The history of BATA shoes dates back to the time when Czech Republic was still Austria- Hungary and World War I had not started. BATA shoes has now become synonyms to footwear around the globe.
From working in a shoe manufacturing company to owning one of the biggest shoe manufacturer, the Bata’s have come long way. Let’s go through the inspiring story of a young cobbler Thomas Bata who went to become the one of the biggest footwear manufacturer, philanthropist and a great leader. Let’s have a read
History of Bata
Thomas Bata came from a family which was in shoes business for years, but he didn’t want to join his family in the business.
He wanted to start something by himself, so he started working in a shoe manufacturing company. But that didn’t last long as he was kicked out from the company because of the fear of competition. So he decided to start his own business.
It was August 24, 1894 Thomas Bata along with his brother Antonin and Sister Anna, borrowed 800 florins (approx$350) from their mother and launched shoe making business in Czechoslovakia.
They rented a pair of rooms, acquired two sewing machines and started producing footwear and was successful enough to hire few employees same year.
However this partnership could not last long as Antonin was drafted into military and Anna had to quit the business to get married just after a year which forced Thomas to take complete control of business at the age of just 19. To overcome the first serious setbacks, Tomáš Baťa decided to make new shoes brand called “baťovky” from much cheaper canvas instead of leather.
Early Stage of Bata Shoes
Thomas didn’t become Shoe king overnight, but in just 10 years the company began producing 2,200 pairs of shoes a day. During 1905, the production was marked 2200 pairs per day which was accomplished by only 250 employees.
The demand for bata shoes sky rocketed within no time .5000 employees made it possible for the sales to reach 2 million per year during 1917.The early stage was struggle for Bata as when it started to grow, the World War I started because prince of Austria-Hungary was killed in Bosnia.
The Europe was divided in the First World War, so it became difficult for Bata to get the material it needed. Not even the crisis following the First World War could stop his success.
It was not just about making pretty shoes; Thomas had a very clear vision to serve the public. Constant innovation of footwear was the endeavor to successfully meet the customers’ needs.
Thomas Bata’s main motto was “The customer is our master”. He constantly focused on innovation of products and benefits of employees. To ensure economical housing and living, Thomas started to build houses for employees near factories
Additionally, BSP (Bata School of Work) was launched to educate young men and women. Thomas was elected Mayor in 1923. Later he was re-elected in 1927 and 1931.
The crisis buy generic clonazepam period followed by First World War could not even disrupt his success. At that scenario, there was a point where people could barely afford food. Thomas made a bold move of cutting salaries of employees by 40% alongside reducing the shoe prices by 50%.
This step not only supported his employees through rough time but also managed to sell 99000 pairs of shoes for the value of 8.1 million CZK in just single day. Many businesses were forced to close due to economic crisis during mid-1920s. However the demand for inexpensive Bata shoes grew rapidly.
Further the company opened its own store in Zlín, Prague, Liberec, Vienna and Pilsen,among other towns. In 1932, at the age of 56, Tomáš Baťa died in a plane crash during takeoff under bad weather conditions at Zlín Airport at the time of Tomáš’s death, the Bata company employed 16,560 people.
Growth of the company
After the death of Thomas Bata his brother Jan Antonín Bata took over the company. Thomas son Tomik had to earn his spot working from the lowest level to the highest position.
Bata began to establish its factory in Poland, France, Romania, Switzerland, Netherland, Romania and India. The current Bata headquarters is in Switzerland. Bata achieved major success through a shoe called BATA Tennis in 1936.
Originally created for Indian school children, the pinstriped sneaker with the distinctive rubber toe guard became one of the bestselling shoes around the globe of all time- and still sold around the world.
The phase of Second World War
The Second World War forced 26-year-old Tomik to move to Canada. He founded Bata Shoe Organization in Toronto in 1940.
Back in Europe Bata suffered a bombing in 1944 and then the company was nationalized under Communism in 1945. In Canada on the other hand, the company gained fame as they rose to success.
Tomik finally returned to his home town Zlin in 1989 and huge crowd gather at his hometown to listen the speech of the most popular Zlin personality. Tomik died in 2008 leaving the business empire in the hand of his son.
Bata stick to its motto of “Don’t tell me it can’t be done – tell me you just don’t know how to do it”.
It was one of the first companies to implement pricing strategy of 9 (999 instead of 1000), which played with the psychology of buyers. It also advertised its product through magazines and video made in hometown Zlin. Bata made shoes which were stylish and value for money product.
Bata currently operates in 68 countries and across 5 continents with over 5000 retail stores. Since the day it was founded, Bata has sold more than 14 billion pairs of shoes which are more than the number of human feet that have walked on the earth. Although Bata has come a long way it has not forgot its core value, which are great value shoes.