Daniel Zahn, Zahn Pinsel: “a 20% annual growth in cosmetics!”

Daniel Zahn, CEO and owner in the 4th generation of this family business bearing the same name, has every good reason of being satisfied. His company headquartered in Bechhofen just an hour’s drive from Nuremberg, with a staff of 75 people, will achieve this year more than 5.2 million euros in sales. Eight million brushes of all sorts left its workshops. Main source of satisfaction, its penetration rate in the cosmetic niche, which still only accounts for 19% of its sales but which will have increased again by more than 20% this year over the previous year. Better than that, the pace is not slowing down, quite the contrary. The result, Zahn says, of a strong philosophy based on three basic precepts: “An extensive range of innovative and high quality brushes; an excellent customer service; a unique price-performance-ratio”.


MakeUp in: Which goes to show that a company can perform very well with 85% of its production in Europe, what’s more in Germany in a niche, which has massively relocated itself in emerging countries due to rising labour costs?

Daniel Zahn: The quality of labour is essential in our business but it’s not everything. Ever since the Zahn Brush Company was founded in 1907, it has stood for expertise in brush manufacture, customer satisfaction and reliability. The philosophy of the family business, already in its 4th generation, puts the emphasis on inspiring their customers with an extensive range of innovative and high quality brushes, an excellent customer service and a unique price-performance-ratio. Striving to meet exacting requirements has made our company a highly valued and key business partner world-wide. Many associate Germany with high production costs, but to us, it stands for flexibility, productivity and quality. To be able to produce more competitively, we invest in all the very latest production technology, such as IT based thermal transfer printing systems, automated robots for gluing or commissioning with wireless scanners. We have also been entrusted with customers stock-keeping. All our products are “handmade” and we’re proud of that, but a day doesn’t go by without us thinking about automating part of the manufacturing process of our brushes. We have, for example, developed an automatic machine for the fitting of ferrules on the handles.

All our products and processes are based on uncompromising quality standards, delivering sleek products that incorporate ingenious design details. We are proud to be the one and only brush manufacturer world-wide that has been certified according ISO 14001, EMAS and FSC standards.

MakeUp in: You put a great deal of your energy in the cosmetic sector!

Daniel Zahn: Like in other sectors, but it is true that our development on the cosmetic market has been particularly important in the past five years. We will again achieve this year an increase of 20% over the previous year. The turnover will be close to 1.5 million euros out of the 5.2 million euro total turnover. We operate in three distinct markets, traditional make-up, nails and shaving. Our positioning is deliberately a high end positioning. Half of our sales are performed in Germany. For the remaining 50%, our key markets are in Italy, Scandinavia, Spain and even the United States.

MakeUp in: Are you confident for next year?

Daniel Zahn: Yes, of course! Our average annual growth rate for all our products is close to 10% and there is no reason why this should be different in 2015. Especially as in parallel, our productivity is also increasing by 5% on average each year, and we are investing about 150,000 euros each year in processes and production optimization.