Precisely hundred year ago the origin of the legendary Quick-shoe began. In 1905 Herman Jansen began in the city Hengelo(Holland) with its shoe business that would grow into the known Quick-factory.,. A small one-man company evolved into a factory, that self acquired an important place on the domestic and foreign market, especially between 1930 and 1980. The factory was very important to Hengelo. Many Hengeloërs found in this enterprise their working environment, until in 1992 definitively the doors of the factory closed . Since a few years the Quick-shoe is back again, but it has little bond with Hengelo these days.
The beginning (1905)
Herman Jansen (1873-1961) moved with its family from Voorst to Hengelo. He was registered as a shoemaker. It was a time,in which money was very sparingly and the small town of Hengelo had enough shoemakers to repair the worn out shoes of the towns inhabitants. In the winter they especially carried Holland famous wooden shoes . So many inhabitants had their doubts about the store that Jansen at the Spalstraat began, in which he a showed six pair of shoes and 150 empty shoe boxes, that were used as window material. He experienced much support of the firm Wijs from Dieren, for which he had served in Voorst.
This firm provided him many repair work and tasks and the manufacturing of slippers and shoes in the weak winter time. On sunday Jansen went up its bicycle with wooden weels to go to Dieren to get the shoes for repair and to bring the repaired shoes back. There also were two potters from Dieren, that, on days that there was a horse-market, brought shoes for recovery along of the firm Wise. Jansen had to have the shoes ready at 4 o'clock, the end of the market. The same potters took them back to the fim Wijs.
Quickly Jansen made its first football shoes. On the order of the firm Wijs he manufactured three pair for a new football club in Arnhem. With this he made the beginning of production, that later on took an enormous flight. As a workplace, Herman used the attic floor of a house. His equipment consisted in one old stifling machine. The work was performed largely with hand. When there was too little work, he went to colleagues in surrounding municipalities to get extra orders.
Thanks to his expertise, trade mind and work desire, the business survived difficult beginning period. Already after half a year, Jansen had two man personnel. He began to focus on measure work. The tasks became steadily more and sometimes there were 40 until 50 pair of shoes ordered before Easter,because at Easter most people bought their new clothes and shoes. In 1907 the attic became too small and the shoemaker bought a building at the church street. Here he remained there for 2½ years and in that time he bought the first machines : a shedmachine and a machine that drives wooden studs into the shoe sole. These were foot clerk stair machines, which the sons of Jansen used after school time.
The servants working times were from 7 in morning till 9 in the evening .The servants earned 9 until 11 guilder per week and the customers paid ƒ1.75 for the renewing of hack and soles. Except of the sons working there also mother Jansen and daughter Anna worked for the company. The 'Chap boss' wanted to expand again. A difficulty was, that he was not wealthy enough.
It was customary that all repairs, leveranties of measure work and the sale of store shoes lifts on annual account. The business grew so good, that he got a sufficient credit in 1910 to build a new building at the council house street, where later on its grandson Herman had a shoe store (later Tacx and Hermans).
The First world War brought a setback. The production was stopped, and they only repaired shoes. The leather was scarce and only to obtain trough distribution. The sons took hold on all possible jobs to keep their head above the water. After the war, it went better again. The first engine came : an old diesel engine for the driving of the machines, taken over from Wise, that already changed to electro engines.But the diesel engine caused many inconvenience with it's sound.
It gave so much noise, that the neighbors could not sleep, and walked to the city council.The result was that the engines could only work between 8 in the morning till 9 in the evening. A typical example of the trade mind of Herman Jansen was the fact that he discovered, that after the war the machines in Germany were very cheap. In this period, he often went up and down to germany to buy them for ƒ175,- each.
The name becomes Quick
In 1922 electriciteit brought a new era. Jansen got electro engines for the machines. Meanwhile all sons were active in fathers business. Next to the store and repair-division, children's shoes were manufactured, as well as slippers and girls shoes. Thirty men were at work there. In 1925, a beginning was made with the producing of sport shoes. The name Quick was launched on the Olympic Games 1928 in Amsterdam. Around 1930, Jansen advertised with 'The H. J. Shoe'.
The economic crisis of the 1930's threw soot in the food. In the darkest crisis year the business balance even had a disadvantageous balance of ƒ3000,-!
With liquidation taken in serious consideration, the instigation by mother Jansen ("What will come of the boys?") decided them to try it another year. They also decided to reorganize.
To begin they took an entire new object to hand: the Captain - football shoe. A golden grip. Even Ajax and the Dutch team played with these shoes. Polly Pill was introduced as a mascotte of Quick. The production of slippers, infants- and girls shoes went normally on, and through that the sons went on trips. They also contacted the fam. Oosterholt-Wiegerinck in Groenlo and the fam. Blomesath from Aalten who offered an agentuur for pin slippers and leather shoes.
An important aspect of the reorganisation was the appointing in October 1932 of Pierre Raaymakers (1901-1967) as a manager.One of the sons knew him from his school. Raaymakers would have a very large share in the development of the famous Quick-sport shoes!
The times became better and the production of the Quick-football shoe became main point. An expensive shoe costs ƒ4.95, a cheap shoe even ƒ1.75. The quality improved and the market was expanded. After an enlargement the production increased until 400 pair per week. Most old sons disappeared from the business. The most old one, Herman Jansen became partner of the fam. Blomesath and Anton Jansen established himself as a shoe shopkeeper in Vorden. The second son, Theo, started in Nijmegen, a shoes company with a repair division.
Creatively in the war
In the Second world War the Germans told to stop the production of leather shoes, but the Jansens were not so easy to stop. The sons, of which especially Theo and Gert more and more took-over the work of Dad, went to buy dismissed felt hats in Amsterdam on the Waterloosquare. In all bicycle shops, old bicycle ties were arranged. Slippers were made by these materials; the factory was rolling again, but they had to improvised a lot. Repairs took place with old, bought up floating strap and with the underground clandestine bought skins.
The leather must be handed over to the Germans, but a fake burglary saved the supply. For that they made some rumor around the factory on one evening, so that the neighbor warned the police that at the fam. Jansen place there were burglars. When the police arrived everything appeared to be calm, but the next morning the whole supply of leather skins were 'stolen' : safely raised in the house of Jansen. Because of this they could immediately produce shoes again once the second world war was ended.
The making of football shoes, went good again. Theo Jansen could obtain a license for the selling of clogs in its store in Nijmegen through his former connections. He traveled to visit all clogs makers in Gelderland, and on one day at least 500 men stand in the row for its store. Through these sell of clogs, the production of slippers and repair of old football shoes started again and the factory was back on track. Especially repairs became such a success that it was tremendous free advertising. Again it was one of the Jansens, that bought a large party of legs-hoods on the Waterloosquare of which they manufacture children's shoes.
Later on the production of new football shoes started again. "screw in studs" were new and many people wanted these football shoes with "screw in studs" so the Quick-football shoes became very populair. Evert Lubbers, the blacksmith, made a machine for these "screw in studs". Round the pins was put an aluminum ring to prevent the push through of the studs. It gave Quick an own character and a good name. Then they decided to make the production of football shoes there main business. In Nijmegen, a Quick shop came. The production went up with leaps.
The selling went so good that again expansion was necessarily. In 1948, they moved to a factory building of R. J. Lubbers at the council house street. This was the moment for Herman sr. (75 of age) to take it easy. The four sons Gert, Anton, Theo and Herman took over, with Raaymakers as manager and from 1952 with H. A. Ritzer to handle the money. The production was raised to 1600 pair per week. The size of the production and the sale figures became so large, that the shoe stores in Nijmegen could be closed. From this moment, Quick produced especially football shoes and later on also sport shoes. Quick became a flourishing company with more than hundred, most Hengelose, employees. All dutch football stars played football on Quick, and it became a notion in the Netherlands. Bart kroesen, who worked at Quick at the age of 13 remebers it well: "In 1934 the Dutch team defeated the Belgian Red Devils with 9-3. What a match it was ! we couldn't wish for a better advertising, all eleven played on our "Captains" football shoes. That was the first shoe, with studs in a sort of V shape. Later on football stars like Faas Wilkes and Abe Lenstra only played on Quick shoes. For Kees Rijvers, who played football in France, we had to make them precisely his size, because he had a little bit strange feet. We also taken measurements of Coen Moulijn, the legendary left winger of Feyenoord, and he got newly 'tools' regularly.
The football club Pax had had a good connection with Quick, with the factory in 1957 on a stone throw distance. From that year Quick provides football shoes for the first team. Later on they got complete equipment and an annual contribution of ƒ1500,- by Quick. Pax and his members had much advantage of the factory as a neighbour.
Former Chairman Jaap Hulshoff: "We a good relation with the brothers Jansen from Quick.It were 'darn flashes of lightning', but they helped the members well with their shoes". Later on they provided the shoes for the first team and were sponsor of the club." The Quick company also organized their own football activities.
In August of the 1958, there was on the sport grounds of Pax an international match between the youth of the Netherlands and Belgium.
The organization was by Quick and therefore the entrance was free of charge. Only a voluntary contribution was asked for the Foundation 'Child'. On 25 July 1959, the 'Polly-Pill' tournament was organized. it was a match between the champions of the 2e division Easterly (Go Ahead) and Westerly (' t gooi). The profits went to the 'child' foundation.
Removal and expansion
In 1957 again the factory became to small. An entire new building was opened on 26 August at the Hummeloseweg. In the 60's more expansions took place until 1200 m² in total. Legendary voetballers as a Johan Cruyff, Piet keizer and the whole Dutch national team played on Quick football shoes. all young football players in the Netherlands grew up with them. They were strong and well fitting. In 1963 another expansion took place in the form of a large hall and in 1970 a hall and canteen were build. In 1976 there were more expansions. In 1963 a new factory was opened in Kaatsheuvel, that self specialized in ladies shoes. A machine gave Quick a lead on the competition: this machine made one pair of shoes in 6 minutes – in the foreign countries this was 12 minutes.
During the heydays in the 60's and 70's about 75 per cent of the national shoe market was in hands of Quick, largely through the advertising-activities of the star footballers in Holland. In the 70's the 100 co-workers of the only sport shoes factory of the Benelux produced 350,000 shoes per year. The last 2 brothers Jansen retired, Gert in 1970, Anton in 1972. For the first time there no Jansen's in the management that now was led by one man in the person of Ritzer. Especially Gert was a missed need. He was known as a manager that helped a lot.
In 1967 Pierre Raaymakers passed away and he was hard to replace , he was the patron maker, so it was a big loss. Without the Jansens, at the end of 1970's it went downhill with Quick.The cause: They didn't anticipate on the changing taste o the public. The management wanted to hold bred on to the qualities principle, design was less important. Also the production of the (in the weak winter time) successful ice-skate shoes was stopped. Lotto, Adidas, Puma and Nike brought fashionable colors and shoes with supple leather on the market, While Quick wanted to persevere in the producing of a stiff, black shoe. Consequence of this failing management was, that the more large nascent competition of Italians, Japanese and Amerikanen took-over the market.
In 1982, the year that M. Smeets took over from Ritzer , the production has gone down to the half of what it was in 1972. The loss led till an unexpected bankruptcy in 1986. An unique action followed: the business became occupy and fifteen co-workers resume the production. The action ruled the press, but it didn't help. Discharge for tens of employees. Co-workers declared that this was never happened, if it a successor of Jansen was remained in the management.
The new manager P. de Lange sets up a new smaller Quick INC after only a few months. The activities moves for a large part to Portugal, despite the contract of Quick Sports with the Dutch army for the production of 100,000 sport shoes it stays in the dangers zone. When the army hears that the order would become exported through the factory in Portugal they canceled the order.
The management again had to dismiss eleven employees at the end of 1991. There appeared some hope, after a contract with the German manufacturer of sport articles Uhl, but it wasn't enough. In March 1992 Quick definitively was stoped. A branch where many people from Hengeloo earned their bread. In 1993, the building was bought by the business rhine steel INC from Arnhem.
A new start
In 1999 the HEAO-student Ferenc van der Vlies landed in the rag basket with a torn off cross tie. By that 'occasion', he wrote its school-script about Quick.The South-Dutch man from Strijen always had a predilection for football shoes and Quick in it particularly. He sought out the history, with in the back of the head the plan to put Quick back on the market again. When he got well Van der Vlies went for investigation to Hengelo. He came in contact with descendants of the family Jansen who sold the rights of the brand to Van der Vlies. from that moment Quick is alive again. With partner Rinie van Trigt, Van der Vlies has brought back the shoe on the market with own means. The shoes are produced in Italy and Vietnam, while the product is sold from Strijen. In the street image the shoe is back again. The sneakers – the sport shoe of 30 years ago – are populair under the contemporary youth, of which Quick can make some profit.Despite the large competition the Quick-football shoe is also to be found on the national soccer fields again.
Last year there was a documentary on Tv about the rentree of Quick, with also recordings from Hengelo. Van der Vlies has yet well a dream. "I gladly would see that a part of the shoe again is produced in the Netherlands. Most beautiful would be again a factory in Hengelo to begin that small-scale production. That would bring back the traditional feeling again."
by W.J.M. Hermans
To see a collection of Quick football shoes trough the years visit:
Sports shoe makes a comeback as fashion footwear, Quick gets its second wind
by Marc Mijer
They disappeared from the shops twenty years ago, but now they’re back. Quick shoes were once the leading sports shoe brand for Dutch athletes. Since 2001 they’ve been a lifestyle item for the fashion-conscious in Italy, Japan and elsewhere. In only two years time, sales have leapt from 300 to 500,000 pairs of shoes.
The website URL fcquick.com reveals what is behind the miraculous resurrection of Quick: a childhood dream. Co-director Ferenc van der Vlies (30) is not ashamed to admit it.
"It sometimes hits me when I’m driving home in the evening after work. I played football in Quick soccer boots when I was a kid, and now I’ve breathed new life into the brand." Van der Vlies not only dreamt about Quick, he wrote a paper about it as a student. In his thesis, he asked himself how a quality brand that had lasted almost a hundred years could go from having a dominant market position to bankruptcy in 1992. He was struck by the old Quick ads from the 1960s, which seemed to foreshadow the marketing approach of such brands as Nike today.
The ads explain the technical principles of the shoe and refer to its being worn by a sports star. Would it be possible to revive Quick, Van der Vlies wondered? He conducted market research and concluded that it would be difficult to bring the brand back only as a sports shoe. It might, however, have a chance in the sports lifestyle segment. It was the time when the former sports brand Puma had begun to make inroads as a fashion shoe. "That really opened the gates wide for old brands," says Van der Vlies. "But the similarities end there. Puma is much bigger than we are, and any how, we prefer to sell fewer shoes and avoid looking like some mega-brand. Whatever the cost, we want to preserve our own identity,
Boom in sales
Quick’s distinctive identity is nurtured by top designers. Van der Vlies invests quite a lot in design, and the results are striking. The Dutch Shuffle XXL is a good example: it is a remarkable cross between a sports shoe and a boot. The model is based on the boxing boots that the old firm of Quick designed years ago for Bep van Klaveren, the legendary "Dutch Windmill" who became a European boxing champion.
The Dutch Shuffle XXL and other models are sold by boutiques and specialist shoe shops to consumers who appreciate sports lifestyle fashion. The new Quick is keying into this trend with shoes and training jackets, and currently has a line of accessories, including bags, in development. Quick products are sold in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Scandinavia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. "We’re just revving up in the USA, but we’re still at the bottom of the ladder there," explains Van der Vlies. "We sell best in the Netherlands, the UK, Japan and Italy. In only two years we went from selling 300 pairs to selling 500,000. We’re still trying to recover from the boom in sales." The head office has a staff of only five, who are in charge of the entire operation, assisted by their distributors in the Netherlands and abroad. The company’s production facilities are located in Italy and the Far East.
Step by step
How does a bankrupt brand make a comeback? In other words, what is the secret behind Quick’s success? Before he answers, Van der Vlies explains that he doesn’t use the word "success" yet himself. "As far as I’m concerned, we’ll only really be successful when we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with big brands like Nike and Puma. That’s what we’re aiming for, working for step by step. What we have now is just a minor achievement. We’re getting good reviews, but that doesn’t mean all that much." All right then, we won’t call it a success, just an astounding rate of growth. How did the company manage that? "We’re devoted to our product, market-oriented, flexible and focused on distribution. We’re fanatical about preserving these characteristics in every decision we take. For example, we were approached by a big retail chain that wanted to do business with us. We were attracted by the idea because it would mean big sales. But it also meant parting ways with our small outlets, the individual shops. They sell our stuff as if it were their own brand, and that’s much more in tune with the exclusive image that we want. So we didn’t cut a deal with that big retail chain after all." Van der Vlies cites other success factors, such as short lines of communication to the market, top designers, and strict control of finances. "We don’t spend a single euro that we don’t have."
The company has, in fact, spent next to nothing on advertising, something which it does very little of, if anything at all. "We might do soon enough, but for right now we’re sticking with below the line publicity. Our shoe boxes have a little history of the firm in them, for example. But we’ve not done much more than that up to now. It would spoil our exclusive image."
What do the Jansens, the family that founded the original Quick in 1905, think of their brand being revived as a hip fashion shoe? "They think it’s fantastic," says Van der Vlies. "Jan Jansen, one of the older family members, recently celebrated his eightieth birthday with us at the company. We naturally gave him a pair of shoes as a gift. He was delighted."
Just as delighted as Van der Vlies and co-director Rini van Trigt were when they purchased the Quick brand name a few years ago. "We felt like we’d just bought a beautiful antique painting." The two young entrepreneurs set out restoring the "painting" with tremendous energy. The brand is no longer the exclusive preserve of Dutch sports legends such as Johan Cruijff, Coen Moulijn and Bep van Klaveren. It is now worn as fashion footwear around the world.