In October of 2015 the Steinbach Nutcracker company filed for bankruptcy in Germany. Many of our customers have asked us what this means to the future of the Steinbach brand. We’ve prepared this blog post to share with you what we know, what we don’t know, and how this will affect the thousands of Steinbach collectors here and abroad.
What we know:
While we don’t know everything that lead to the financial ruin of Steinbach, we do know that a decline in sales and an increase in wages played a major role in the demise. Karla told Hildesheimer Allegemeine newspaper, a German publication, that prior to the minimum wage the majority of her employees made between 5.50 and 6.50 euros per hour ($6.25 – $7.40). The new law, which went into effect on January 1 of 2015, required the company to pay its workers a minimum of 8.50 euros an hour ($9.65). This was an increase of 27%.
The extra money needed to pay employees made it harder and harder for Steinbach to pay off business loans. Most of the workers were laid off when the company filed for bankruptcy last October. Karla tried to keep control of the company but was unable to keep up with the debt.
Karla was still optimistic that the Steinbach name would still survive and Karla’s children Karolin and Christian began making plans in an effort to re-acquire the Steinbach factories and continue making nutcrackers after the bankruptcy.
Karolin and Christian were able to put together an offer in order to purchase the factories back. The final decision from the bankruptcy was made just a couple of weeks ago, March 2016. Unfortunately, the banks decided to accept an offer from another source.
What we don’t know:
What does this all mean for Steinbach Nutcrackers going forward? The best answer we can give is that we just don’t know. From our recent conversations with Karla and representatives at Kurt Adler, Steinbach’s largest importer, we have been able to determine that nutcrackers will be produced under the Steinbach name but these new nutcrackers will not be produced by a member of the Steinbach family.
The new owner of the Steinbach factories has decided to carry on the Steinbach name and, as far as we know, will even produce the designs that were agreed upon by Kurt Adler. These designs were shown in January during the Atlanta gift show before we knew exactly what was going to happen with the bankruptcy. We don’t know if the new owners will produce any of the older nutcracker designs
These are the new designs showcased by Kurt Adler Jan 2016.
What this means for us and our customers:
The recent events concerning Steinbach and all those involved brings an unfortunate mix of feelings. Karla has been a good friend and a great business partner over the years and we are quite sad as to the way things have turned out for her and her family.
We suspect the value of many older Steinbach nutcrackers will rise, especially items that have been hand-signed by a member of the Steinbach family, though we can’t be 100% sure about that. We do have a large inventory of Steinbach nutcrackers and most of our stock on-hand is signed by Karla, Karolin and a few that are even signed by the late Herr Christian Steinbach.
We are optimistic that Steinbach nutcrackers will continue on for many years to come but we will see if the nutcrackers live up to the quality, charm and excitement that was built by the King of Nutcrackers Herr Christian Steinbach.
Either way, we will keep you posted on this. If you aren’t already on our e-mail newsletter list, you can add your email on the homepage of our website.