tr?id=790146684351692&ev=PageView&noscript=1 ZANIER Gloves – high quality gloves and accessories for outdoor sports - Achieving success with humility and heart and soul

Achieving success with humility and heart and soul

It has been 50 years since Werner Zanier and his wife Gabi showed a lot of courage. In 1969, the two East Tyroleans dared to take the step into self-employment with their own glove brand. What started out as a small company with a great deal of financial risk has now become Austria's market leader in the field of winter sports gloves.

All or nothing

Werner has worked hard to acquire his expertise. "We had a sporting goods store in Lienz and sold gloves from a Canadian manufacturer. During my time as a ski trainer in the USA I visited the firm and learned everything about glove production." In 1969 Werner and Gabi dared to take the step into the unknown. They put all their eggs in one basket without knowing if and how the business would go. "All our heart and soul went into this project. At the beginning it was of course difficult to get orders as a new company and therefore we had to be fully committed and involved."

Honest and human

This passion for their business is also reflected in their philosophy. The customer is king and they have to be satisfied. They therefore worked closely with athletes early on in the development phase. In the meantime, the Austrian mountain rescue service has also been equipped with Zanier gloves and constantly provides input for product development, because "mountain rescue services in particular know what is needed on the mountain!" Production was also always "fair". "We have always only worked with companies and factories that produce fairly. I have always inspected the factories personally and strictly checked the working conditions. This makes production more expensive, but I couldn't honestly back the products otherwise."

A bumpy slope

There have of course been ups and downs over the 50 years. Not much snow fell in Tyrol in the 89/90 and 90/91 winters. "There were no snow cannons yet and so we had full stocks and almost no turnover. Two bad winters in a row were really tough for us," he remembers. However, there were never any doubts in the project. The following winters were "white" again and things started looking up again.

Success through innovation

"I never thought we'd be this successful one day," says Werner modestly. "We've always tried to be one step ahead and set ourselves apart from other manufacturers." In 1999 Zanier was the first company to launch a heated glove on the market. They tinkered around for almost three years, and suitable batteries were finally found "on their own doorstep" at an Austrian company. Another highlight were the first gloves with GPS technology. Customers also like this spirit of innovation as the brand is experiencing a real business high.


A new chapter

Their son Markus has been running the company in the second generation for more than ten years now. Werner does feel a bit wistful. "Of course it wasn't easy to give up full responsibility at the start, after all Gabi and I built it all up from nothing. But Markus is doing incredibly well and that makes me very proud." However, Werner was no longer on board for the move from East Tyrol to Innsbruck. "You can't move an old tree," he laughs. The move to the "heart of the Alps" was the right decision for Zanier though.


Here's to the next 50 years

The market is not getting any easier, but more and more difficult. However, "Markus will be fine and our success to date has always proved us right," says Werner confidently. "I'm curious to see what Markus will get off the ground in the next 50 years!"

We're also curious to see where the next few years will take us. Many thanks for your commitment and the interview Werner!