Freitag: Designing the agile company (Video case)
Case Study

Freitag: Designing the agile company (Video case)

September 2014
Reference: IMD-7-1498

FREITAG is one of the most unusual companies in the fashion industry, specializing in bags made of recycled truck tarpaulins. The company was founded in 1993 by two graphic designers, the Swiss brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag. The brothers work as joint Creative Directors and fully own the company, thanks to their strategy of organic growth. The FREITAG video-only case is based on extensive personal interviews with the two founders, Markus and Daniel, and the CEO of the company, Monika Walser, who they brought in later to professionalize the firm. The videos were taped in various locations, including the FREITAG headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Zurich, in late 2013. The case focuses on the unique approach to agility that FREITAG applies to its business operations: seizing opportunities as they come, staying open to change and being creative. The case also highlights the unique governance of a company where the Creative Directors report to a CEO who, in turn, reports to them as the shareholders of the company. As a whole, the FREITAG story illustrates the journey of entrepreneurship: two brothers who went from hand-crafting bicycle messenger bags to running an upscale international brand.

Learning Objective
  • The FREITAG case goes beyond the “agility” buzzword to show how a company creates an agile management culture with agile processes. Originally a concept from the high-tech industry, agility can also make sense for a creative company that designs and manufactures accessories.
  • A second key learning from the FREITAG case revolves around the unique leadership triad of Monika Walser, the CEO, and the two brothers, who are the founders/owners/creative directors of the company. What is their governance model? How has that model evolved from the start-up stage to the fully professional, 300-person company stage?
Keywords
Agility, Entrepreneurship, Growth, Governance, Chief Executive Officer, Decision Making, Creativity, Diversification, Corporate Culture, Design, Private Company
Settings
Switzerland
Freitag, Apparel and Fashion
1 year
Type
Field Research
Copyright
© IMD 2014
Language
English
Related material
Teaching note, Video
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre, UK Office

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Fax +44 (0)1234 751125
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

The Case Centre, US office

Babson College

Babson Park, Wellesley MA 02457, USA
Tel +1 781 239 5884
Fax +1 781 239 5885
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]

Contact

Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Looking for something specific?
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics