Mr. Erlhöfer, congratulations on Louvrette's Golden anniversary. Where does the name Louvrette actually come from?
Thank you. Well, my father founded the company in 1964, together with his brother. Louvrette was then built up and led through good times and hard times until 2006, when the company was passed over to me. This means a great expression of trust and I get up every morning to fulfil that trust as I continue to develop the company.
The question of the name Louvrette is often asked and I can tell you a short story to explain the origin...
During the early 60s in Switzerland, my father worked as a toolmaker and design engineer. One day a customer commissioned him to develop a plastic powder compact - these had previously been made from metal. But my father was unsuccessful in finding a producer for the item.
Then, when they spent Christmas with the family, my father and his brother (who was also a toolmaker) decided that they would make an offer for manufacturing the compact and produce it in the garage with a used injection moulding machine. The customer – whose company was called Louvre S.A. – agreed and suggested that my father and his brother should name the new company Louvrette, meaning "Little Louvre".
The company has now been operating successfully on the market for 50 years. To what do you attribute this success?
I think that a key factor in our success and the established fact that Louvrette became a leading provider of design-oriented plastic packaging for facial and body care products is the result of the whole team which participates with passion.
Well, we have continued together for over five decades now and have never lost our focus – our focus on the market for high-quality cosmetic plastic packaging, our focus on our customers, on consistently high quality, on reliability and service. In addition to that, we have managed over this long history to consistently adapt to market changes and growing customer needs.
Your product range today is very different to the early days...
Oh yes, you're right, it is very different. Over the first 30 years, Louvrette explicitly developed and manufactured powder compacts. This is now only a small part of our business.
Since the mid-90s, we have been manufacturing thick-walled cream jars, and today our main turnover consists of jars, airless dispensers and bottles. We offer a variety of standard shapes that we decorate and refine individually according to customer requirements.
Of course, we also manufacture specific products for our customers and build the tools for them in our own toolmaking department. Since the foundation of the company, we do all this at our location in Kierspe and therefore we provide quality that is 100% 'Made in Germany'.
You mention "Made in Germany". Do you see a future for manufacturing at this location?
That's for sure! Our main market is in Europe and it certainly makes sense to produce close to the customer, so that the delivery route is kept short. I see it like this: If you do it properly, you can produce very well in Germany and be competitive, or being competitive because of it. With a well-qualified and motivated team, as well as sensible automation, we are absolutely competitive in Germany, where in my view,we have the best infrastructure in the world. Together with consistently high quality and innovative products, we should be able to offer our customers the best cost-effectiveness ratio.
We believe in our location and that is the reason for our current expansion. We are extending production, warehousing facilities and important operational areas which will allow us to optimise our internal processes in order to be more efficient. Furthermore, the extension provides Louvrette with the necessary space for further growth. I see enormous potential for Louvrette both now and in the future.
What priorities will Louvrette be setting during the coming years?
Our strategy is clearly defined to continue to concentrate on our known market segment and look closely at other opportunities. For example, supply markets and sub-segments in which we are not yet active today. I'm very sorry that I cannot go into detail at this point, as we would like to surprise you and our customers.
For fifty years, Louvrette design & packaging has focused on developing and producing high quality plastic packaging for the cosmetic and beauty industry. Today Louvrette is a European leader in design-oriented plastic packaging for facial and body care products. Continuous investment in optimization and automation of production processes means that today, more than ever before, Louvrette remains competitive and minimizes customers' costs.