The Vadobag company history
Did you know that our history began in 1887? We’ve been in business for over a decade. Here are some major milestones along the way:
Read on for the whole story
Progress through innovation
On June 15, 1887 farmer Cees van Dongen started a tannery in the center of Rijen (The Netherlands), in a place where the company was still located until a few years ago. At that time the tanning was mainly a winter activity of farmers, but especially in the area around Rijen many tanneries were started up. In that region the presence of forest and water led to the growth of this sector: water and ground oak tree bark were important raw materials of the tanning proces. At that time, the company mainly produced parts of shoes, the demand - but also the competition from the immediate area of Rijen was large.
From tanner to bagmaker
In 1953 the management decided to focus almost entirely on the production and design of bags. In those days more and more materials based on oil products came onto the market, such as skai and because the management always stood for innovation, they decided to look into this.
In the 1960s the market grew considerably, the company with the then-named ‘Van Dongen Van Alphen from Rijen’ even made musical instrument cases for a while. In addition to shopping bags, the demand for weekend bags for conscripts grew strongly. There was a lot of production in Brabant, Amsterdam and the Achterhoek, and in those areas the company also mad several acquisitions.
In 1968 the name ‘Vadobag’ was chosen. The company name ‘Van Dongen Van Alphen from Rijen’ was good for recognisability, but turned out to be too impractical for promotion at trade fairs. Moreover, the company was already active internationally and a short English-sounding name was smarter. At that time they also decided to stop with tanning leather.
Vadobag as an international bag supplier
Vadobag has always been innovative with the use of new materials, machines and their efficiency. The production moved to Asia because this was a great opportunity for a fast production time and the maintenance of product quality. At the time when there was no internet – not even a fax – a Dutchman in Hong Kong – where the company is still active – contacted potential bag manufactures. Opportunities were not only seen on the purchasing side, but also on the sales side: exports grew via Belgium, France and later also via other European countries.
Vadobag also led the way in producing under license.Creating and setting up your own brands is a costly and time-consuming activity, so Vadobag decided to contact the owners of well-known consumer brands such as Alfred Jodocus Kwak and later Sesame Street and Disney. Vadobag became the most important player in the area of licensed bags.
Despite the fact that the company was strong in the production for other brands, Vadobag has always believed in the importance of its own design. The company had its own designers since the 1970s. In that time without the possibility to use a computer they still had to cut and paste the designs by hand. This designteam also had added value for the licensees: Vadobag went beyond sticking a logo on a bag, the entire collection was given an own brand style.
In distribution, Vadobag also searched for new possibilities. While bags were traditionally sold mainly in the leather goods industry, Vadobag started offering its children's bags through toy stores. A smart move: until then, almost no bags were sold through toy stores.
2019: More than 130 years of existence!
After more than 130 years, Vadobag is still an independent family business. From our office in Tilburg we work with a professional team and every day we work together to create new and trendy collections. It’s in our DNA to continue with innovating and to seize new opportunities. In 2019 we have several bags collections under our own brands, such as Kidzroom, Milky Kiss, Skooter and Genshii, and licenses such as Disney and Marvel.
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