Over 270 years ago, in 1746, art and commerce came together when Jean-Henri DOLLFUS decided to go into business with two other young entrepreneurs, Jean-Jacques SCHMALZER and Samuel KOECHLIN.
Capitalising on a craze forpainted fabrics and Jean-Henri’s artistic talent, they pioneered the manufacturing of hand-painted Indian prints in Europe. From then on and for many years the company devoted itself to just the one activity, printing on fabrics. The firm was run jointly by Jean-Henri DOLLFUS and his brother Jean. Long before the term globalisation was on everyone’s lips, these two men already had international ambitions for their company and were soon exporting their fabrics to every part of the world.
Towards the end of the 18th century, Jean-Henri DOLLFUS’s nephew, Daniel DOLLFUS, took over the running of the family firm. In Spring 1800, he married Anne-Marie MIEG and gave his firm a new name, DOLLFUS-MIEG & Compagnie, or DMC.
In 1818, it was the turn of Jean DOLLFUS-MIEG to take over his father’s business. He would focus on quality, the marketing of the products and service. In 1850, while studying in Leeds, England, JEAN DOLLFUS-MIEG’s son discovered the invention of chemist JOHN MERCER, mercerisation, a process that involved treating cotton thread with caustic soda to give it strength, longevity and a silk-like lustre. It was also in the 19th century that DMC established close ties with the famous embroiderer, Thérèse de DILLMONT.
It was this talented woman’s friendship with Jean DOLLFUS-MIEG that led her to set up home in Dornach, a town near Mulhouse, where she then founded her own embroidery school, with the backing of DMC.Thérèse’s greatest achievement was her Encyclopaedia of Needlework, published in 1886 and translated and sold in 17 countries.After the 2nd WW, the company merged with Thiriez&Cartier Bresson, creating the name DMC.
Since then the well known horse head is part of its brand image. DMC has expanded its international reach. The DMC Group includes 3 English wool companies: Wool and the Gang, a trendy London brand, Sirdar and Rowan renowned in the market and based in West Yorkshire. Tilsatec is another addition to the Group. It is specialised in technical gloves used in manufacturing.
Its visual identity and logo were also given a makeover in 2017, but without disowning the past: the horse’s head was modernised and the date the company was founded was added underneath the three illustrious letters DMC. The boom in knitting and crochet has led the firm to develop numerous high-quality threads and to offer more and more handicraft ideas in its many crochet and knitting catalogues. 35 new Mouline Special colours were developed in 2017 to join the famous range of skeins of embroidery thread, whose numbers and shades have remained unchanged since they were created. And finally, Mouline Etoile, a new thread with sparkle effect joined DMC’s long list of
innovations in 2018.
Today, DMC intends to establish itself as the leader in the creative leisure and handicrafts market. The two centuries’ old Dollfus family motto is still as true as ever: TENUI FILO MAGNUM TEXITUR OPUS: «From a simple thread, a work of art is born». DMC’s quality products and extensive range of colours have withstood the test of time. The company’s commitment to quality remains as strong today as it was in the 18th century.
The DMC factory in Mulhouse still manufactures the best embroidery threads thanks to its exceptional knowhow, whilst maintaining the highest environmental standards, partly thanks to its own water recycling system. It was in 1994 that DMC was first awarded the international ISO 9002 certificate recognising the excellence of its manufacturing system, as well as Oeko-Tex 100 certification for its high environmental standards.
If DMC has been centre stage for so long, it is largely because it has succeeded in perpetuating tradition whilst changing with the times and constantly offering new products and fresh ideas. In 2015, DMC won the Innovation and Performance prize for a new customisation range.