Karl Fazer was a brave pioneer of his time. Young man wanted to be a confectioner, even though the profession wasn’t highly regarded, and his father was opposed to the idea. In spite of that, 18-year-old Karl travelled to St. Petersburg, Berlin and Paris to learn how to do magic with dough. The person who came home from his travels was a 25-year-old pioneer of confectionary, eager to show his skills and create meaningful products.
The dream came true in 1891 when Karl opened a patisserie and café on Kluuvikatu 3, at the center of Helsinki. That Karl Fazer café quickly became one of Helsinki’s landmarks and a popular meeting spot. Classics from the café’s first years are still available, such as sweet confiture de lait pastries. Karl brought the recipe for de confiture de lait from St. Petersburg. Now, our 550 bakers and confectioners boldly develop new products, thereby continuing Karl’s legacy in every Fazer country.
One day a young woman entered the café
Every love story begins from a word. For one Mrs. Fazer, they may very well have been: “One hot cocoa, please”. Karl and Berta Fazer’s journey together started in the beginning of the 1890’s, when college student Berta Lovisa Blomqvist decided to stop by Fazer’s café on Kluuvikatu. In a short time, it had become a popular spot especially amongst students, and Berta was no exception.
When Berta and Karl’s eyes met, they put to motion one of the crucial turning points in the history of Finnish companies. The young couple got married in 1894 and had four children. Karl and Berta labored passionately and as equals to create and develop their family business.
Berta used to playfully claim that she’d rather spend the whole day in the corner of their sofa with her English embroidery work. That was not the case. Berta became a key figure in the young company, and one of the strongest leading figures at Fazer. She was involved in planning the production, took care of accounting and financial statements, handled the cash register when needed, and in the beginning, fed the employees of the young company.
From a café to confectionary and expanding the business abroad
We’re all familiar with the deliciousness of Kiss-Kiss candy, Mignon chocolate eggs, and Geisha. In addition to cakes and pastries, Karl Fazer loved creating sweets. Pihlaja-candy was born in the legendary café of Kluuvikatu, and in 1897 Karl opened a confectionary factory in Punavuori, Helsinki. Sweets were imported ever since the beginning, and their popularity made Karl one of the most famous Finns of his time in Europe.
Being the active innovator that he was, Karl also began manufacturing macaroni, cookies, and margarine. Over a century later, creating new and bravery to explore are still part of our days, and we’re importing to over 40 countries. Nowadays vegetables and oats are important ingredients in our products.
Success is only possible while doing things together
Karl and Berta Fazer worked side by side in the company, as partners. Berta’s role was great especially during the first decades of the company, but also long after Karl passed away in 1932. Berta travelled a lot and gathered ideas for recipes and advertisements all around the world. The couple had a strong common vision of the company’s style and visual representation, and Berta was the one realizing it: the decorated shop windows of the Kluuvikatu café were her tour de force.
In her time, Berta was an example of women being able to lead a family business. Her ideas and visions helped Fazer products to dinner tables in Finland and around the world. Berta was a trailblazer and understood that daycare centers would offer women an equal opportunity to work. She had an impact on Fazer opening a daycare center for their employees in 1951.
Later on, Fazer’s children were included in the company’s operations too. In 1939 Sven Fazer became CEO carrying on the work his parents had started. Nowadays Fazer is still a family business. However, instead of a small nuclear family, there are already around 9 000 employees working with us.