- 1894The T.& A. Baťa Shoe Company registered in Zlín, Czechoslovakia, by the siblings Tomáš, Anna and Antonín Baťa – the eighth generation of Batas involved in shoe-making. Innovative from the beginning, the company rapidly departed from the traditional model of a single-owner cobblers’ workshop.
- 1895 Antonin left the company to join the army, his sister Anna followed shortly afterwards to get married. Tomáš Baťa took over the company’s leadership alone.
- 1897 Tomas introduced the Batovka, the first fabric shoe and with it mechanized manufacture.
- 1905 Production reached 2,200 pairs per day, made by 250 employees. Constant innovation of footwear was the endeavour in order to meet customers’ needs. Tomáš Baťa’s motto was: “The customer is our master.”
- 1909 Initial export sales and the first ever sales agencies occurred in Germany, the Balkans and the Middle East. Bata shoes were considered as excellent quality and were available in more styles than had ever been offered before. Demand grew rapidly.
- 1917 Sales reached 2 million pairs per year produced by 5,000 employees. Advanced production equipment was imported. As the company prospered, so did the communities where it operated. Bata created stores, erected housing, schools and hospitals near factories.
- 1922 Following the First World War, currencies were devalued and consumer purchasing power was at an all-time low. Bata cut shoe prices by 50%, and the stores ended up flooded with customers forcing the industry to follow their lead.
- 1925 The Bata System organized operations in autonomous workshops where an employee profit sharing scheme had been introduced in 1923. Everyone in the company was thought of as an entrepreneur. The Bata School of Work was founded. It provided rigorous education and vocational training to future Bata managers.
- 1929 Customs tariffs introduced. Bata responded by building factories in Switzerland, Germany, England, France, Yugoslavia, Poland, Holland, the USA and India. By the early 1930s, Bata was the world’s leading footwear exporter.
- 1932 Tragedy strikes when Tomáš Baťa was killed in a plane crash on the way to visiting a factory under construction in Switzerland. Under the leadership of Tomáš Baťa’s uncle, Jan Baťa, the company intensified diversification into the production of tyres, aircraft, bicycles and machinery. Thomas J. Bata, the young son of Tomáš Baťa, convened the first international congress of Bata’s young people.
- 1939 Bata ran 63 companies in various industries, but footwear remained their core business, with approx. 60 million pairs being sold per year in more than 30 countries.
- 1940 Part of the company’s management, under the leadership of Thomas J. Bata, started to operate from Batawa, near Toronto, Canada.
- 1945 All the Bata companies in Eastern European countries were nationalized by communist governments. The company started rebuilding itself from the remaining entities located outside such territories.
- 1960s The company’s headquarters were officially relocated in Toronto under the leadership of Thomas J. Bata.
- 1989 With the fall of Communism, Thomas Bata was invited by the new president, Vaclav Havel, to return to the Czech Republic and he received a hero’s welcome. A chain of shoe stores was opened, the headquarters of which was based in Zlin, and a small shoemaking factory began operations in Dolmi Nenci.
For a look at the Bata shoe organization today, please visit www.bata.com
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