"Dear Mr Stiegelmeyer ..." – this is how letters and e-mails to our company still begin today. They come more than a hundred years too late, because our company founder and namesake Johann Stiegelmeyer only ran his Herford steel wire mattress factory for a few years from 1900, after which he went to Hanover and founded another company. In Herford, his partner Albert Dörnte took over the company. His daughter Grete married Dietrich von Hollen, who in turn is an ancestor of today's shareholder family Kemmler.
Although the archives of the Stiegelmeyer Group contain many interesting documents from the 20th century, little is known about the company founder and his further life. Above all, there is no photo of him. This "gap" was a great inspiration when planning our new corporate video.
For the first time ever, the decision was made at the end of 2021 to summarise the strengths of the Stiegelmeyer Group in a corporate image film. The expectations were great: the history and experience of the company should be just as tangible as our emotional connection with the people in health and nursing care. And of course the video should present our employees with pride and appreciation.
So it was an idea as obvious as it was appealing to finally give Johann Stiegelmeyer a face again and give him the role of the narrator. The young, impulsive entrepreneur builds the bridge from the eventful past to the successful and forward-looking present.
In addition to developing the storyboard, choosing the right "Johann" was one of the first joint tasks with the Hamburg film company The Shack and our Bielefeld advertising agency Scanlitho. The historical Johann Stiegelmeyer (1874 - 1943) was 25 years old when he founded his company. He was considered a charismatic bon vivant with a lot of temperament. And in contrast to the historical original, the video successor also had to be a native German and English speaker in order to be able to speak himself in the international film version.
The choice quickly fell on Hamburg actor Yannik Raiss, who ideally met all the requirements. The first part of the video shoot with the historical introduction took place in The Shack's Hamburg studio. Beforehand, all those involved had researched on the internet: What did a workshop look like around 1900? What hairstyles and beards did men wear back then? How could a "steel wire mattress" – the first Stiegelmeyer product – be depicted in the background?
The final set had an impressive depth and even included branches moved by a wind machine in front of the window, imitating the forest of Rödinghausen near Herford. The utmost precision prevailed down to the smallest detail – for example, a fountain pen was taken from the actor's hand at the last second, which had not existed around 1900. The Yannik Raiss wowed the crew and marketing team with his intense performance.
The second day of filming took place at the Stiegelmeyer headquarters in Herford and required logistical excellence. Here, around 40 colleagues appeared in several small scenes, which were spread out every minute throughout the day and the company campus. From morning to night, participants went into make-up and out in front of the camera. There was no dress code, but there were a few rules: no shimmering plaid or flickering herringbone!
It speaks highly of the passion and discipline of the entire team that everything went completely smoothly. Some colleagues had travelled from the locations in Poland and Thuringia, field staff had made a stop in Herford. At noon, a meeting of the management was filmed from numerous camera perspectives. Everyone was in a good mood and persevered.
The finished film is something to behold. Customers and interested parties who want to get to know our company get a good impression of our energy and motivation. They come to know how much our work is close to our hearts and how important the people who live and work with our products are to us. And the employees themselves feel how important a strong team and good cooperation are.
What character the historical Johann Stiegelmeyer actually possessed can no longer be determined. And yet, as his successors, we are confident that he would have been proud of us.