and concentrate on the specialities and tradition associated with Zimmerli of Switzerland: Luxury underwear made of the noblest fibres with the finest manufacturing.
After the production of women's underwear had lain dormant for decades, Zimmerli launch their new range, Donna. From the moment go, the range is extremely well received by the international clientele and very quickly developed into a strong segment of the Zimmerli offer.
Following years of intensive fostering, the traditional brand shines in its original brightness. In the segment of exclusive men's underwear, Zimmerli is now, more than ever the market leader and number one in the world. The reward for the tireless efforts comes in the form of a nomination for the renowned Brand Excellence Swiss Trophy.
Walter Borner wins the nationally highly regarded Swiss Entrepreneur of the Year contest. In his acceptance speech he dedicates this success to his associates, who have collaborated with him over the previous 10 years in writing this success story.
Zimmerli sails towards a promising future. To secure the long term succession and the independence of the company, Von Nordeck International acquires the majority of shares. This keeps Zimmerli family owned. Walter Borner, as designated Delegate to the Board of Directors will continue to contribute to the company's fortunes in forthcoming years. Zimmerli currently serves around 750 clients in 50 countries.
With the opening of its first flagship store on Rue St. Honoré in Paris and the shop-in-shop in KaDeWe Berlin, Zimmerli heralds their forward strategy. This exceptional brand presence in the best locations all over the world raises brand awareness. The space concept created by renowned interior designer Iria Degen is introduced everywhere. It sets the stage for a daywear collection designed to be timeless, for mono-brand boutiques and shop-in-shops.
Traditional Swiss brand Zimmerli of Switzerland is engaged in a repositioning. One reason is to consolidate its core brand values; the other, to get fit for the future by pursuing a growth strategy. The visible part is the new image that reflects the brand’s established values and positions the Aarburg-based company in the contemporary age. Zimmerli achieved the highest ever sales in its history this year. This shop concept is implemented on the new mono-brand spaces at Jelmoli Zurich, in the Moscow Boutique and the Taipei Boutique.
In the course of its distribution expansion Zimmerli increases their international presence in the best locations of the world. After the opening of the second boutique in Moscow, Boutique Interlaken opens its doors and with this taps into an important tourist hub in its home market of Switzerland. These are followed almost simultaneously by the grand openings of boutiques in Salzburg and Macau. The former Portuguese colony now enjoys an enormous appeal especially with the Chinese population. The opening of the 10th mono-brand space in October in Basel is another milestone in the international expansion. Zimmerli thereby raises brand awareness and opens up important customer groups.
Shooting star Julian Zigerli and the traditional brand Zimmerli of Switzerland present their first collaborative Capsule Collection entitled ‘Sunny side up’. Day- and loungewear items combine refreshing prints, young models and the highest quality of material that characterises the excellence of both brands.
The two departments of cutting and sewing that used to be geographically separated, have now been merged into one space to increase productivity. Now all employees in Mendrisio work hand in hand.
At the beginning of the year, Zimmerli and two of its employees founded a subsidiary, Zimmerli Shanghai Trading Co. Ltd, in Shanghai, China. Shortly after that, the first boutique opend on Plaza 66 in Shanghai. The same year, a number of other boutiques opened their doors in Mendrisio, Berlin and at Harrods (Shop-in-Shop) in London.
Zimmerli enhances its positioning in the luxury brand segment. The new images intensify the emotional side of that Zimmerli-Moment, embedded in an aura of luxurious Switzerland.