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Ulla Popken
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Ulla Popken

The Ulla Popken Story

It all began in 1880, in the town of Hameln on the Weser River, where Johann Popken founded the Popken Textile company.

In 1960, his son Karl Friedrich Popken, suffering from poor health was forced to lease the company out on a long-term basis. Friedrich Popken, the future owner, was only 20 at that time and he couldn't run the company himself. By 1968 Friedrich Popken who had been already married and had a young daughter, had opened with his wife Ursula the first store in Oldenburg called "Mami & Baby". The store specialized in maternity and baby wear. After initial start-up difficulties and numerous experiments, a concept emerged in 1978 for a nationwide chain of maternity retail stores, and set the basis for a quickly expanding retail business in women's clothing.

1978 saw the first 3 specialized maternity retail stores in Bremen, Hannover and Hamburg which were quickly followed by many others. These laid the foundations for entering a mail-order business, at first operating from the attic of the Popken family home in Rastede. The major breakthrough came in 1984 with the start of a franchise operation, making the company the market leader in maternity wear in Germany. This was, however, only the beginning of a greater success story, discovered only by chance.

So how did it all come about?

Once Friedrich Popken was watching an employee pack more than 15 maternity items to be sent to a mail order customer. This led him to ask the employee why a pregnant woman ordered so many items. The answer was unexpected. "This customer isn't pregnant. She orders regularly and has written to us explaining that she can't find young fashion in size 44, the size she needs. She orders from us because our maternity fashion is comfortable." A niche in the market for "young fashion in large sizes" was discovered and, in 1986, extensive and carefully planned tests were carried out by mail orders. The results exceeded all expectations, and the company "Ulla Popken,Young Fashion Starting at size 42" was registered on the 1st of March 1987. The same year, 10 new Ulla Popken retail stores were opened, and paved the way for unparalleled success and expansion. On the 11th of March 2008, a new generation took over the business. Friederich Popken transferred his majority interest over to his daughter Astrid, and son-in-law Thomas Schneider. On July 1st, 2008 Mr. Schneider took up his role in the firm as a managing partner.

Ulla Popken today:

Ulla Popken fashion offers all women an opportunity to develop their own style regardless of their size. Every month the Ulla Popken brand presents its customers with a changing collection under the slogan "Fashion that suits me!" As a multi -channel company Ulla Popken sells in over 300 stores, by mail order and Internet and with the help of selected franchise partners in Europe and non-European countries and also with shop-in-shop partners.

Today over 2000 employees are engaged in serving our customers with passion and dedication. Our advice, our experience and our know-how are appreciated by all our customers.


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