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Monday, May 21, 2012

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Elisabeth Geiger, Marketing Manager of GEIGER Our Coverage Sponsored by Liz Barbatelli's The Laundry at Linens Limited and E. Braun & Co. in Beverly Hills



Elisabeth Geiger

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Elisabeth Geiger, a born and bred native Tyrolean, currently works in her family owned fashion business GEIGER as the Marketing Manager. Her particular focus in the company is the coordination between Sales, Marketing and in-house Design of the Fashion Brand, a crucial role for a sound Fashion Label.

In 1906 Barbara Geiger founded the company, long before women were known to own and run a business and even before women in the US gained the right to vote. This spirit has shaped the company as well as the GEIGER family and left a lasting impression on Elisabeth and her two siblings, Barbara and Peter. They now represent the fourth generation to follow in the footsteps of their great-grandmother and lead the company side by side with their parents Hansjoerg Geiger (President) and Christine Geiger (Head of Design). To this day the GEIGER family and business are one and their philosophy can be felt in every aspect of the company as well as in each fashion collection. Attention to detail and true craftsmanship, pride in their Austrian Heritage with a devotion to the highest quality standards are all built into the GEIGER designs.

So, no wonder, that at the tender age of 7, Elisabeth already knew that Fashion and Sales were her passion. After schooling in Fashion and Apparel, Elisabeth attended the University in Innsbruck, Austria, where she gained a business degree in Economics.

So how did this Austrian family and with it the brand connect with the US and specifically Manhattan?  
Merchants from Middlebury, Vermont did visit Tyrol in the late 60’s to find special Austrian import goods. They came across a GEIGER jacket in a store and were ‘sold’! After locating the company they met the Geiger family, and in the early 70’s started importing GEIGER into the USA. The excitement of the American customers, who fully embraced Geiger Walk (boiled wool) Fashions created a real “GEIGER-boom”. Fashion made in Austria, Tyrol soon enjoyed a real “cult” status, and “It’s a GEIGER” became the secret ‘code word’ for highest quality boiled wool products and highest standards of true craftsmanship. As a result of the strong resonance of the market, GEIGER founded its daughter company, Geiger of Austria, Inc., in 1981 in Middlebury, Vermont, and GEIGER truly found a new home in 
the New World. Initially Geiger of Austria, Inc. built a distribution network by partnering with 350 exclusive boutiques across the country. Retail of Geiger fashion was so strong that the Geiger daughter company could hardly keep up with the demand. Due to this overwhelming success the Austrian company management decided in 1987 to offer Geiger Fashion in the US Fashion Capitol – New York! The GEIGER Boutique attracted a diverse group of devoted GEIGER fans and truly had that “European” feel from it's d├ęcor and clothing to it's international staff. Many of the customers became a second family and continued to support the brand throughout the stores 17-year existence. Having a presence in New York also attracted interest from the Asian market and certainly helped GEIGER in building partnerships in several Asian countries. Today GEIGER is sold Internationally in over 30 countries.

In these early years, Elisabeth and her family spent many summers exploring the US. Travelling by RV gave them flexibility and a true appreciation for the beauty of this diverse country. Manhattan, of course, was always a stop on the trip and Elisabeth has fond memories of sightseeing in the Big Apple. This childhood experience truly shaped Elisabeth and instilled a true appreciation for the country and its people.

Elisabeth feels truly blessed to be able to now support her family business, using her business talents and utilizing the rich inspirations of all the family trips. To this day Elisabeth looks especially forward to trips to NYC and loves the energy of the “city that never sleeps, always returning to Austria with new, fresh inspirations that directly translate into the GEIGER collections.  A
side from her business career, Elisabeth loves sports and lives a very active lifestyle. And, of course, her native Tyrol offers the perfect setting. Since her early childhood Elisabeth has been skiing down the mountains in the winter and hiking in the summer. She has also been a fan of horseback riding since the age of 12 years. Her biggest dream is to ride through Montana on horseback – it’s on her to-do-list and knowing her tireless energy, she will get to enjoy that one day!

And to finish in her own words:


"To live in the heart of Europe and to have the whole world as your workplace, that is a privilege that I am truly thankful for.” We could not be more thrilled to present Elisabeth Geiger as our latest Mover and Shaker! Generations of Deegans have proudly worn Geiger. Peachy Deegan interviewed Elisabeth Geiger for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What is your first memory of wearing Geiger? 

Elisabeth Geiger: In 1974 I was born into the GEIGER family and ever since I can remember I wore GEIGER. 

Of all of the items Geiger has on the market today, what are your favorite 3 pieces and why? 

My number one is a very cosy hoodie jacket which I always wear when I am travelling. When I am wearing it it always feels like home. It is comfortable, keeps me warm and it looks great! 

My second favorite is a jacket from our “FLASH” line. It is made of superlight boiled wool with raw edges – and it is PINK!!! It has a hot pattern – very slimline and it looks great to jeans but also to my evening clothes! 

My third favorite is a printed boiled wool coat – it is very colourful and has a unique look because of the special print! 

What do you enjoy the most about your career and what do you find most challenging? 

I love the variety of my job – every day is different. The most challenging is to create a collection which is able to serve so many different markets all over the world and to satisfy so many different cultures, tastes, mentalities and needs! 

What are the strongest aspects of fashion in New York compared with Europe and vice versa, and what can each place learn from the other stylistically? 

In both places you can find different looks and styles. I noticed that the people in New York have their strict fashion rules – for example: “You never should wear white pants starting in September!” In Europe nobody cares about this. The designers in Europe recollect to the old traditions and try to implement them into their collections – transfer the old into a modern way! They also love to use traditional fabrics, prints, buttons, etc. for their lines. 

What should people in Manhattan and around the world know about Austria that most probably do not know? 
We are a country shaped of its history, the people who live in this country are strong believers, our industries produce high quality products and we have the most delicious bread in the whole wide world!

What is it like to be in the 4th generation of such a renowned worldwide brand and how has each generation evolved since the founding of Geiger? 
Certainly every generation had its own development/history but we were all shaped from our roots. I think we are accompanied by our history and the daily changes. 

Will Geiger have a store in New York again (we believe the former spot was in the current spot of Sherry Lehman)? 
Never say never! When we opened the store in NYC it was the right time for it and we had very good years and at the end of the day it was profitable for GEIGER. I am quite sure that one day it will be the right time again to open a new GEIGER store – but in a different way…. 

What should everyone know about Geiger that most do not know? 
For the GEIGER family it is not only a business – it means everything to us! 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My parents – they always pushed me to believe in me and they always forced my talents – without hesitation! This strengthened me to follow my dreams and my interests. 

What are you proudest of and why? 
My entire family - in good and in bad times – all for each and each for all! 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
There is nothing I would like to do more than what I do. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
Sales, language and processing management award 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
Where you can get good food! 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
Palma/Soho 

What is your favorite drink? 
Hugo 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
Somebody hit me with a cork of a champagne bottle 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
Smith & Wollensky 

What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
City map – I have never read a Manhattan book – sorry! 

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
I love to be Elisabeth Geiger and nobody else! 

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
 Hudson river

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Running from the Javits center through the half city finding a nice place for having dinner. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
You can order everything 24 hours a day! 

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
My great-grandmother Barbara Geiger who founded the GEIGER company. I would love to ask her how it was to start a company in 1906 as a woman. 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
Everything you give comes back to you…..so I try to give more positive than negative actions to the world. 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
Underrated: the importance of slow movement! Overrated: reachability 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
I like reading about A. Marinelli shoes in the column See Manhattan on Your Feet. They are beautiful luxury shoes. The designer is influenced by the French Mediterranean and the French Pyrenees. So they have a light fun feel!

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not?
Not yet!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
Everybody should have some secrets…. 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
By e-mail – it´s easier because of the time distance! 




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