In the land of silver – the Hefra brand
I have often wondered how there can be so many old factories in Western Europe, sometimes existing for hundreds of years. And it’s quite difficult for us. Of course, many wars, nationalization of properties and communist repressions took their toll. So it’s no surprise that we should appreciate Polish brands with history with even greater fascination. Maybe there is not always continuity of prosperity on the market and rightful owners, but it is what it is. We have had many twists and turns in history and every company that existed before the war arouses curiosity and admiration in us.Premium products come from small European factories. Handmade, with great care, they show us the history of a real brand that is not afraid of its past. He is also not afraid to start a new war for the client and face the future. With a market full of mediocrity and mediocrity. It’s difficult, especially since today we fake everything we can and ultimately we don’t know what is original.Today I would like to introduce you to the Hefra brand. Which successfully continues over 200 years of tradition of producing beautiful silver-plated and silver products. I visited the company store in Warsaw and had a nice conversation with the president of the management board of Hefra, Mrs. Ewa Bałdyga, for which I am very grateful.Mrs. Ewa, thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to listen to Hefra’s honest story. I am even more pleased that Hefra is present with its luxury goods Luxury Products. I am looking forward to cooperation and I think that in my article I will show our readers how important a place your company occupies on the craft and factory map of Poland.Please tell us what is the history of the Hefra brand and what did your products do on the famous Batory ship?Good morningHEFRA is currently the only Polish manufacturer of cutlery and tableware that produces products entirely of silver, silver-plated or made of stainless steel. We continue the nearly 200-year-old tradition of the founding brothers Fraget and Henneberg. The brand has been offering its customers exclusive, top-quality tableware items for decades. Their sublime shapes combine modern technology with tradition and experience.The origins of the company date back to 1824, when an entrepreneur from France, Alfons Fraget, founded a modern clad factory at that time. The technologically advanced plant immediately became a valued supplier of exquisite silver and plating for wealthy elites, aristocracy and the most influential people in Poland and around the world. Success quickly awakened competition. One of the former employees of the Fraget brothers, Juliusz Józef Henneberg, opened his own “silver” business in 1856. After World War I, both Fraget and Henneberg boasted excellent sales results. The factories supplied supplies to the most important hotels and casinos, ministries and government institutions. Fraget’s pledges even appeared on the first voyage of the “Batory” ship, which sailed from Gdynia to America in 1936.After World War II, both the Fraget and Henneberg Brothers factories were largely destroyed, looted and nationalized. The products regained their former glory only on January 1, 1965, when it was decided to merge the Fraget factory with the Henneberg plant. The HEFRA brand, known today, was created from the founders’ surnames. Nearly 200 years later, both silver and plated products are still appreciated by customers, and the history of Fraget and Henneberg products is still being written.What distinguishes Hefra from other old Polish companies?The offer includes, for example, cutlery that has been produced for over 100 years. Customers appreciate this very much because they can, for example, replace the missing tableware elements without having to buy a whole new set. HEFRA, just like in the old days, today means splendor and serves as a desirable gift for all special occasions, from weddings to more intimate celebrations.All cutlery is handmade by craftsmen with many years of experience. Products undergo quality control at every stage of production. In addition to aesthetic values, cutlery also has antibacterial properties. Additionally, silver cutlery (no nickel content) is bought by people struggling with allergies.How does Hefra combine old craft methods with modern technology?One of the distinguishing features of HEFRA is the fact that cutlery and tableware are produced largely by handicraft. And in this respect, little has changed over these almost 200 years. HEFRA is still a small factory in which a significant part of production is based on the work of human hands. Grinding, brushing, polishing, perfecting the ornaments on individual handles – it’s all manual, artistic work. Therefore, we can be proud that each HEFRA cutlery has been individually refined and pampered to finally reach our tables and delight the eyes with its perfect workmanship. It is an added value to our silver and plating that they are not produced in mass, mechanical production, but are the product of craftsmanship.Is the brand entirely Polish?Warszawska Fabryka Platerów is a 100% Polish company. The cutlery offered by Hefra is made in Poland using Polish materials. A manufacturer’s certificate is issued for each cutlery set. The brand has been awarded many times and appreciated for supporting the Polish economy and crafts. She was awarded, among others, the prize awarded in the “100% Polish Product” plebiscite of the weekly “Do Rzeczy”, and was also presented at the Polish Economic Exhibition organized by the President of the Republic of Poland.What will young people find in Hefra?Tradition says that a young couple should move into a new house with their own spoon. This is why giving the newlyweds a set of cutlery is such a popular wedding gift. But Hefra products are dedicated not only to newlyweds. Young people greatly appreciate handmade products that are unique and not mass produced. HEFRA cutlery is also a good that raises your status and demonstrates good taste. Such tableware is a great addition to your home. It is also important that this type of cutlery is no longer just a so-called special occasions. Young people are well aware of the antibacterial properties of silver, known for centuries, so they use the items every day. They also appreciate that it is a Polish and classic product that will work well in many table arrangements during important family gatherings.What is the most famous Hefra collection related to the history of Poland?Most of the collection, among the thirteen HEFRA models, is related to history. Many of them date back to the 19th century and were created by Józef Fraget, one of the founding fathers of HEFRA. The names of the HEFRA cutlery models themselves refer to the history of Poland, such as the Duchy of Warsaw, or to other European cultures, such as the oriental Eastern model or the Romanesque model. The creators of the HEFRA models wanted not only to emphasize the quality and prestige of the cutlery collection, but also, through such universal names, to make these products timeless and memorable to this day.The collection also includes the Imperial model, which was created on the occasion of the 190th anniversary of the Warsaw Plating Factory HEFRA, as well as on the occasion of the upcoming 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence. To add importance to this collection, this model is only produced in silver.Do you produce items to special order?All Hefra products can be gold plated. This form of order is also very popular. It is also possible to make any shape, but it is a separate process that takes longer. However, Hefra’s customers can choose from a really wide range. In addition to cutlery, the offer also includes silver chess, sugar bowls, fruit baskets, etc.What was the craziest order?Every day we receive many orders, more or less standard. However, in the case of silver and silver-plated cutlery or table accessories, it is difficult to talk about “madness”. Customers appreciate the dignity and beauty of our products in our products. What can distinguish HEFRA cutlery or accessories is, of course, the engraving. And here, most often, our clients choose initials, dates or special characters individually.Certainly one of the most interesting events in HEFRA’s life was the handing over of the “Storks” birthday spoon to the newborn Prince Louis. A spoon engraved with the prince’s name, date and time of birth was sent to Great Britain. In addition, we fulfill many orders for the so-called gifts or gadgets for museum stores, e.g. spoons with a mermaid engraving for the Museum of Warsaw, or with the image of Fryderyk Chopin, for museums dedicated to this artist.We are very proud of orders carried out at the request of the Chancellery of the President, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister or Embassies, where we also often fulfill non-standard orders. We are always open to suggestions and willing to take on new challenges.What should a modern Poland brand have?Poles are tired of the repetition of goods and having the same thing as the neighbor next door. Cutlery has become so common that it is practically impossible to guess who makes it at first glance. In the case of HEFRA it is different. Our products are a brand in themselves. Poles are increasingly looking for originality, but also quality, in products. This is why hand-finished tableware is back on Polish tables and HEFRA is in the minds of customers.Is silver a good idea for diversifying your investment portfolio?Purchasing silver in the form of handmade tableware is capital for many long years. At any time, you can put such a product on the table, which will give a wonderful character to an important celebration. It is something very tangible and authentic, but also valuable. This is a great idea for investing your funds. Shopping is usually well thought out because Poles pay attention to what they invest in, and in this case also what we call “table jewelry” because they use it. Simply. Today, alternative investments cover an extremely wide range of products and services. In the era of various opportunities and offers on the investment market, it is sometimes difficult to estimate what is worth investing in. However, the HEFRA brand has existed for nearly 200 years and produces items made with extraordinary precision and to a consistently high standard. In addition, it is worth adding that silver, like gold, will always be a valuable metal.Mrs. Ewa, thank you for a nice and uplifting meeting. After the war, our country lost many valuable monuments, and the same happened to factories. That’s why today we hear more and more about reviving pre-war brands. In my opinion, this is a good direction, the right path and a recipe for ubiquitous mass production. People are increasingly looking for real and original inspirations for their interiors. Hefra is one such inspiration. Its history proves the steadfastness, strength and attachment of employees to their brand.Long-standing companies should show their rich history, without any distortions. So just be honest in what they do and that’s a luxury. At the same time, look to the future in harmony with new technologies, without forgetting the old art of craftsmanship. Luxury Products consists of hundreds of old European factories with an extremely rich history. I’m glad that the Hefra brand is with us!