The history of the Beate Uhse company is also a great part of the story of an extraordinary woman and strong personality: Beate Uhse. She gave the company both its name and character.
Even as a child, Beate Uhse wanted to be a high-flyer. The little girl, who was born on 25 October 1919 to an East Prussian squire and his doctor wife, dreamt of a life in the skies.
At the age of 17, Beate Uhse finally fulfilled her childhood dream. She was the only female in a group of 60 student pilots, and she gained her pilots licence in 1936. Her career in the skies was finally ready for take-off.
In the spring of 1945, Beate Uhse fled the surrounded city of Berlin in a twin-engine army plane, and settled in North Friesland with her two year old son Klaus. The now refugee, mother and widow had to build a new existence for herself, and as courageously and purposefully as she realised her first career as an aviation pilot, Beate Uhse started her second career as an enlightener of the German nation.
Beate Uhse moved to Flensburg in 1946 and started her first education campaign. After the war was over, women not only had to worry about food and accommodation, but also about the problems of unwanted pregnancies. Contraceptives were non-existent, and Beate Uhse saw this gap in the market and advised women about natural methods of contraception. In 1946, she put together a pamphlet describing the Knaus-Ogino rhythm method. This pamphlet was called "Schrift X", and was the foundation stone of the Beate Uhse company.
Beate Uhse married the Flensburg businessman Ernst-Walter Rotermund in 1948. The mail-order business was also launched in that year. With the help of her second husband, the young businesswoman widened her product range, and even began selling condoms among other items.
The company brochure is comprised of 8 pages folded together. Books regarding sexual enlightenment, condoms and creams were being sold by the company. Naturally, these were only intended for sex within the marriage, and nothing was described in explicit detail.
1962 saw Beate Uhse open the world's very first sex shop, which was named "The Institute for Marital Hygiene". The product range included lingerie, magazines, books, contraceptives, pharmaceutical preparations and stimulatory products. Erotic films were not part of the range at this stage!
Due to immense customer demand, the wise businesswoman placed her efforts into opening a chain of stores to cope with the wishes of her loyal customers. By 1971, the company had opened 25 shops within Germany.
In the first years of the company, its principal purpose was contraception and education. Once the strict pornography regulation laws were relaxed in the mid 1970s, the sex industry in Germany boomed, and Beate Uhse shops sprung up like wild mushrooms!
The company carried the name "Versandhaus Beate Uhse" since February 1951, and so was registered in the Flensburg trade register under this name. Beate Uhse-Rotermund consciously retained the name of her first husband. Uhse is a much shorter name, and the name became the brand - and one does not make such a change except when necessary.
The Beate Uhse Aktiengesellschaft was founded in 1981, and was streamlined into separate business sections. Beate Uhse-Rotermund's sons Klaus and Dirk Rotermund took control of the mail-order and distribution business, and Beate Uhse-Rotermund continued to manage the shops and wholesale business with her son Ulrich.
The company entered the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 1999. With the issuing of the first German "erotic share", Beate Uhse displayed entrepreneurial foresightedness. It was the correct strategic step for the international expansion of the company. The acquisition of the Dutch retail-chain business Sandereijn and the mail-order company Pabo were the first milestones on the journey to be the number one player in the erotic industry.
Beate Uhse-Rotermund died on 16 July 2001 following a battle with pneumonia.
In Hungary, the own production of high quality rubber and silicone products was started up under the trademark "Lavetra".
In memory of the company foundress, the Beate Uhse company announced the winner of the first "Female Entrepreneur Award", who received an endowment of EUR 10,000.
The Beate Uhse brand received a new corporate design. The number "69" symbolised the company's promise to "sex up your life".
The members of the SG Flensburg-Handewitt handball team show of their sexier side: their shorts were now emblazoned with the Beate Uhse logo.
Beate Uhse purchased the Dutch retail sales chain "Christine Le Duc", thereby bringing 67 Beate Uhse shops to the Dutch market.
Mae B, the first sex shop chain aimed at women, opened its doors in Hamburg. The department store "Karstadt" and the "Kaufmannshaus" on the "Bleichenbrücke" received an erotic boost.
The SG Flensburg-Handewitt handball team win the German Handball League Cup, and present themselves and their sponsor Beate Uhse as the top team from the high northlands.
In 2005, the Beate Uhse Female Entrepreneur Award was awarded nationwide. The prize was awarded to Brigitte Strahwald und Eva-Maria Jahn.
Beate Uhse took a very active role in the "Media Sailing Event", the largest floating press conference in Europe.
With the start of BLUE MOVIE, Beate Uhse enters the completely erotic television business.
The new mail-order centre in Walsoorden starts up business. In the future, up to 42,000 parcels per day can be sent from here.
Customers will find everything they need in one place on the newly relaunched http://www.beate-uhse.com website, from entertainment to online shopping to information about the stores.
Beate Uhse heralded in the new generation of shops direct in the heart of Munich.
Beate Uhse AG acquires the Dutch Playhouse group, a leading European producer and distributor of erotic films, sex toys, lingerie collections and wellness products.
Beate Uhse starts with home parties and delivers love toys directly to your house.
Relaunch of the Internet shops and the Beate Uhse website
The ZDF dedicates the life work of Beate Uhse a theme night with a feature and documentary movie.
At the General meeting 2013 the new logo was shown for the first time. The planned relaunch of the brand was announced.
Further shops in a new, more feminine look were opened. The webshop and catalogue got a new design and the new Beate Uhse magazine inspires its readers.
2015 begins with a very special highlight: The new TV spot marks our new campaign's starting point.
Beate Uhse launches the new branding campaign „be you“ and, by selling Christine Le Duc and GEZED, fully focuses on the core brands and a strategic realignment.
Interesting books by and about Beate Uhse
Ich will Freiheit für die Liebe -
Die Autobiographie - Beate Uhse -
Econ Ullstein List Verlag 2001
Die Firmengeschichte von der Knaus Ogino-
Methode bis zum Börsengang 2001.
Ganz persönlich - Reinhold Beckmann-
Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag 2005
Reinhold Beckmann unterhielt sich im Talkshow-Interview
mit Beate Uhse über ihre Lebensgeschichte.
Sex sells - Beate Uhse -
Droemersche Verlagsanstalt Th. Knaur Nachf. 2002
Das Buch illustriert einen beispiellosen wirtschaftlichen Erfolg
in einem schwierigen Markt.
Brilliante Bilanzen - Fünf Unternehmerinnen und ihre Lebensgeschichte - Magdalena Köster -
Beltz und Gelberg Verlag 2005
Wie Beate Uhse aus eigener Kraft einen marktführenden Erotikkonzern aufgebaut hat.