HOW I. W. HVIDBERG GOT STARTED
The story of Hvidberg starts with a short journey through history, the events in and around the clothing trade from 1780 up to 2018.
Outside in the big world life was rather tumultuous, however, in Denmark in 1780 life was generally peaceful and trade was flourishing. Copenhagen was by no means a big city but in Denmark it was the biggest. It was the place to go if you had ambitions within trade.
This must have been the reason why two tradesmen from Jutland each established their own hosier and silk trading companies in Copenhagen.
One was named Michael Pedersen, who in 1767, at the young age of 11, arrived in Copenhagen, and stayed with his uncle, Niels Andersen Sødding, who was a hosier. In 1779 Michael Pedersen obtained his own trade license as a hosier and silk merchant, now going by the name of Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard.
He prospered so well that in 1797 he sold his business to a member of his family and lived off his fortune for the rest of his life. Fun fact...not only was he the founding farther of our enterprise - he later at the then ripe age of 56 also became the father of the famous philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard - the last in line of 7 children.
Back to the other tadesman from Jutland that we mentioned. Henrik Hansen Lund established his hosier and silk trading company in November 1780. In the course of a few years he had a flourishing business. He became the father of many children, one of whom is famous even today within nature research. His name was Peter W. Lund, naturalist and scientist, born in 1801. He travelled to Brazil twice and forwarded valuable collections and an amply illustrated theses to the Zoological Museum.
The two families formed very close bonds. Two of Søren Kierkegaard sisters, Petrea and Nicoline, married sons of Henrik Lund - though neither of them was ever invovled in the clothing business that their father ran.
The unease in the world outside Denmark began to have its effects on the trade in Denmark. Aand although Henrik Hansen Lund's business was a success, during the Napoleonic wars, which escalated at the beginning of 1800, the times were difficult for importation of cloth.
Denmark got into a squeeze between the great powers. Napoleon's blockade of the continent must have prevented trading with the English. Perhaps this alleviated the imports from the Netherlands after the English bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807, when Denmark subsequently supported the French. This is pure guesswork, but nevertheless the company kept its head above water and survived both the state bankruptcy in 1814 and the cession of Norway to Sweden. They were harsh times for little Denmark, however people still had to wear clothes, to the business survived.
Following the death of Henrik Hansen Lund the company was taken over by cloth and silk hosier Josias Daniel Hansen Schmidt (1801-1872), who very quickly became a wealthy man. In 1855 he sold the clothing company to his nephews, now in the name of I.D. Schmidts Eftf. (in English: Successor).
Seen from a historical point of view it must have gone over very well in spite of the political and economic situation of the country.
The times of the absolute monarchy was coming to an end, Europe was (still) in an upheaval at the time, Denmark were at war with the Germans in 1848, and on the 5th of June 1849 the country's first Constitutional Act was signed by King Frederik VII. In 1864 came the catastrophic war against Prussia resulting in the loss of Southern Jutland. Without knowing for sure, it must also have been a tough time for a small business.
Take a peak inside the shop in this little home video
I. W. HVIDBERG - MORDERN DAY
In 1906 Jens Westengaard Hvidberg took over the company. He had been an employee in the company for some years and seized the opportunity, when the company had to be sold.
It should be mentioned that now the company traded exclusively in cloth. The First World War (1914-17) was not the biggest catastrophe for Danish trade, as Denmark was neutral. In 1916 I.W. Hvidbergâ€™s nephew, Knud Erik Hvidberg-Hansen started his traineeship in the company. After I.W. Hvidbergâ€™s death in 1928 his daughter, Aase Hvidberg, and Knud Erik Hvidberg-Hansen carried on the business. The company survived the depression of the thirties and experienced a very difficult time during the Second World War. All imports from the British cloth mills, at the time the most important supplier, ceased abruptly. The company stocks had to be rationed, and the Danish cloth mills operated at half speed. However, the company had an extremely good co-operation with not least Brandts KlÃ¦defabrik in Odense. It was a balancing act, but it came through. It is evident that demand for cloth exploded after the end of the war.
In 1950, after completing his trade education at British clothing factories, K.E. Hvidberg-Hansen's son, Jens JÃ¸rgen Hvidberg-Hansen was employed by the company. In 1975 he took over the company as sole proprietor, and after 53 years in the company, he assigned control to his son, Jens Ulrik Hvidberg-Hansen in 2003. Jens Ulrik Hvidberg-Hansen can rightly call himself silk and cloth merchant, a title used by the founder of the company and hidden in the name Hvidberg Stoffer.
During the last 50 years many things have been turned upside down, not least within the clothing trade. During the 60's and the 70's the major cloth wholesalers closed down one by one, as did the cloth factories. The domino effect was at full speed. The intake to the tailor trade was getting smaller and smaller, which was a shame for the fine craftsmanship, which really good tailoring constitutes. The development and trend within fashion changed at an increasing speed, and thus also the clientele, which today ranges from medieval theatre costumes to the studios of designers, quality conscious tailors and private consumers.
Today, the company is the only one of its kind in Denmark. And though we do business according to todays trends, we still uphold the old traditions staying true to the concept of the business from the olden days - placing quality above all, in addition providing a kind and personal customer service.
On 1 November 2015 the textile trading company I.W. Hvidberg celebrated its 235th anniversary, steadyly moving towards the 240th in 2020.
And it seems that the tailor trade is coming back in vogue and more costumers turn to quality over quatation when it comes to equipping their closets. And the Hvidberg family and employees would like to welcome you inside and help you make your clothing dreams come true.
We look forward to serving you and talking about the trade.
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Longangsstræde 25, 1468 Copenhagen
Phone: +45 33135670
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I.W. Hvidberg, Loengangstraede 25, 1468 Copenhagen, Denmark / Phone: +45 33135670 / Mail: email@example.com / Website in Danish: www.hvidbergstoffer.dk / Vat: 26127874
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