Celebrating 150 years of tradition, luxury, craftsmanship, love and dedication to beauty and well being.
Acca Kappa dal 1869. Two words and one date that sum up the history of one of the premier Italian companies renowned around the world for its fine fragrances, hair brushes and toothbrushes, bath and beauty care products.
The words Acca Kappa are in fact the two initials of the company’s founder, Herman Krüll (in Italian “H” is read Acca and “K” is read Kappa). This little-known fact is the beginning of a story that takes us on a long journey from a humble import/export business to a globally recognized brand and the tale of the Krüll family, which has led the company since its founding in 1869.
This journey began with a German merchant of Prussian descent named Herman Krüll. In 1869, he created an import business specializing in bringing boar hair from China to Europe. He met an Italian businessman, Sironi, who had recently purchased a struggling horse brush factory near Treviso, a small town in northeast Italy near Venice. Sironi began purchasing raw materials from Mr. Krüll, but soon found himself unable to repay his debts and instead gave him a share of his business before eventually turning over the entire factory to Herman Krüll.
Mr. Krüll proved himself a skillful entrepreneur and it was not long until the marriage of German precision and Italian mastery gave life to a perfect mixture of superior quality, true refinement, and pure luxury which are found in Acca Kappa’s products to this day.
In 1898, Mr. Krüll issued a catalog that included 25 different types of brushes and he boldly expanded the company’s product lines to include brushes for fine rugs, bicycles, and dinnerware which quickly afforded Mr. Krüll an enviable reputation in the brush industry. He subsequently gained numerous high-profile customers such as the breeders of horses destined for the Royal British Scudery, for whom Mr. Krüll produced brushes with the engraved message “God Save the Queen”. Of unique distinction, Acca Kappa still possesses a document authorizing the printing of the Aostas Duke emblem for their use in the brushes once created especially for him to clean his beehives.
It was also in Italy where Mr. Krüll met his wife and started his family and it was the exquisite beauty of the Veneto region that ultimately beckoned him to settle down and set up permanent roots in Treviso where he built a new factory in Viale Luzzati 21, which to this day still houses Acca Kappa’s factory and offices.
Under Mr. Krüll’s innovative oversight, the business took flight and he soon had over five hundred employees and agents working for the company. But this fast track to new and prosperous heights was abruptly disrupted during the First World War in 1917, when all production was forcibly stopped and the city was evacuated. Although Mr. Krüll, his wife, and 6 children (6 boys, 1 girl) were Italians at heart, they were also of German descent and thus considered the enemy. This caused the expropriation of the company, which was then placed under employee management.
In the following years, under the care of the employees, the local bank soon had to inject funds into the company to ensure its survival. But it was ultimately not enough. Herman Krüll, who had chosen to stay in Treviso next to the factory during the entire conflict, wasn’t going to allow it to sink. In 1923, Mr. Krüll accomplished the monumental feat of buying back the company by sacrificing his prized collection of postage stamps, a lifelong passion, and securing a loan of two million liras, which he paid off shortly before his passing in 1936.
Subsequently, Walter Carlo Antonio, the fourth born son of Herman Krüll, assumed leadership and formally named the company Acca Kappa in honor of his father. By then, Acca Kappa’s production had grown to include brushes for hair, clothes, shoes, and even launched its first toothbrush product.
Unfortunately, Acca Kappa was again taken away from the family during the Second World War, despite the Krülls being an integral part of Italian society and many records indicating the heroic acts of Herman Krüll Jr. during the conflict, including the rescue of six Italian patriots who had been captured by the Germans. However, it was not enough and once again their factory, as well as the family home, were confiscated in 1943.
By this time, Acca Kappa had become more than a business. Over the years, it had become an essential part of the Krüll’s family identity. After several years and lots of hard work, Walter finally was able to reclaim the company and assumed leadership once again, preparing for the next journey into a prosperous age of success.
After the end of the World Wars, a new era of peace and prosperity ensued. By the 1950s, an innovative wave of marketing had emerged depicting colorful images of everyday life with ingenious, attention-grabbing titles and taglines. Acca Kappa adapted to this new era beautifully, enabling the company to achieve rapid growth over the next several years.
Upon Walter’s passing in 1984, the company was passed to the third generation of Krülls. They decided to name Piero Gudagnin, a loyal Acca Kappa employee since 1959, the new head of Acca Kappa.
In 1990, Elisa Gera, granddaughter of H. Krüll Jr. and daughter of Ursula Krüll, decided to follow in her great-grandfather Herman Krüll’s footsteps, assuming control of the company. She transformed Acca Kappa into a new era of strong, woman-owned leadership and brought a wave of fresh and inventive ideas. Acca Kappa soon launched its signature fragrance, White Moss, which quickly became an international phenomenon and it wasn’t long before a complete line of body care products followed.
Today, Acca Kappa offers fragrances for men, women, and home, and luxurious soaps and body washes, as well as rich and velvety body and hand lotions, skin care, home candles and a complete line of fine grooming products for men, and of course, the company’s signature and world-renowned hair brushes and toothbrushes.
All products are still exclusively conceived and manufactured in Italy without compromising the time-honored family tradition of craftsmanship that can be appreciated in every detail of their expansive line of products. Acca Kappa is formally present in over twenty countries and sold in some of the most iconic cities in the world such as Milan, London, Berlin, Moscow, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kuala Lampur, New York, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Taipei, and many more. The deep-rooted family traditions and company values of luxury, simplicity, quality and fine-tuned attention to detail have remained intact, preserving that perfect marriage of German precision and Italian masterful artistry that was brought to this company by Herman Krüll. From the time of its humble beginnings 150 years ago, these values can still be seen today as you stroll along the halls of their original factory.
On this stroll, you will be able to take in the sights of employees, many of them close to retirement after a lifetime at the company, and many more of them also being sons and daughters of already retired employees. Continuing to add to the multi-generational legacy of craftsmanship and absolute passion for simplicity and authentic beauty that can be seen in every tiny detail of every item produced. Because of this, you will be able to see them smiling and taking pride in their work or enjoying a hot cup of espresso during lunch time in the typical Italian flower filled factory courtyard. A world of sensory and olfactory experiences, much like the factory itself, inspired by the fragrances of the many abundant botanical gardens found across Italy. An environment that, in today’s world, would be more consistent with a small more intimate family owned artisan shop than a globally successful company. And yet, Acca Kappa has successfully maintained this balance of both family dynamic and productivity, beautifully and gracefully for the last 150 years and hopes to continue to do so for many generations to come.