The ESPRIT brand name is also licensed to other manufacturers. In addition, the Group owns the Red Earth cosmetics brand. The brand was particularly popular in the 1980s (Especially with suburban teenagers). It still remains quite popular with people of the middle income classes, due to its purified and classy image, especially in Germany, which is the biggest single market for the brand.
The company was started in San Francisco in the 1960s by Susie Russell (now Susie Tompkins Buell) and her then-husband, Douglas Tompkins, the founder of The North Face. Esprit Far East Group was born when Doug and Susie Tompkins met Michael Ying in 1971, the groups chairman and shareholder of Esprit. In that same year the company incorporated under the name of Esprit de corp. and seven product lines were created. The couple divorced in 1989, and Mr. Tompkins sold his shares in 1990.
Esprit Holdings Limited is created when sales topped $ 100 million and international partnerships in Hong Kong and Germany were formed in 1971. Later in the 70 John Casado designed the famous Esprit stencil effect logo. Despite worries that the triple-bar 'E' would not be legible to customers, the new logo became one of the most recognized in international fashion.
Cologne was the location of the first opening of an Esprit Store in Germany. The store was designed by Ettore Sottsass with typical elements of the Memphis Style.
During the 1980 Esprit experienced growth by expanding to Taiwan, the Netherlands, Belgium,Denmark, France, Norway and the UK. New product categories were introduced such as eyewear, timewear, bath+bed, socks+tights.
In 1993, the company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is a component of the Hang Seng Index. It has had a secondary listing on the London Stock Exchange since December 1998.
Esprit Holdings Ltd became a constituent stock of Morgan Stanleys MSCI Hong Kong Index.
Esprit Holdings Ltd. unified the global Esprit brand by purchasing the US trademarks and the remaining interests in Esprit International, bringing back the brand under the control of one single entity for the first time since the 1970s.
Ex-president Michael Ying stepped down Executive director in 2002 and subsequently resigned as the Chairman in 2006.
In 2008 Esprit celebrates its 40th anniversary with a number of activities across all divisions and license partners.
ESPRIT products are sold through over 640 directly managed retail stores and over 12,000 wholesale point-of-sales worldwide, occupying over 817,000 square meters directly managed retail space in more than 40 countries.
Esprit licenses its logo to third party licensees that offer products bearing the same Esprit quality and essence to consumers. Esprit also operates the Red Earth cosmetic brand which includes cosmetics, skin care and body care products.
ESPRIT has committed to conducting business in a responsible and suitable manner. The company became a member of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) established by the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) and have communicated to vendors the significance of BSCI certifications as the appropriate accreditation to signify their compliance with human rights and minimum social standards.
During the 2007 financial year, employees responded to a variety of relief initiatives organized by charitable organizations. These included the participation of Hong Kong staff in alks for a Millionorganized by the Community Chest and ribbon selling in stores to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
In response to the South Asian tsunami, Esprit launched a global fund raising campaign calling for employee donations to help victims affected by the disaster. The Company also made matching donations to support and promote active participation in the campaign.
In May 20, 2008, Esprit Holdings Limited designated May 18, 2008 as the ichuan Earthquake Relief Daywhere the sales proceeds generated from all stores in Hong Kong and Macau were donated to assist the victims in Sichuan. Esprit experienced overwhelming support from customers and successfully raised around HK$3.3 million. In addition, Esprit China.