Ecco is a Danish shoe company that has grown into one of the world’s most prominent shoe manufacturers with a turnover of more than £400 million. Established in 1963, Ecco or Ecco shoes as we call them was founded by brothers Karl and Birte Toosbury. Karl was an entrepreneur who aspired to one day own his own shoe workshop and run his own business.
Karl had been in the shoe maker trade for quite some time before beginning his Ecco venture. He gradually worked his up through the ranks until his early 30's where he began managing a Copenhagen shoe factory, which was not Ecco.
Soon after finding his feet and acquiring valuable experience in the shoe business, Karl and his family moved to the west of Denmark and acquired an empty factory. Karls dreams were starting to fall into place. In April 1963, Ecco shoes was established for 158,000 Danish Kroner and by the end of 1963 Karl had 74 employees and a clear plan for his progression.
The very first designs produced by Ecco had very pointy toes and rather skinny heels, this initial range was named 'Venus'. By the late 60s/early 70s a large change happened in the footwear and apparel market. The arrival of synthetic fabrics and the trend of knee high tight boots. Ecco jumped at this opportunity and started producing LongLegs for women.
In 1978 Ecco launched a new range designed by Ejnar Truelsen called the 'Ecco Joke'. Ecco Joke was a large range or both men and women’s footwear featuring variations of the original moccasin style. Made from a very soft skin, Ecco Joke fast became Eccos first classic shoe. One of the great novelties of the Joke range was the Ecco logo being moulded into the sole. This was the first shoe in the world to have done this, and created fantastic marketing opportunity as customers loved how the soles left the brand logo in sand and soil. Something that has today become widely used among many large brands.
Ecco celebrates being the only shoe company to physically own and control its own production tanneries and retail facilities. This ensured Ecco had full control over the production and quality of its products at all times. Eccos objective was to become the leading premium choice for shoes and leather goods.
Ecco naturally expanded its manufacturing and encompassed 7 key areas around the world. Starting with Portugal in 1984, Ecco employed 1,250 staff. Indonesia in 1990 employing 7,850, Tailand in 1993 employing 3,250, Slovakia in 1998 employing 925. Finally the Netherlands in 2001 employing 200 staff, China in 2005 employing 3,450 and Vietnam in 2016 employing 1,200.
In 1996 Ecco had moved onto producing quality golf shoes and its range continued to increase.
Present day and Ecco products are sold in 99 countries and from over 2250 retail shops. Ecco predominantly product footwear, but also small leather goods and accessories.