Karl Toosbuy - the founder of ECCO - had a dream. He wanted to own a shoe factory and run his own business. Trained from an early age as a shoemaker, he gradually rose through the ranks and by his early thirties was managing a shoe factory in Copenhagen. The business, however was not his. So he decided to give up the security of a regular job, sell his home and move to Bredebro on the west coast of Denmark, just north of the German border. With his wife Birte and five-year-old daughter, Hanni, he rented a small house and took over an empty factory built by the local community to help create jobs in what was a predominantly agricultural town.

Although the early days were difficult, Karl Toosbuy remained committed to his goal. A visionary, single-minded entrepreneur, he, along with a small team, developed a range of truly innovative products and introduced pioneering production methods. Karl Toosbuy, in fact, became the first shoemaker to realize that shoes had to be made to fit the foot, thereby breaking with centuries of shoemaking tradition. As a result, functional, comfortable ECCO shoes were launched in the 1970’s and became an instant success.

Throughout his long career, Karl Toosbuy constantly challenged himself and others, be it staff, suppliers or customers, and set himself the task of doing things better, faster, and differently. He adopted different approaches and ideas and constantly pressed for improvements. This gradually evolved into the ECCO culture; an uncompromising determination and commitment to achieve goals and objectives. Nevertheless, he never forgot his background. Nothing was more important to Karl than the quality of the shoes. This more than anything else, lay at the heart of his dream.


In April 1963, ECCO started out with 16 employees and one market. Today, operating in 50 markets across the world, the global ECCO family comprises 17,000 members. We are a medium-sized family business, proud of our heritage and with a strong platform because our products are relevant in today’s world. Our customers look for quality, reliability and stylish comfort and they get all this from ECCO. Our employees are the heart of our business. We are aware that without skilled, loyal and hardworking employees, ECCO could not deliver and we do our very best to ensure we never become a business where people are just numbers. Wherever possible, we believe in creating a sense of family, a feeling of belonging. We strive to provide lifelong education, good career prospects and interesting challenges in order to maintain a high level of job satisfaction. Nor do we ever forget we are shoemakers striving to make first-class products. We want our customers to rely on ECCO to deliver the highest quality standards, a great fit and good-looking shoes at a sensible price. ECCO will always stand for affordable luxury.