Meet our Company

Bernd Hummel Holding GmbH is a family-owned and owner-run company. We look to the future while bringing together tradition, business experience and a flair for trends. Our business operations are based in Pirmasens in Southwest Palatinate, know as Germany’s „shoe city.“

Bernd Hummel GmbH has been the largest international licensee for KangaROOS since 1981. This fashionable athletics brand was one of the first on the sneaker market. Now one of the top ten athletic shoe brands in Germany, it has a name recognition factor of more than 60%. KangaROOS are sold in 23 European countries.

In 2003, the company expanded its product line with the purchase of the brand flip*flop, and founded flip*flop GmbH. The „flip*flop Original“ makes the world’s simplest shoe a fashion item and a modern classic. flip*flop has a recognition factor of over 90% among women.

The company Bernd Hummel Immobilienprojekte GmbH has revitalized a number of historic properties in the Southwest Palatinate region. Two historic shoe factories, Neuffer am Park and P-Town-Lofts , now have a new purpose. The Weisse Kaserne has also been renovated for future use.

Hummel&Hummel Schuhmanufaktur GmbH’s high-quality shoes are manufactured and „Made in Germany“ in Münchweiler, near Pirmasens. It is very important to us that we continue the shoemaking tradition of our family and the town. This is also in line with the increasing demand for sustainability and regional production.

Hong-Kong based United Brands International Ltd. handles the company’s Asian exports.

 

Our Company on TV

 

The documentary can be viewed online by 24. Juli 2019 at ARD Mediathek.

German TV station SWR broadcasted a feature about our company in the series ‚Made in Südwest‘.  The 3o-minutes documentary delivers insight into our work, our commitment, and our challenges.  The scenes were shot at our headquarter Neuffer am Park and our shoe factory Hummel&Hummel; SWR’s team also accompanied us to a flip*flop photo shoot and a KangaROOS sneaker release event in Warsaw.

We are Family

We understand each other without words, communicate on the same level, and make decisions with an eye to the future – that’s the advantage of a family business! Our potential for growth stems from our respect for continuity and confidence to go in new directions.

A short history of our family and the business:

Bernd D. Hummel has been a success in the international shoe business since 1968. At age 20, he completed his training in sales and then the technical aspects of shoe manufacturing at his father-in-law’s factory. In 1972, he took over the factory and began producing his own line of shoes, called „Die Brummer von Hummel kommen.“ Beginning in 1976, the shoes were manufactured in other European countries. After he acquired the KangaROOS brand and entered the athletic shoe market, most manufacturing moved to Asia. Hummel was driven by a passion for shoes, a love for what he made, and that special feeling of creating something and being able to hold a finished product in his hand and the end of the day. It’s no wonder that he decided to buck the international trend and bring manufacturing back to Germany with the Hummel&Hummel factory.

 

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His two daughters Anne-Katrin and Julia were „brought up in a shoebox,“ as they say in the „shoe city“ of Pirmasens. Their grandparents and great-grandparents worked in the shoe industry as stitchers and piecers. Their grandfather had his own small factory and later a shoe store. Anne-Katrin Hummel has been on the board of Bernd Hummel Holding since 2006, and Julia Hummel since 2008. Both found their way to the family business through their passion for flip*flop: Anne-Katrin worked as an architect in Berlin and developed an interior design concept for the brand, and Julia opened a flip*flop store while living in Amsterdam.

While Bernd Hummel and his daughters put their passion into the shoes, his wife Gabriele Hummel makes sure that everything runs smoothly in the family’s other business, the renovation and management of historic buildings.

In addition to their passion for shoes, the family loves art, architecture, and traveling together, and has a close connection to the Palatinate region.

« I've gained a wide range of experience over more than 40 years of shoe production. It's wonderful to create new, forward-looking concepts by combining my expertise with the new things that I learn every day. »

Bernd D. Hummel, Managing Partner Bernd Hummel Holding GmbH

Company History

1976

Bernd D. Hummel founds Bernd Hummel GmbH in Pirmasens. Together with a partner, he develops fashionable footwear for young women. Manufacturing takes place in Hungary and Bulgaria.

1980

Production moves to Italy. Sales are focused on the USA and Canada.

1981

Bernd D. Hummel discovers the young brand KangaROOS in the USA, and sets up sales and licensing for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

1985

KangaROOS is established as one of the top 10 athletic shoe brands in Germany.

1990

Acquisition and gradual restoration of the landmark industrial site "Neuffer am Park", a former shoe factory in Pirmasens.

1991

Bernd Hummel GmbH company headquarters move to Neuffer am Park. BDH-Immobilien GmbH is founded (known as Bernd Hummel Immobilienprojekte GmbH as of 1999), which specializes in converting historic industrial and military sites.

1994

The first art exhibition is held in the Neuffer am Park art gallery, with works from A. R. Penck.

1997

Purchase of the Weisse Kaserne property in Zweibrücken, a former military area, and start of renovations.

1998

Together with his old schoolmate, radio expert Hermann Stümpert, Bernd D. Hummel starts up “Rockland Radio,” the first rock station in Germany, based in Neuffer am Park. Other partners include musicians like Klaus Lage and Peter Maffay. Bernd D. Hummel is a founding partner and serves as managing director until 2001.

1999

United Brands International Ltd. is founded, based in Hong Kong. UBI is a 100% subsidiary of Bernd Hummel GmbH and handles export business from Asia. Development of the former Salamander shoe factory in Pirmasens. The 6,500-square-meter factory is converted into the residential P-Town-Lofts.

2001

The company celebrates its 25th anniversary with its most successful year of business.

2003

Purchase of the brand flip*flop. The label turns flip-flops into stylish classics. Among women, flip*flop has a recognition factor of more than 90%.

2004

In 1997, Ernst & Young launches the competition "Entrepreneur of the Year" to honor exceptional business leaders in Germany. Bernd Hummel GmbH makes it into the final round as one of the most successful companies in Germany, along with the company Sixt AG. Bernd Hummel GmbH is also a finalist in 2005 and 2006.

2006

New 2,050-square-meter offices and showrooms are completed after a yearlong construction period and an investment of almost EUR 2 million. Guests at the opening party include Hans-Arthur Bauckhage, Minister of Economic Affairs. For the interior design of the KangaROOS head office, Bernd Hummel GmbH wins the Association of German Architects Prize (Rhineland-Palatinate), the IFI Design Excellence Award in the Corporate Interiors category (2007, Busan, Korea) and the Association of German Interior Architects/Designers prize (2008).

2007

Anne-Katrin Hummel and Julia Hummel are named Managing Directors in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

2009

30th anniversary of Bernd Hummel. The KangaROOS licensing agreement is extended.

2011

The Hummel&Hummel GmbH shoe factory is founded for the production of exclusive leather shoes, crafted from the highest-quality materials – 100% Made in Germany.

2014

KangaROOS wins the German Federal Association of the Footwear and Leather Goods Industry's "German Shoe Award" for their collaboration with VIOVIO, the rapper CRO's streetwear label.

2016

Minister-President Malu Dreyer rewards Bernd D. Hummel with the Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate for his entrepreneurial, social, and cultural engagement.

1976

Bernd D. Hummel founds Bernd Hummel GmbH in Pirmasens. Together with a partner, he develops fashionable footwear for young women. Manufacturing takes place in Hungary and Bulgaria.

1980

Production moves to Italy. Sales are focused on the USA and Canada.

1981

Bernd D. Hummel discovers the young brand KangaROOS in the USA, and sets up sales and licensing for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

1985

KangaROOS is established as one of the top 10 athletic shoe brands in Germany.

1990

Acquisition and gradual restoration of the landmark industrial site "Neuffer am Park", a former shoe factory in Pirmasens.
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1991

Bernd Hummel GmbH company headquarters move to Neuffer am Park. BDH-Immobilien GmbH is founded (known as Bernd Hummel Immobilienprojekte GmbH as of 1999), which specializes in converting historic industrial and military sites.

1994

The first art exhibition is held in the Neuffer am Park art gallery, with works from A. R. Penck.

1997

Purchase of the Weisse Kaserne property in Zweibrücken, a former military area, and start of renovations.

1998

Together with his old schoolmate, radio expert Hermann Stümpert, Bernd D. Hummel starts up “Rockland Radio,” the first rock station in Germany, based in Neuffer am Park. Other partners include musicians like Klaus Lage and Peter Maffay. Bernd D. Hummel is a founding partner and serves as managing director until 2001.

1999

United Brands International Ltd. is founded, based in Hong Kong. UBI is a 100% subsidiary of Bernd Hummel GmbH and handles export business from Asia. Development of the former Salamander shoe factory in Pirmasens. The 6,500-square-meter factory is converted into the residential P-Town-Lofts.

2001

The company celebrates its 25th anniversary with its most successful year of business.

2003

Purchase of the brand flip*flop. The label turns flip-flops into stylish classics. Among women, flip*flop has a recognition factor of more than 90%.

2004

In 1997, Ernst & Young launches the competition "Entrepreneur of the Year" to honor exceptional business leaders in Germany. Bernd Hummel GmbH makes it into the final round as one of the most successful companies in Germany, along with the company Sixt AG. Bernd Hummel GmbH is also a finalist in 2005 and 2006.

2006

New 2,050-square-meter offices and showrooms are completed after a yearlong construction period and an investment of almost EUR 2 million. Guests at the opening party include Hans-Arthur Bauckhage, Minister of Economic Affairs. For the interior design of the KangaROOS head office, Bernd Hummel GmbH wins the Association of German Architects Prize (Rhineland-Palatinate), the IFI Design Excellence Award in the Corporate Interiors category (2007, Busan, Korea) and the Association of German Interior Architects/Designers prize (2008).

2007

Anne-Katrin Hummel and Julia Hummel are named Managing Directors in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

2009

30th anniversary of Bernd Hummel. The KangaROOS licensing agreement is extended.

2011

The Hummel&Hummel GmbH shoe factory is founded for the production of exclusive leather shoes, crafted from the highest-quality materials – 100% Made in Germany.

2014

KangaROOS wins the German Federal Association of the Footwear and Leather Goods Industry's "German Shoe Award" for their collaboration with VIOVIO, the rapper CRO's streetwear label.

2016

Minister-President Malu Dreyer rewards Bernd D. Hummel with the Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate for his entrepreneurial, social, and cultural engagement.

A city with a tradition in shoes

Our business is based in our hometown of Pirmasens in the southwestern Palatinate region, known as the German „shoe city.“ Pirmasens still has greatest concentration of footwear expertise in Germany.

History of the city: Landgrave Ludwig IX of Hesse-Darmstadt took up residence in 1741 and set up a garrison and a well-funded Grenadier Guards regiment. His death marked the end of the residence and the garrison, depriving the population of its livelihood. Out of necessity, women sold shoes made from leftover leather and uniforms in the surrounding area.

After a rocky start, the industrial revolution led to an economic upswing. Pirmasens became internationally known for its shoes. The city’s ascent was briefly interrupted by the Second World War, which destroyed seventy-five percent of the city. Pirmasens only began to face serious economic troubles and increasing unemployment after production moved to Southern Europe in the 1960s, and later to Asia.

New product lines also developed as part of the shoe industry, including shoe glue, plastic products, and manufacturing machinery and production equipment. Today, Pirmasens is still a hotbed of shoe production expertise, taught at the German College of Footwear Design and Technology, the University of Applied Sciences, and the International Shoe Competence Center (ISC).

Neuffer am Park Headquarters

Our company headquarters are located in Neuffer am Park, a historic industrial monument in Pirmasens dating back to 1894. The family has owned the former shoe factory since 1990. The sustainable restoration includes a medical center, art gallery, restaurants, and commercial rental space, and serves as an exemplary pilot project for renovation in the region.

We are privileged to be able to run our modern company in a former shoe factory. The revitalized building harks back to the shoemaking tradition of both our family and the region.

The space combines modernity and tradition: Landmark-protected 18th-century facades flank modern offices flooded with light. Our 2,050-square-meter offices and exhibition space were awarded the Rhineland-Palatinate Association of German Architects Prize, the IFI Design Excellence Award in the Corporate Interiors category (Busan, Korea, 2007) and the Association of German Interior Architects/Designers prize (2008).

Impressions