70 years of history
In 1949, ‘Wytwórnia Artykółów Chemiczno-Gospodarczych – Spółdzielnia Pracy Barwa’ was established. The company’s headquarters was located at Rynek Główny 33 in Krakow. At that time, the main activity profile was based on the production of rust remover, shoe polish, gasoline for lighters and tailor’s chalk. After four years, hair dyes based on natural dyes and Christmas tree decorations were introduced to offer in Canada, Germany and France. In the 1960s, production took place in six branches located throughout Krakow.
In 1950, the first logo was created. From the very beginning to today, the symbol of Barwa is the parrot. In 1974, the name of the company was officially changed to ‘Przemysłowe Zakłady Chemii Gospodarczej Barwa – Spółdzielnia Pracy’.
The company’s breakthrough was in the 1970s. In 1977 Barwa focused on the production of bar soap – one of the most desirable products of that time. In addition to the most popular grey soap, many types of specialized soaps were produced, addressed to a wide range of recipients with very different preferences and needs. In total, the offer included 12 types of this product, e.g. undecylenic, salicylic, carbolic and ichthyol soaps.
In 1978, the production of Jagna dishwashing liquid was launched.
80's and 90's
The 1980s saw the development of the company’s activities in the direction of body care cosmetics. Barwa introduced a wide range of shampoos, liquid soaps, intimate hygiene liquids, balms and washing agents, which, like the popular line of Barwa Ziołowa shampoos or the MISS body care series, were becoming one of the key brands in the company’s portfolio. It is worth mentioning that you can buy Barwa Ziołowa until today. In 1981, there was also the first change in the logotype. In 1989, Barwa’s logotype gained a much simpler and easier-to-understand form. The red parrot above the black lettering was present on the products until 2007.
In 1990, the company’s headquarters was moved from Main Square to Lea Street in Krakow. Two years later, Stanisław Brożyna, who had been associated with Barwa since 1989, began his career as the deputy manager of the cooperative for technical matters. Stanisław Brożyna was the president of Barwa until 2013.
Also in 1992, Barwa expanded its offer with BEBI – products for children – which you will also find in our offer today. The series included soap flakes, toilet soap for children and shampoo for washing hair. In later years, with the increase in popularity, the series was expanded to include bubble baths and washing liquid.
Change of legal form
The year 2000 was a breakthrough in the company’s history – the legal form changed from a worker cooperative to a limited liability company. Three years later, we introduced the ISO quality management system. We operate in accordance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard. The audit is carried out in accordance with the quality regulations by TÜV Rheinland Polska. In 2004, we were one of the first companies in Poland to completely abandon the use of animal fats in soap production. All Barwa soaps are 100% vegan and made on the basis of natural plant shavings obtained from palm oil.
In September 2007, we completed the construction of our new headquarters and production plant at 11 Szafrana Street in Krakow. A year later, we bought the most modern soap wrapping machine – ACMA 7250. At the time of purchase, it was the only such device in Poland. In 2010, we also purchased an automatic line for packaging liquid products.
Development and expansion into new markets
In May 2013, Małgorzata Brożyna took over the position of the company’s president. From 2007 to 2011, she was the development director, and in August 2011 she was appointed the managing director, and then she was appointed the president of the management board of Barwa. A year later, a particularly intensive development began for the company – we started expanding into foreign markets. Already in the first months of export activity, our cosmetics appeared not only in Europe but also in the Middle East, to boast of sales to 23 countries around the world today.
In 2017, the machine park was enriched with the TWIN ROLER V1 universal labeller, and a year later – in February 2018, we purchased the AM-4/100CS automatic cello dispenser and the MK50P homogenizing mixer. In October, our production was equipped with a new rotary cartoner – KPO-01, and in December with a device for packaging creams and cosmetic emulsions.
In the same year, we presented the company’s new visual identity to the world. The logo refers to our traditions but also emphasizes the changes that have taken place in the company in recent years. The mark consists of a parrot signet ring and the Barwa Cosmetics logo. A year later, in 2019, we received a UNIT 175P tubing machine for packaging cosmetic products into heat-sealable tubes, and in 2020 – a new tube labelling machine with a capacity of 2000 pieces per hour. In this way, Barwa’s machine park is one of the most modern in Poland.
Rebranding of iconic products
Starting in 2020, the design of most of the iconic series of products has been changed. The Barwa Siarkowa series had a refreshed version to better suit the tastes of generation Z. Perfect House® interior cosmetics have been adapted to modern interiors. In turn, the conditioners from the Barwa Naturalna series were poured into handy tubes and visually refreshed. The whole series has gained a new design. Soap flakes, soap and Bebi washing liquid, beloved by generations of mums, have undergone an absolute metamorphosis. From now on, the products were decorated with a cute bunny – the beloved cuddly toy of the youngest children. The iconic Barwa Ziołowa® gained a new look by playing with topography and a strong distinction on the label of the leading ingredients. In 2023, we will present the refreshed design of Barwy Harmonii® and the Barwa Hipoalergiczna series.
Intensive export time
The years 2021-2023 were also an intense time of export work for us due to the normalization of the global situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We participated in the largest international fairs – in Dubai, Bologna, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
Over the years, our products have been awarded in prestigious competitions. It is worth mentioning that only in the last two years we have received Influencer’s Choice Poland awards for Linen Conditioner from the Barwa Naturalna series, Viva! The best for beauty – for Barwy Botaniki bars or Love Cosmetic Awards for the Barwa Waterless series.
Development of the modern channel
In 2021, we also changed our commercial strategy and focused on the development of the modern channel. Thus, we achieved double-digit increases in sales in retail chains. In this channel, we expand our range and acquire new business partners. We appeared on the shelves of Pepco and the first DM drugstore in Poland. We expanded our range in Hebe, and Kaufland, our products appeared in the applications Jush and Delio by Żabka. In the first half of 2022, Barwa’s turnover in the modern channel increased by 40.42%. compared to the same period in 2021.
70 years of intensive development
Over 70 years have passed under the sign of intensive development and we do not intend to stand still. We plan to continue expanding our foreign expansion and developing the private label segment. Although universal products for the whole family still constitute a huge part of our portfolio, we focus on creating cosmetics that respond to diverse needs. We create and will create high-quality products with rich compositions, and a high percentage of ingredients of natural origin, but available for every budget. We are currently strongly expanding the offer with speciality soaps and hair care products, but we plan to become stronger in the category of facial care products rich in high-quality botanical ingredients. Soon we will also present our new online store to our customers.