In 1931, a 25-year-old German entrepreneur named Eugen Hollaender came to Apeldoorn. He started his own business in the production and sale of razors: the Apeldoorn Messenfabriek (knife factory), or Amefa for short. In the 1940s and 1950s, the focus shifted to what Amefa still produces for the world market today: cutlery and other kitchen utensils.
Much has changed at Amefa since then, but it continues to be an Apeldoorn family business, currently led by third-generation Hollaenders. What is unique is that Apeldoorn has a street named after the founder, Eugen Hollaender, in the Amefa Quarter, the original location from 1931 that now bears the company’s name.
Two hundred professionals work at Amefa, 30 of which are based in the main office in Apeldoorn. The largest Amefa branch, with 80 professionals, is situated in France. In 2005, the French cutlery and pan manufacturer Couzon/Cuisinox was taken over to become a part of Amefa. Other offices and sales offices are situated in the UK, China (2), Hong Kong, Germany, Poland and, since 2017, the USA, the result of organic growth or take-overs.
About 75% of the range comprises cutlery of various local and international brands and other related items such as other table products (crockery and glassware) and kitchen utensils (kitchen knives and pans). Several of Amefa’s customers want to have a complete range of table and kitchen products. The cutlery is designed chiefly in-house, and the production takes place across the globe. Amefa’s customers can be found all over the world. Although their market share in the Netherlands is significant, it is still only a relatively small 10% of the total group revenue. Most of their products are sold in Europe. The US and Asia are up-and-coming markets where Amefa is looking to expand.
The focus lies on increasing direct sales to consumers through online retail channels. About 2/3 of the annual revenue is generated here; the remaining 1/3 comes from the restaurant, hotel and catering sector and the institutional market. The cutlery, table accessories, kitchen knives and pans are sold under their brand name, Amefa, and the Richardson Sheffield, Cuisinox, Sabatier Trompette and Lou Laguiole brands. Deliveries of customer brands are also made to national and international retailers and hotel chains, shipping companies, and airlines.
The strategy for the coming years is to consolidate the market in countries with offices or a current export base. In the most crucial market regions, the aim is always to have a local presence through partners or company offices to meet local needs. For new markets, the business works closely with distributors and sometimes directly with larger retailers. These partnerships vary per distribution channel and per country.
Amefa | Peter Hollaender