For generations, the name “Karlowsky” has been associated with high-quality branded clothing in the catering and hotel industry – and for some years now also in the areas of medicine, care, cosmetics and wellness. With Thomas & Niels Karlowsky, generation four and five are now responsible for the fortunes of the family business.
The success story of our company began in 1892 with great-great-grandfather August Karlowsky, who laid the foundation for the family business. He traded in selected haberdashery and initially moved from market to market with wooden carts. From 1936 onwards, son Herrmann and his wife Frida took the decisive step forward. Our former retail shop developed into a wholesale business with several branches, whose goods were produced in the company’s own manufactories. After the war, private property is expropriated in the GDR. Frieda Karlowsky was able to arrange a commission contract with the state (half state, half private) so that the company could remain at least partly in family hands.
After Frida’s death, the family inheritance was initially passed on to the two daughters, before in 1974 Thomas, aged just 14, took over the inheritance in the fourth generation – initially in an administrative capacity until 1989, then from 1990 as managing director and with a new focus for the company. Growing product range, growing customer base, growing importance – the 1990s and 2000s were characterised by expansion, innovation and many groundbreaking decisions to become one of the most important producers of workwear for the catering and hotel industry in Germany.
The fifth generation of Karlowsky has been on board since 2014: Niels was initially in charge of business development, export, IT and marketing before moving to the management board in 2023. Since then, Thomas & Niels Karlowsky have formed a dual leadership in the company and use their passion, joint know-how and innovative ideas to ensure that the company can continue into even more generations and further successful chapters.