On an evening filled with highlights this was perhaps the moment that will be recalled the most: Rolf Daiber, CEO of Gustav Daiber GmbH, his companion Sigrid Gley and his nephew Kai Gminder standing on the stage in a shower of tinsel, enjoying the audience’s standing ovation. And to top it all the “Master of Ceremonies“ Markus Linder had chosen an old classic as the musical accompaniment: Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world“ – however with a slight alteration to the text to match the occasion “What a wonderful Daiber“. Everyone sang along loudly because obviously the words precisely reflected a lot of the guests’ feelings.
The reason for the event was to celebrate Gustav Daiber GmbH’s 100th anniversary. After two years of preparation, the marketing department of the Albstadt-based company and its agency Kiesewetter, Freiburg, had put together an extraordinary programme: “Discovery 100“ invited the guests on a journey through the company’s history on the event ship “Sonnenkönigin” (Sun Queen). On the evening of April 19, the ship set off from Bregenz on Lake Constance. On board: Around 400 invited guests – employees, customers, suppliers and friends of the firm. The picturesque setting of the Alps and the ship’s futuristic design featuring three spacious decks provided an impressive ambiance, which would have been worth attending the event for in itself. And yet, the 100th anniversary celebrations had plenty more to offer, after all the festivities had been harmoniously organised down to the very last detail – starting with the invitation (depicting binoculars and a treasure chest), table cards organised according to dates (milestones in the Daiber history), through to numerous give-aways (among others chocolate coins with the portraits of three generations of company proprietors: Gustav, Walter and Rolf Daiber).
The guests were welcomed with an aperitif in theharbourofBregenz, until the ship set sail at around7.30 pm. The extremely attentive staff served culinary delights and the master of ceremonies, Markus Linder, took the guests on a musical discovery journey through a century of the company’s history. Accompanied by hits from the respective decades, the company’s story was briefly outlined – from it being set up as a sales agency for textile components such as elastic braid, to when the company entered the textile customising market in the 1970s, through to its present-day status as, according to own accounts, the largest provider of promotional caps in Europe and a full-range supplier in the promotional textiles sector. Parallel to this actors of the “Living Dolls“ group mingled in with the audience clad in typical clothes of the respective eras, decorated with numerous products from the current James&Nicholson and Myrtle Beach collections.
In view of the more than 30 year-long fruitful collaboration between their two companies, Neil Kippen, Managing Director of Daiber’s sales agency in England, addressed warm words to Rolf Daiber (“a fine person“) and to his companion Sigrid Gley (“there’s a strong woman behind every successful man“), however having included several amusing anecdotes into his speech (“Small disagreements were always solved over a glass of red wine“) he set the tone for the evening. Despite the festive formalities, there was still plenty of time to laugh and be astonished, the latter primarily as a result of the performances of the magician and mentalist Nicolai Friedrich. He amazed the audience with utterly incredible tricks such as being able to change his James&Nicholson T-shirt within a milli-fraction of a second without the audience even noticing how it had happened. Friedrich’s apparent telepathic skills caused even more of a stir on deck: The mentalist guessed the preferences of people he didn’t know just as easily as the numbers that an independent spectator had thought up. After his performance, which was rewarded with loud applause, he mingled among the tables of guests and entertained them with further tricks. Armed with paper and scissors, paper-cut artists made portraits of the guests as souvenirs of the event – a lovely idea that went down very well.
The group “Südlich von Stuttgart“ (South of Stuttgart“ was responsible for creating the right party atmosphere on board. The band from Daiber’s home town, Albstadt, is well-known in the whole region – and the 400 passengers of the “Discovery 100“ soon found out why: The ten musicians created the sound of the evening with appropriate renditions of old classics and new hits, enticing the guests onto the dance floor until the early hours.
Festive and family-like ambiance
Given the occasion – 100 years of Gustav Daiber GmbH – a speech from the CEO and host, Rolf Daiber, couldn’t go a miss. Daiber recalled his early days at the company (“When my father told me in 1974 that I ought to join the firm, I thought ‘Oh, my goodness!’ But as you see it worked somehow.“), he did stress, however, that he didn’t want to “bore” the guests with facts from the company’s history – noting that these were all printed in the documents that had been handed out to every guest, (see also the detailed portrait on Daiber in eppi magazine, No. 86). Instead he revealed the secret of his success – the philosophy that he calls his “20-point plan“, which involves dividing up tasks that are difficult to manage into smaller points and working through them step by step. In the past when he was trying to win over the underwear manufacturer Schiesser as a customer for his embroidery shop, he had been given a list of demands consisting of 20 points, which he gradually put into practice in the production process. Today, Schiesser is one of the biggest customers of the Albstadt-based firm, and Daiber’s “20-point plan“ has proved its worth many times over.
Furthermore, Daiber used this “super occasion“ to “enthrone a further CEO of the company“: his nephew Kai Gminder, who has been a full-time employee since 2004 and who works in the sales and marketing department. So, the company is now also in the hands of the fourth generation. Gminder told the guests how he had accompanied his uncle on a trip toHong Kongwhile he was still at school and how instead of being impressed by the architecture he was fascinated by the “impressive world of the textile industry“. “That’s when it happened! I was suddenly infected with the promotional products virus and I still am today,“ reported Gminder. He also revealed one of his aims as Managing Director of Marketing, Sales & Procurement: to make the brands James&Nicholson andMyrtle Beachmore well-known among the users.
Then, Rolf Daiber took to the floor again and thanked the customers for their “super cooperation“ and the staff members for their “tireless commitment“ and finally he presented his partner Sigrid Gley with a huge bunch of flowers: “We have been together for 40 years and we both follow common goals, which is also a reason why our firm has been able to survive.“
By then at the latest the guests must have realised a further ingredient of the company’s success: That family-like friendliness that the management crew including Daiber, Gley and Gminder, in fact the entire whole Daiber team, radiated during these festivities and indeed which was also communicated through their speeches. It unites the management, the staff and customers and accounts for a considerable part of the Daiber spirit, which everyone was able to enjoy at its full on the Discovery 100, completely in line with the motto: “What a wonderful Daiber“