From “Grandma’s sewing machine”
to world market leader
The success story of this family-owned company from Upper Franconia (Germany) began in 1947: The origin of helsa® is grandmother’s sewing machine! Helmut Sandler laid the foundation for our global company with the first industrially manufactured shoulder pads – a product that is “invisible yet indispensable”. This is still the guiding principle today. Headquartered in Gefrees, helsa® is now the world market leader for textile shaping components and offers an extremely diversified range of products. And our 500 employees at eight locations around the world ensure that helsa® textile shaping components will remain indispensable in the future.
Always creating new high-tech textile products and solutions
In the 70s bonded facing silk is added to the product range; about ten years later the production of rubberized textiles and moulded diaphragms begins. In 1985 Helmut Sandler hands over management of the company to his daughter Monika Sandler. To this day helsa® continues to create new high-tech textile products. Innovative products like “helsapor” put the company on the world map.
In 2016 helsa® enters the direct consumer market (again) with the “Captain Sorb” product line, successfully creating a bridge between the two traditional business areas: The Fashion Shaping division for clothing accessories and the Functional Coating division for activated carbon-based air filtration are the two main pillars of helsa® for decades.
In 2020 the MANN+HUMMEL Group – also a family-owned company with excellent expertise in the field of air filtration – takes over the helsa® Functional Coating division. To this day, helsa® Group International is still based in Gefrees, Germany.
Company history: helsa® through the years
The success story begins at the sewing machine of Helmut Sandler’s grandmother. The name Helmut Sandler stands for a new idea: shoulder pads.
- Founding of today’s corporate headquarters in Gefrees (Upper Franconia/Germany).
The number of employees grows from the three women who founded the company in 1947 to a workforce of 90.
First factories established outside of Germany in Austria, Yugoslavia, France and South Africa.
Bonded facing silk production begins.
A piece of filter fabric sparks the idea to form the helsa® Functional Coating technical business division.
Start of production for rubberized textiles and moulded diaphragms.
Helmut Sandler’s daughter Monika Sandler takes over management of the company as the next generation of the family.
Innovative products like “helsapor” put the company on the world map. New production sites are built in Hungary, Poland and China.
Expansion of executive management and creation of an “Innovation Centre” in Gefrees.
helsa® enters the B2C market (again) with the “Captain Sorb” product line.
The production site in Poland closes. A new plant in Mexico opens up in its place to better serve the needs of the large American market.
helsa® Group International puts a new focus on the international helsa® Fashion Shaping division and transfers the helsa® Functional Coating division to the Upper Franconia filtration specialist MANN+HUMMEL GmbH.