Mühle Director, Christian Müller, talks about the Family Business
70+ years of History, Artistry, and Family
Here at The Art of Shaving, we love to scour the world for partner brands that advocate our same passion and thirst for providing our Brotherhood with The Perfect Shave. Mühle has been a match made in heaven (beard hair heaven that is) since we launched a curated collection of their products in our stores in 2012. Hailing from Germany, this brand is a perfect combination of function and design. Each piece is expertly crafted with a tradition passed from generation to generation.
We recently had the chance to sit down with Christian Müller, Director of Mühle, to get an in-depth look at their heritage and shaving philosophy.
TAOS: Tell us a bit about Mühle… CHRISTIAN: The company was founded by our grandfather in 1945, after he returned from war. Things were difficult at first and he started out with washing bristles for other brush manufacturers around [the town] before he actually thought about making brushes. The business grew in the 50’s and the brand “MÜHLE“ was (officially) founded. In the early 60’s, [our] brushes were exported in 36 countries all over the world. After the death of the founder in 1965, our father took over the management of the company. We [were] forced to sell the business under pressure of the state and it became a publicly owned operation under the East German Regime in 1972. Following the political changes in 1989, we took the chance to get it back into private hands. The first years were a real challenge, but business developed in the late 90’s and we continued to work [hard creating] the brand and its image.
TAOS: Such a fascinating heritage. Looking at how Mühle has grown and developed over the last 70-plus years, where is your current factory? How many people do you employ and in what type of positions? CHRISTIAN: The factory is located in the southeastern part of Germany, called Erz-mountains, close to the Czech border. We currently employ 70 people at the site, mainly in artisan positions such as brush and knife makers.
TAOS: What made you want to get into the world of men’s shaving accessories? CHRISTIAN: It was given by the family tradition and somehow expected to take over the company which I run together with my brother Andreas now.
TAOS: It is not only a job, it’s your family heritage. Pretty cool. What makes your accessories so special? Can you tell us a bit about how they are manufactured for our readers? CHRISTIAN: Mühle is standing for a more contemporary design, cleaner looks and a modern approach in this rather traditional business. We try to manufacture the majority of the products in house, the brush[es] are tied by hand here on site and we produce most of the brush and razor handles in house.
TAOS: Where does Mühle (and you) see the future of shaving going? We have seen the increase of the beard, but are starting to see a trend back toward clean shaven… What do you see? CHRISTIAN: I completely agree, there is the beard and this will always be substantial business, but we have reached the peak and also see the trend towards clean shaven. On the other hand, the beard trend has not really hurt us as these people are extremely open to our products. We have also benefited from the massive barbershop opening which is an important customer base for our brand.