From the beginning of the 60s the 'outdoor living' trend arose in the Netherlands, just like it did at our neighbours Germany and England. Slowly but surely the new garden- and camping chairs took the place of the old wooden kitchen chairs, which until then were used outdoors a few times a year to enjoy beautiful summer afternoons together.
Bemico, founded in 1968, responded to this trend as one of the manufacturers of steel outdoor furniture. The brand grew firmly and tried to establish itself internationally. After moving to the new location – where, to this day, Hartman is still located – the company grew substantially and started with new innovative techniques.
In 1982 the company started with the latest plastic injection moulding techniques, which allowed manufacturing large numbers of lightweight and strong plastic garden furniture. The following year Bemico introduced the Hartman brand. The brand name soon achieved satisfying results in Europe. They even attempted entering the American market through participation in the trade show in Chicago. Outdoor living became an international success.
The company grew so fast that, in addition to the modern production facilities, a new head office had to be built, which opened in 1988. Simultaneously with this opening the steady Hartman Group BV acquired the parent company Bemico.
During the years that followed, Hartman became both nationally and internationally one of the leading manufacturers of garden furniture with nearly five hundred employees. So many plastic garden chairs, tables and other types of outdoor furniture were manufactured, that people from that time can effortlessly remember these products. Perhaps some still even used them. The brand awareness grew to a hefty 42% and even the national TV weatherman Erwin Kroll underlined this awareness by associating a nice summer day with ‘it’s Hartman-weather again’.
Around the late 90s there was a another period of renewal. A period were other and higher quality materials were used and manufacturing processes not only took place in Enschede, but instead globally. Of course always directed and controlled by Hartman.
The rise of teak furniture was a downright hype, which invaded the market. But also the development of much lighter materials such as aluminium were accompanied by new techniques and furniture designs. This seemed to mark the end of the plastic chair.
In 2005 the company gets new owners who convert the name Hartman Group BV to Hartman Outdoor Products BV and start selling numerous accessories under the Hartman brand, such as umbrellas and seat cushions.
Because the public still associates Hartman with durable plastic furniture, they decide to introduce the slogan “Hartman, daar geniet je langer van” (meaning: you can enjoy Hartman products longer) to underline the quality of the entire product range.
There appears to be an international trend regarding synthetic wicker furniture. Hartman sees this as a challenge and responds to this trend by designing a fine collection. Plastic is back! Combined with the teak collection and aluminium series Hartman remains a leading outdoor furniture manufacturer. Brand awareness rises to over 80%!
In this active market Hartman can continue to rely on its excellent reputation and innovative character. Furniture and accessories branded Hartman are in the eyes of the consumer more associated with luxury than the furniture of other manufacturers. This amount of goodwill Hartman has at retailers and the public undoubtedly plays an important role in its success.
Finally, the large international sales makes it possible for Hartman to offer its quality and design at extremely competitive prices. Hartman therefore remains a stable, innovative and popular outdoor furniture brand with a bright future.
Manufacturer of steel garden furniture
Consumers have discovered the pleasures of outdoor living and many people decide to purchase garden furniture. The typical steel - and often foldable - camping furniture was equipped with cushions using elastics and/or hook systems.
This change in outdoor living not only takes place in the Netherlands. Also in the surrounding countries such as Belgium, Germany and the UK consumers embrace outdoor living en masse. Often even earlier than in the Netherlands, outdoor living becomes commonplace and the demand for proper garden furniture is already much higher than in the Netherlands.
Erwin Kroll, the sympathetic television weatherman who presented the weather forecast at the NOS television station from the 80s in a distinctive way, became a national television hero in de 90s. In 1991 in Paris he was even proclaimed "the most communicative weatherman in the world".
On the first beautiful spring day on a Sunday in 1992 this weatherman spontaneously labelled the beautiful weather during his broadcast as “it's Hartman-weather again”. This obviously gave the brand a great boost. It proved the enormous brand awareness of Hartman.
The designers at Hartman created a true masterpiece by designing the adjustable Da Vinci chair. No other (outdoor) furniture has such a successful and long production life as this model. And even today, the Da Vinci series is one of the most successful types of furniture from the Hartman collection.
The market that has been created in the area of outdoor furniture is no longer dominated by only trend-setting manufacturers. More providers have entered the market and offer similar-looking products with a large price range. Hartman has a reputation as a high-quality supplier of affordable outdoor furniture and does its best to communicate this via the familiar mass media.
Thanks to the sophisticated use of these communication channels, the name recognition of the Hartman brand has increased to a level of more than 80%. With that, the brand is the most well-known in the outdoor furniture industry. This is an important result in order to be able to continue to realise the sales of the furniture via the well-known sellers, whereby the market share even in this market is still rising.