FROM OBERSTAUFEN INTO THE WIDE WORLD
The story of Blue Seven began in the 1920s, in a small town named Ried, located in the middle of a peaceful nature park, where the Obermeyer family business was founded.
We have now been satisfying customers for more than 90 years with high-quality fashion at commercial prices, inspired by the latest national and international fashion trends.
1922 – 1939
In the Bavarian health village near the Austrian border, Mina Obermeyer, an immigrant from East Prussia, recognized the emerging demand for fabrics, haberdashery, and clothing and identified an opportunity to support her family’s income. The combination of her enthusiasm and a talent for the evolving styles in the fashion world proved to be a successful formula.
The business, which had started in 1924 as a small retail shop offering sporting goods, haberdashery, and stylish everyday wear, continued to evolve. Only a few years later, Mina moved with her husband Fritz H. Obermeyer and with her two sons Klaus and Heinrich to a larger residence in Kalzhofen near Oberstaufen.
After moving to the spa town located only a few kilometers away, a larger room at the private estate of the Obermeyer family has served as a salesroom. The family home at Immenstädter Straße 6, the meantime more than 300 years old, is still in possession of the family, but today it is no longer used as a private house, but rather serves as an office building for H. Obermeyer GmbH & Co. KG.
In the 1930s, the relocation to Oberstaufen turned out to be a career choice, as the upcoming market town increasingly attracts more and more tourism attention, which had a positive effect on both the growth and turnover of the retail trade.
Very harsh and tough times followed for the family. Mina Obermeyer was Jewish and married to the painter Fritz Obermeyer, who was considered an “Aryan” according to the Nuremberg Race Laws. Although this circumstance prevented Mina and her two sons from being deported to an extermination camp, the business was closed by the National Socialists during this time. For the time being, her husband Fritz was also no longer allowed to pursue his profession as an art painter. The Obermeyer family secured their livelihood through their modest farm.
In the early post-war years, times were much better again for the Obermeyer family, since not only the business flourished, but also the family. Mina and her husband Fritz’s sons grew up and began to get a feel for the world of work. After graduating as an aircraft engineer, Klaus Obermeyer decided to expatriate to America at the age of 27, where he worked for the ski school of his friend, Friedl Pfeiffer, a ski racer from Austria. This job resulted in the founding of Sport Obermeyer in 1947.
Whilst one son demonstrated his skills and talent for winter fashion in the States, Heinrich’s interest in the family company grew steadily. He supported his mother in the day-to-day work and together they started from scratch. Heinrich Obermeyer saw an opportunity, seized it, and convinced his mother that the time had come to evolve. Through the successful cooperation of the mother and son duo and the development of a new, dynamic, future-oriented business policy, they made an undeniable name for themselves in the branch.
1949 – Foundation of Blue Seven
On the recommendation of his family, Heinrich took over the family business in 1949 and married his long-time confidante Cilly Kirchmann in 1958, who from the very beginning shared her husband’s enthusiasm for the fashion industry. Over the coming years, the retail business in Oberstaufen developed into a chain of retail shops with around 27 branches in the region of Allgäu, Lake Constance, and the Black Forest. The company’s production took place in the Swabian Alb, in Italy, in Turkey, in Greece, and from the late 1960s onwards also in India and Hong Kong.
In the 1970s, the Blue Seven label was finally introduced, exclusively for professional retailers.
The 1970s were a time of further development and new ideas. Together with the Austrian Otto Burger, Heinrich Obermeyer founded another company, Obermeyer & Burger Textilhandelsgesellschaft GmbH – a general distributor for Austria, near Bregenz. Both managing directors appreciated the good cooperation not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level, and a long-lasting friendship was developed.
In the new decade, the H. Obermeyer & Co. Group became an outstanding family business, especially in Germany. In addition, the company transformed itself into an internationally operating import enterprise in the clothing segment with business connections reaching up to China. In 1984, Cilly and Heinrich Obermeyer decided to sell the retail chain to a long-time business friend and focused on the import and export business with extraordinarily successful global activities.
1987 – 2022
Michael Obermeyer, the grandson of the company’s founder Mina Obermeyer, took over the function of chairman-manager in 1987 and so the business was continued in the third generation. In the coming years, a large part of the production was relocated from Europe to Asia and, in addition, the company’s own quality control offices were established.
Mr. Obermeyer was very committed to complying with binding regulations that contribute to improving social standards in the international value chain. He decided to introduce various compliance measures such as the amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative and to join the International Accord. To further promote the development of the firm on a national and international level, the construction of both additional warehouses and office buildings was initiated. In addition, order offices were opened in Europe. He founded the subsidiary “Fashion Highlight” in Hong Kong and further expanded the design department in Oberstaufen.
After returning from the States, where Andreas Burger completed his Bachelor’s degree in “International Trade & Marketing for the Fashion Industries”, the son of Heinrich Obermeyer’s former business partner started his professional career as International Sales Manager at Blue Seven. In the years to come, the cooperation between the younger generation developed so successfully that Mr. Burger became an affiliated shareholder and managing director in 2011.
Since February 2022
A new era began when Andreas Burger, a long-standing shareholder of H. Obermeyer GmbH & Co. KG, took over all shares as part of a forward-looking succession plan on 1 February 2022, thus ensuring the continuation of the Blue Seven success story.
Although the company was not taken over by another member of the Obermeyer family and so it cannot be spoken of as a direct takeover in the 4th generation, it was important to Michael Obermeyer that it was not handed over to completely unfamiliar hands. The continuation by Andreas Burger, who has worked very closely with Michael Obermeyer since the 1990s, is, therefore, an internal takeover. Influenced by the long-standing professional association as well as the friendship between the two families, Andreas Burger is, with his takeover, ensuring the continuity of the family business.