OUR HISTORY

Bata’s Story Begins in 1894

“ Our success is built on our legacy of values and beliefs ” Thomas G. Bata, Chairman and Grandson of Founder

OUR HISTORY

Bata’s Story Begins in 1894

Bata was founded by three siblings with a small inheritance in the town of Zlin, Czechoslovakia on August 24, 1894. It was one of the world’s first shoe “manufacturers”; a team of stitchers and shoemakers creating footwear not just for neighbours, but for distant retail merchants.

Less than 10 years later, Bata produced 2200 pairs per day, employing resourceful imaginations, skilled hands and modern machinery to keep up with demand. Innovative shoes styles were developed with new customer-sensitive ways to promote them. And despite the outbreak of the First World War, material shortages, manpower shortages, and cartels, sales increased to about two million pairs per year by 1917. The Bata legacy had just begun.

In Zlin, Bata built housing, schools and hospitals around the factory for its workers and their families- a design it would replicate in other parts of the world in years to come. Bata provided inexpensive rent and food during very difficult times, because founder Tomas Bata firmly believed business should serve the public.

Less than 10 years later, Bata produced 2200 pairs per day, employing resourceful imaginations, skilled hands and modern machinery to keep up with demand. Innovative shoes styles were developed with new customer-sensitive ways to promote them. And despite the outbreak of the First World War, material shortages, manpower shortages, and cartels, sales increased to about two million pairs per year by 1917. The Bata legacy had just begun.

In Zlin, Bata built housing, schools and hospitals around the factory for its workers and their families- a design it would replicate in other parts of the world in years to come. Bata provided inexpensive rent and food during very difficult times, because founder Tomas Bata firmly believed business should serve the public.

Success Through Innovation

After World War I, Tomas conceived a plan to adjust to post-war economic difficulties by reducing the price of shoes by 50%. Workers agreed to a 40 percent wage cut and in return Bata provided food, clothing and other necessitates at half price. The bold move proved successful. Bata stores flooded with customers.

Well ahead of his its time, Bata created “autonomous workshops and departments” which allowed employees to contribute ideas and affect their own earnings by performing on behalf of department profitability.
New companies were established in France, Austria, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Egypt, Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Singapore and India.

The first foreign plants were built at Möhlin, Switzerland and Calcutta, India. Plants and surrounding villages were often modeled after Zlin. Under the guidance of a young Thomas J. Bata and others, many foreign sales organizations were created and additional plants established at an average rate of at least two per year until the 1960′s.

Well ahead of his its time, Bata created “autonomous workshops and departments” which allowed employees to contribute ideas and affect their own earnings by performing on behalf of department profitability.
New companies were established in France, Austria, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Egypt, Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, Singapore and India.

The first foreign plants were built at Möhlin, Switzerland and Calcutta, India. Plants and surrounding villages were often modeled after Zlin. Under the guidance of a young Thomas J. Bata and others, many foreign sales organizations were created and additional plants established at an average rate of at least two per year until the 1960′s.

From the 70’s to the 90’s

At the beginning of World War II Bata employed 42,000 people. After the war, when Communist governments nationalized all Bata companies in Eastern Europe, Bata persevered by rebuilding itself from the remaining entities located outside Eastern Europe. The sale of mainstays such as the ladies pump skyrocketed and the company once again flourished.

Thomas J. Bata, the founder’s son, made a courageous move to Canada with over 100 families and established the Bata Shoe Company of Canada. By mid-century, Bata was positioned as the world’s leading footwear exporter.

During the 70s, 80s and 90s, as Thomas G. Bata prepared to accept responsibility for managing world-wide operations, the father and son team began re-defining the organization using new, innovative strategies guided by Bata’s founding principles which focused on customers, marketing and employees. Branded products, innovative retail store concepts, lifestyle merchandising, and the addition of non-footwear products are just a few of the novel concepts Bata introduced. Today, Bata sells about 270 million pair of shoes through companies in more than 70 countries.

 

Present and Future

From its simple start almost 120 years ago, Bata has grown into a trusted global company that offers fashionable and affordable footwear to every member of the family. We’ll continue to grow through the 21st century by remaining dedicated to exceeding our customers’ expectations.

"At Bata, we see a sale as the beginning of a relationship ” Thomas G. Bata