With the goal of alleviating the poverty suffered by Seiffen’s craftsmen after the end of the First World War, the “Wirtschaftsverband der Holz- und Spielwarenverfertiger” (“Trade Association of Wooden Article and Toy Manufacturers”) was founded on March 23, 1919. Already by autumn of that same year, the association made its debut appearance at the Leipzig Trade Fair – to great success.
Rampant electrification and the rapid spread of electric motors considerably increased workshop productivity in the region, creating a better standard of living for the area’s craftmaker families.
Now even large department store companies were taking notice of the association’s extensive product range. The association additionally tapped into Germany’s entire trading area by engaging numerous representatives.
In the course of the sweeping changes to the system, the trade association was converted into a cooperative in 1949. We have officially gone by the name of DREGENO Cooperative of Woodturners, Sculptors and Manufacturers of Wooden Articles and Toys, or just DREGENO for short, since 1950.
Designed by Hans Reichelt, our trademark – the fir and leaping deer – was ultimately registered in July 1954. Hans Reichelt also created our very first catalogue. Over the course of the years that followed, DREGENO catalogues became an important selling tool for the industry.
After the political upheaval and reunification of Germany, DREGENO became a “Registered Cooperative Society”. A board of directors was named and an executive committee appointed. Having already served as Deputy General Manager since 1987, Helfried Dietel now took the helm as Executive Director of the cooperative’s management.
Declining wholesale figures for our products immediately post-reunification became the impetus that led us to establish our own retail trade system to better target new consumer groups.
Between 1990 and 1992 we opened three shops in Seiffen: the “Spielzeugschachtel” (“Toy Box”), “Handwerksmarkt” (“Handcraft Outlet”) and “Alte Handelshaus” (“Old Trading House”).
We also developed our trade fair presence over the subsequent years: In addition to the fairs in Leipzig, Nuremberg and Frankfurt, we’re also represented at international fairs in the USA and Japan. We’ve been working with sales representatives in the USA since 1993.
After doubling our annual sales by 2000, we solved the logistic problems such rapid growth caused by building a new production hall in 2001. One year later, we held our first, very successful in-house fair on these premises.
The global economic turmoil of recent years and associated radically changed purchasing patterns have halted the continuous upward trend of the preceding decades.
Yet the cooperative and its members have adjusted to these new challenges and look to successfully carrying their rich Erzgebirge tradition on into the future.