As prosperity increased over the years, so too did the demand for high-quality, comfortable furniture for the home. And thus, in 1952, a former textiles processor in Ertingen in Swabia/Germany started producing upholstered furniture, sofa beds and mattresses.
The name of this new manufacturing company: ERPO – a combination of “Ertingen” and the company's activity, “Polstermöbel” (upholstered furniture). An almost prophetic decision. Because to this day, in these times when the internationalisation of markets is still increasing, the company has remained true to itself and its original production location.
And so ERPO also always means the promise of quality of “Made in Germany”. Furthermore, contemporary furniture design has accompanied the development of our exclusive upholstered furniture for more than 60 years, and will continue to do so, today and in the future
Markets are dynamic, and undergoing constant change. If a company is able to hold its own despite constantly changing framework conditions, this is evidence of its flexibility and adaptability. As is the case with ERPO.
The furniture market reached saturation point at the beginning of the 1960s. This increased the requirements for marketing, which set its sights both at retailers and consumers.
Sales manuals were introduced, as were stepped fabric and leather sample books that were marked with the name of the respective retail partner. The ERPO logo was modernised, and linked consistently with the slogan “Sitzkomfort” – “seating comfort”.
During the 1970s and 1980s, more and more low-priced providers swamped the market. Reason enough to put the focus on the exclusiveness of the company's products. The key instrument was a presentation with around 300 photos (slides) that clearly illustrated the quality of manufacture and materials. These pictures enabled ERPO to make the invisible visible, once the elaborate construction of the furniture bodies and frames had been graphically edited for the eye.
The brochure “Erpo Polstermöbel – ein Buch mit 7 Qualitäts-Siegeln” (“Erpo Upholstered Furniture – an Open Book”) served the same purpose of guiding the observer's eye further into the depth of the products.
In addition, the manufacture of the cover materials “Made in Germany” is visualised just as much as the careful work carried out in the sewing and upholstery workshops. The strategic aim was to allow the senses to perceive the quality and durability of ERPO products.
A look at the catalogues of the 1980s reveals product names that seem very strange today. Here is “Model 4832” next to “Model 765” or “Model 2025” – names that leave little room for products to develop their own personalities.
It was an important step to give “Model 1420” a name, one that encouraged the association with southern flair: Lugano. This created the germ cell for a naming system that is a key feature of the “collection” series today, and facilitates a strong differentiation between the products.
Yet the product description also (still) continues to use rather more sober terminology: “High-backed armchair with functions. Seat, back and headrest adjust to a reclining position. Casually upholstered with intentional creasing. Cold foam with a strong Dacron-fibrefill topping. Seat with rubber elastic belt suspension. Matching stool.”
The mid-1980s saw strong economic downturns, the result of which was the company's acquisition by the international furniture manufacturer “Ekornes” in 1985.
The brand “Ekornes Erpo” combined the Swabian manufacturer's designs with those of the Norwegian company – two lines with different product philosophies. They faced each other with understandably conflicting viewpoints, and it was also impossible to achieve harmony in their public image.
However, something that was positive at this time was that the acquisition by the Norwegian group brought with it the international introduction of the brand name ERPO. This created a link once the company had been released again from the overall construct in 1990.
The recovery of its independence was followed by concentrating on the company's roots. The logo was redesigned, and the two parts of the name given different colours to distinguish them from each other. This puts the focus more clearly on the production location of Ertingen.
Other decisions were also introduced. The creation of the two product lines “Classics” and “Das Prinzip der Bequemlichkeit®” (“The Principle of comfort”, today: “collection”) facilitated the optimum positioning of all products. The introduction of the modular system resulted in the rationalisation of production.
After growth and the resulting production bottleneck, in 1998 ERPO decided to purchase the Dreipunkt company of Donzdorf. The space that became available in Donzdorf was later turned into a spacious showroom.
This new era coincided with a strong new beginning. The new look and new slogan of “Sitz.Kultur.” illustrated the exclusiveness of the products far more than had previously been the case. The central “hook” is the “ERPO.Effekt”. A new studio concept increases product appeal at the point of sale.
As if to confirm the chosen route, the market's internal study on dealer satisfaction was published in 2010. For the third time, after 2006 and 2008, ERPO came first overall. Commitment and promise for the next 60 years.
Erpo entwickelt neue Kollektionen und gewinnt mit dem Einzelsessel 142 den "Interior Innovation Awards 2012". Der streng kubische Sessel, der mittels eines unsichtbaren Drehtellers stets von selbst in seine Ausgangsposition zurückkehrt, hat den Rat für Formgebung überzeugt.
Auch einen neuen Kooperationspartner gewinnt Erpo in diesem Jahr: de ploeg, einen Hersteller edler Möbelstoffe. Ein Versprechen für wunderbare, neue Bezüge. 2013 geht die Kollektion "avantgarde" an den Start – und Erpo mit Messen erstmals nach Moskau und Salzburg. Auf der "Rooms Moscow" und "küchenwohntrends Salzburg" lassen sich begeisterte Besucher in unglaublich bequeme Polstermöbel fallen.
2014 wird der Kauf der Möbel von Erpo so bequem wie das Sitzen in ihnen. Mit dem Online-Konfigurator lassen sich sämtliche Möbel bis ins Detail einfach von zu Hause aus gestalten und über den Einkaufskorb bestellen. In der markt intern-Studie zur Händler-Zufriedenheit 2014 belegt Erpo den 1. Platz – zum fünften Mal, 2017 dann zum sechsten Mal.
Exklusiv für die Benelux-Länder wird ein Showroom in den Niederlanden eröffnet: 500 qm im Komplex "de woonindustrie" in der Nähe von Utrecht, einem Zentrum für innovatives Interieur. Die Ausstellung steht Endkunden und Handelspartnern offen, für Fachbesucher ist nach Terminabsprache ein EXPO-Experte vor Ort.
Die Kollektion Erpo Motion kommt auf den Markt: luxuriöse Relaxsessel, die sich manuell oder elektromotorisch verstellen lassen und so in jeder Sitz- und Liegeposition tiefe Entspannung erlauben.
Spannend hingegen: die Awards. Das Sofa CL 990 aus der Serie CLASSICS wird 2019 mit dem German Design Award in der Kategorie "Furniture" ausgezeichnet. Und das Unternehmen Erpo selbst gar mit dem German Brand Award 2019. Ein Traditionsunternehmen, das seit seiner Gründung 1952 auf Qualität und Komfort setzt, wird zu einer der innovativsten Marken des Landes gekürt. Wir sind stolz.