NIVEA (pronounced [niˈveːaː]) is a German personal care brand that specializes in body-care. It is owned by the Hamburg-based company Beiersdorf Global AG. The company was founded on 28 March 1882, by Paul Carl Beiersdorf. In 1890, it was sold to Oscar Troplowitz. Troplowitz worked with his consultant Paul Gerson Unna and the German chemist Isaac Lifschütz, developed a new skin care cream. In 1900, Lifschütz developed a water-in-oil emulsion Eucerit, the first stable emulsion. This was the origin of Eucerin. Nivea comes from the Latin word niveus, meaning «snow-white».
During the 1930s, Beiersdorf started producing different kind of products such as tanning oils, shaving creams, shampoo and facial cleanser and toners. The trademark «NIVEA» was expropriated in many countries because of World War II. The confiscated trademark rights were completely bought back by Beiersdorf. During the 1980s, the NIVEA brand expanded into a wider global market.
Before World War I
1882: Pharmacist Paul Carl Beiersdorf establishes the company on March 28. NIVEA originated in Germany. The date of the patent document for the manufacture of medical plasters is taken as the date of the company’s formation.
Beiersdorf produces gutta-percha plasters in his laboratory on the basis of his patent, laying the foundations for modern plaster technology.
- 1890: Pharmacist Oskar Troplowitz (born in 1863 in the Prussian City of Gleiwitz — nowadays Gliwice, Poland) takes over the company.
- 1893: The first international cooperation agreement is concluded with U.S. trading company Lehn & Fink for the U.S.
- 1900: Patent application for Eucerit, an emulsifying agent. Eucerit is the basis for Eucerin and, later on, for NIVEA Creme.
- 1906: The first overseas branch is established in London.
- 1909: Labello is launched on the market. It is the first lip care product in sliding tube packaging. The term Labello is derived from Latin for «beautiful lip» (labeo = lip; bello = beautiful).
- 1911: NIVEA Creme – the first stable water-in-oil emulsion – is introduced. The emulsifying agent Eucerit is made from lanolin, found in sheep’s wool, and is the key to NIVEA Creme’s unique properties.
- 1918: The deaths of Oskar Troplowitz and his partner Otto Hanns Mankiewicz result in the formation of a formal company on June 1, 1922.
Between the wars
- 1922: Willy Jacobsohn takes over as Chairman of the Executive Board of the newly formed stock corporation. The first self-adhesive plaster is introduced under the name Hansaplast.
- In 1925, NIVEA remodeled its cream in a blue tin with a white logo.
- 1925: NIVEA is relaunched in blue packaging.
- 1928: Beiersdorf shares are listed on the Hamburg stock exchange for the first time. Over 20 production sites worldwide are already in operation.
- 1933: Under the pressure of National Socialist propaganda, the Jewish members of the Executive Board stepped down. Willy Jacobsohn, the former Chairman of the Executive Board, heads the foreign affiliates from Amsterdam until 1938.
By adopting a policy of «honorable tactics», the Beiersdorf Executive Board, under the leadership of Carl Claussen, steers the company through the Nazi period. Although Beiersdorf retains its own business culture, it must still cooperate with the regime.
- 1936: tesafilm, an innovative transparent adhesive film, is launched.
- 1941: tesa is introduced as the umbrella brand for self-adhesive technology.