“Our product is my passion,” says Alexandra Helbling, Managing Director of Calida AG. She has many years of experience in the clothing industry, having been employed by various companies in a variety of functions before she joined Calida in 2011 as Head of Brand & Product. Then in 2018 she was offered the position of Managing Director. For Alexandra Helbling, the appeal of this new function was that it gave her the opportunity to substantially further develop the brand. In addition, she could be in the driver’s seat herself, fully invest her energy and passion and decisively co-determine the future of the company. “In this function I am active in so many different fields and work together with a broad range of people. I find that truly rewarding.”
Calida reoriented itself at an early stage on the changes in the market. On the one hand it had to internalise the omnichannel concept as a brand and ideally network the online and offline channels in order to offer its clients a holistic brand experience. And on the other hand, the topic of sustainability has gained in importance in the clothing sector too. “We were one of the first brands to bring a biodegradable shirt onto the market.” Particularly in the textiles sector it can take a while before changes in the various processes can be successfully implemented and made visible. “The shirt was the first step. In the meantime we are able to encompass all product groups with our 100 % Nature range and have just released a fully biodegradable “capsule collection” as our latest coup in cooperation with Viktor & Rolf – within just four months from the initial sketch through to the finished product.” Working at this pace is essential, because in today’s world fashion companies increasingly have to be on the ball and flexible. Nonetheless, as a traditional Swiss brand Calida faces the challenge of finding a balance that meets the approval of its loyal clientele and also appeals to new client groups. “The more conscious approach to buying clothing that is becoming apparent is in line with our strategy. We have never produced fast fashion and have always focused on high-quality and durable products. The feedback from our clients is very positive.”
Young people want to see a clear purpose in their work. They want to be able to work in a self-determined manner and enjoy a positive work/life balance.
Asked about the gender issue at Calida, Alexandra Helbling replies: “Diversity is standard practice at Calida. 60 percent of our management positions are occupied by women.” A company with a woman at the helm undoubtedly attracts other women who want to take on responsibility. Her advice to them: “Be authentic, stay true to yourself and stand up for what you believe in. And simply have confidence in yourself!” Generally speaking, she has noticed that young people in particular have a new understanding of work. The topic of sustainability is addressed in almost every job interview. “Young people want to see a clear purpose in their work. They want to be able to work in a self-determined manner and enjoy a positive work/life balance.”
The Swiss clothing and lifestyle brand, Calida, is a leading manufacturer of high-quality day wear, night wear and lounge wear for women, men and children. It employs more than 1,000 people worldwide and was established in 1941.