The traditional and exclusive shoe brand «Kandahar» has been acquired by the Thurgau-based family of entrepreneurs Karl Müller (kybun & Joya).
The name «Kandahar» The name has stood for exclusive quality, craftsmanship and Swissness since 1932. Company founder Fritz von Allmen began by manufacturing ski boots. His breakthrough came with the après-ski boot developed in 1945. The light and comfortable winter shoes with an eye-catching look spread quickly. Among the most prominent "Kandahar" wearers was Charlie Chaplin. At its peak, the family business produced 15,000 pairs of shoes a year in its shoe factory in the Bernese Oberland with a workforce of 30. Sales figures have slumped in recent years, partly because of the increasingly milder winters and the Corona situation. In July, the traditional company was also hit by flooding. As a result of all this, company owner Manuel von Allmen came to the conclusion that he, as a small family business, could no longer meet these challenges single-handedly. However, it is very important to him that the cult brand is preserved.
The Müller family of entrepreneurs backs «Kandahar»
The two Thurgau entrepreneurs Karl Müller III and Karl Müller IV - father and son - learned through a mutual acquaintance that the shoe brand «Kandahar» was looking for a successor solution. «This was a few months ago,» Karl Müller IV recalls. On their way back to Roggwil from the kybun production site in Sennwald, the two decided to get in touch with the family business and make an offer to take over the brand rights. «As so often in our lives, it was a gut decision,» explains Karl Müller III. It is important to him and his son that the renowned brand does not disappear from the market and remains in the hands of a Swiss family business. A courageous decision, especially as the traditional brand is currently struggling with economic challenges. Karl Müller IV comments: «We believe in the sustainable success of the Kandahar brand. Now it's a matter of first stabilising it and then continue developing and re-establishing the brand.» The focus is on quality, reliability and the «Swiss Made» brand.
«Kandahar» will remain «Swiss Made»
In the future, the «Kandahar» shoes will be produced in the kybun's established manufacturing facility in Sennwald. "The high-quality shoes require a lot of manual work. To remain competitive, we automate individual processes wherever possible. This is the only way we can produce sustainably in Switzerland," explains Karl Müller III. As soon as possible, the current kybun team will take over the production of the «Kandahar» shoes. In the medium and long term, it is planned to create additional jobs in Sennwald. "We see a steadily growing interest in genuine Swiss shoes at home and abroad," says Karl Müller IV. The first model of the new «Kandahar» era is expected to be launched in autumn 2022. Manuel von Allmen, the previous producer of the «Kandahar» shoes, is pleased that the brand's history of tradition will continue: «In my view, the Müller family of entrepreneurs offers the best chance for Kandahar to survive. I feel a great sense of assurance. In addition, the mutual respect is strong.» The two parties have agreed not to disclose the sales price.