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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Top 10 Polish Brands You Should Know

Dearest hearts,

Poland is one very particularly proud country. I have never seen any other inhabitants of any other country more in love with their homeland. It is, as if, through their veins history and patriotism flows and if you would cut them they would bleed history... Anywhere you go, everywhere you turn, this land has small "post its" all over herself - small reminders of heroic acts done by its inhabitants. That is maybe why they are always so keen in buying products made in Poland, sustaining also the local economy by having almost all the time trade fairs. Today I will tell you my personal favourite 10 brands from Poland that I love and buy things from quite frequently.
1. Inglot - Founded over 30 years ago in a small town of Przemyśl, INGLOT Cosmetics is now one of the world’s leading manufacturers in colour cosmetics. INGLOT has right now international presence and it is a brand respected WorldWide - from the Fashion TV gala to the Broadway productions, the make up artists now use INGLOT and give it praise on the social media. The colors used are vibrant and you cannot find them elsewhere, but at the same time they company produces them with natural ingredients and pushes them to the market with a fair price. The range consists of over 1,500 colours with over 450 ways to improve your lips, 600 ways to enhance your eyes, and over 300 ways to portray your face, while the extremely rich collection of nail polishes consists of up to 400 shade (source). 
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Plus, they have developed this Freedom System that is just brilliant! The Freedom System Palettes come in a range of sizes and for a range of products. A magnetic layer on the bottom of the palette holds pans in place, but also allows you to rearrange and exchange each item for convenience and easy product replenishment. The unique Freedom System allows you to mix and match products and colors to make your own custom designed palette of almost any size. All INGLOT Freedom System products come in eco-friendly reusable palettes. You can mix and match and buy only the ingredients you need and replace them on the palette - you can have 2 lipstick, one eye shadow and 2 blush powders all in the same place!
2. Ziaja - Ziaja Ltd was founded in 1989 by pharmacists, Alexandra and Zenon Ziaja in Gdańsk, Poland. Now after 25 years it is one of the biggest cosmetics company in Poland. Zenon Ziaja gained his pharmaceutical experience in a hospital pharmacy. Back then, many medicines, especially ointments, were produced by on site pharmacies following doctors’ formulas. Zenon found this work very interesting and this small scale production quickly became his hobby. In his free time he experimented with own formulations and thus the idea of his own company was born. 
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In the early years Zenon and his wife Alexandra did everything themselves in the company, from manufacturing the creams, to packing them and delivering to the shops all over Poland. Following the same company’s philosophy regarding product formulation soon other creams were introduced. Sales grew quickly and the company had to employ people to help fulfill the increasing demand. Zenon decided  to keep the role of delivering the products himself.  He liked talking to people, finding out what they thought about his products, and what else they may need. The wonderful thing about Ziaja is that it has high quality, natural products, at a extremely low price. We have a lot of products that we use inside the house from Ziaja and I truly recommend this brand ;)
3. Wedel Chocolate - Founded in 1851 by Karol Ernest Wedel (1813-1902), the company and its products became known in most of Central and Eastern Europe. The logo of the company is based on Karol Wedel's signature. His son Emil Albert Fryderyk Wedel (1841-1919) apprenticed in candy and chocolate factories in Western Europe before inheriting and expanding his father's business. His descendant Jan Wedel (d. 1960), the last member of the Wedel family to own the company, was considered "the Willy Wonka" of pre-war Poland. In 1894 the company moved its main factory from Szpitalna street in Warsaw. 
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In 1934, during the time of the Great Depression, Jan Wedel opened a second factory in Praga, one of the most modern in the Second Polish Republic.The company was also known for its very generous social welfare policies. As one of the first in Europe, it had its own creche, kindergarten, hospital and cafeteria, and rewarded its best employees with no-interest housing loans; its model was highly acclaimed by the Polish Socialist Party. Hence prior to World War II, Wedel became a successful private company, with shops in London and Paris (source). If ever you are in Poland or in a Wedel shop, no matter where, do try out my personal favourite: Ptasie Mleczko - chocolate covered marshmallow. In Poland, Jan Wedel, owner of the E. Wedel Company, developed the first Ptasie mleczko in 1936. Wedel's inspiration for the name (translated it would mean "the milk of the bird"/"bird's milk") of the confectionery came from his voyages to France, when he asked himself: "What could bring greater happiness to a man who already has everything?" Then he thought: "Maybe only bird milk."
4. SURGE Polonia - Surge Polonia was founded 11.11.11 (simbolic date for the Polish people). The brand name comes from the cries of "Surge Polonia" (Arise Polish) on the banner of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, commanded by General. Sosabowski - the patron saint of the brand, which became famous in participating in the largest-ever airborne operation code-named "Market Garden" in September 1944. This is the world's first patriotic clothing brand that combines a patriotic theme with the latest trends in design! The brand was created by a group of friends that were (and still are) very much in love with Polish history. 
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I must admit their ambition sounded at first quite hard to achieve, but looking on the streets in different cities in Poland and seeing people wearing more and more of their products, I must admit that makes you have faith in them. Their ambition is to create a widely recognizable apparel brand associated with high quality and patriotic message. They have engaged Polish young talents (designers) and created models that attract the eye and make you want to wear the products. In order to better match the different clothing to your individual characteristics, brand assortment is divided into lines: Army, Classic, Sports and Chic. Army line clothing and accessories is designed for persons engaged in patriotic style of life and at the same time interested in militaria and military, while a clothes line Classic addressed to people who value individualism and originality, who are not afraid to show affection to their own country. Sports clothing line is ideal for those who are physically active, they like challenges and cheer Polish national representations and Chic line of products are aimed at people who appreciate stylish design combined with discreet patriotic motives. I must admit that both me and Marek & our Polish family side love this shop and we bought t-shirts, hoodies and shirts from there, and now they have a new line of leather belts that we are thinking of buying ;)))
5-7. House - Cropp - Reserved - LPP S. A. (Lubianiec Piechocki i Partnerzy) is a large Polish retailing company based in Gdańsk whose brands include: Reserved, CroppTown, Reserved Kids, House, MOHITO and Sinsay. It has a total of more than 1,300 stores in Poland and abroad, mainly in central and eastern Europe. Besides Poland, stores are located in Germany, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Marek Piechocki has been president of the management board of LPP SA since it began trading publicly on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in 2000. The design center for the Reserved, Cropp and Sinsay brands is located in Gdańsk, while the center for House and MOHITO is in Kraków. These are actually the 3 shops I love to buy clothes from as the material is almost all the time 100% cotton :) The dressed from Reserved and House are very nicely cut and you feel comfortable as if you were wearing just your skin + the pijamas from Reserved are always very nice to wear and fluffy. 
 8. Kruk - W. KRUK is the oldest jewelry company in Poland, which has been established in 1840. The company joins manufacturing tradition lasting four generations and the latest international trends in jewelry world. In several dozen of W. KRUK company stores spreads over Poland the highest quality golden and silver jewelry, diamonds, precious stones and international famous brands watches are available. Every year W. KRUK presents own collections designed by the group of young designers from W.KRUK Design studio, which combines the fresh look with expression and can meet even the most courage tastes. My very own engagement ring, bought by my awesome husband all by himself! :) was bought from KRUK. He stole one of my rings and went bravely all by himself to the store to buy the perfect engagement ring. He did not manage at first try to find it and it was not exactly what he had in mind at the very beginning... but I must admit I love my engagement ring and I would trade it for no other :)
9. Matras Bookstore - You know about it if you are an old friend of this blog ;) In case you did not know, the Matras Bookstore located in the Main Square is the oldest bookshop in Europe! In 1473, in Kraków, Kasper Straube of Bavaria set up the first printing house in Poland and in 1513 Florian Ungler's printing press produced the first book ever to be printed entirely in the Polish language: 'Raj duszny' (Paradise of the Soul) by Biernat of Lublin. It should come as no surprise that in Kraków books are held in high esteem. Kraków is also the home of one of Europe's oldest universities and provides fertile ground to discuss books and issues to do with their sale and promotion, as well as a chance to meet those who are involved in the literary profession. The bookstore in the Rynek has also a very nice coffee shop that I recommend from the bottom of my heart! The cakes made there are also finger-licking good...
10. Coffee Heaven - Coffeeheaven (stylized as coffeeheaven) was a Central European coffee house business based in Warsaw, Poland. It operated specialty branded coffee/sandwich bars in Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary, with stores in Latvia trading under the brand name Coffee Nation. The company was formed in 1999 in Poland by Michael Ovadenko, with the first store opened in Gdynia the following year. In December 2001 the company listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, the first Polish-based business to do so. This enabled expansion across Central Europe, with the first store opening in Prague, Czech Republic in 2004, and Latvia in the same year. The company then acquired the seven existing stores of Coffee Nation, expanding to Riga. 
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As of January 2008, the group has 81 stores trading in six countries. coffeeheaven was one of the first of over 70 leading companies in Poland that are supporters of Foundation for Corporate Social Responsibility. In December 2009, Whitbread PLC subsidiary Costa Coffee agreed to acquire coffeeheaven group for £36 million. In 2011 all coffeeheaven cafés in the Czech Republic were rebranded to Costa Coffee. You might have realised how much I love this coffee shop due to my increased number of blog posts on it - example 1, example 2, example 3.

** This post was made out of love for Polish Brands. I was not repayed in any way and all the opinions are my very own, straight from the heart! The information was retrieved mostly from Wikipedia and the main sites that are linked to eash title of the brand. If you have a Polish Brand that you love I would love to hear about it :) **

Yours truly,
A LadyBug That Buys Products From Polish Brands Frequently! :)