Enesco is a designer, manufacturer, and wholesaler of giftware and collectibles. This article describes highlights of their business from inception to the present day.
Enesco was founded in 1958 as a small import division of the N. Shure Company, a wholesale merchandising catalog company, before reorganizing as a separate company in 1967, when N. Shure was sold to Butler Brothers, a chain of Five and Dime retail outlets. The Enesco company name came from the phonetic spelling of the parent company's initials "N.S.Co.".
Enesco was sold 3 times before being bought by Stanhome Inc. in 1983. Stanhome of Westfield, MA was a pioneer in the direct-sales industry, selling its home care and personal care products through its Famous Stanley Hostess Parties. By the 1990s however, Enesco was more successful and well-known than its parent, producing over half of Stanhome's revenues. This progression led to Stanhome Inc. being renamed to Enesco Group, Inc. in 1998.
Enesco's first overseas operation, Enesco International (Hong Kong) Ltd., was started in 1985. The company added many more overseas subsidiaries since then, including Enesco Imports GmbH, in Germany; N. C. Cameron & Sons, Ltd., in Canada; and Enesco Ltd., in England. In 1988, Stanhome formed the Enesco Worldwide Giftware Group to encompass Enesco Corporation and its affiliated global giftware operations.
Originally based in Chicago, Enesco relocated to two office buildings and a warehouse in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, in 1975. In 1984, after the acquisition by Stanhome, they moved into new buildings, still in Elk Grove Village, including 30,000 square feet of offices, a 455,000 square foot warehouse and a 35,000 square foot international showroom. They relocated their headquarters again in 1995 to Itasca, Illinois leaving their international showroom, warehouse and distribution facility in Elk Grove Village. The Stanhome executive offices were also relocated to Itasca from Westfield in 1998.
It is impossible to go into any further detail of Enesco's history without mentioning Eugene (Gene) Freedman. Enesco owes a great deal of its success to Freedman, who was President and Chief Executive Officer from 1958 to 1998. He also served as Executive Vice-President of parent company Stanhome Inc.
Born in Philadelphia on March 9, 1925, Gene Freedman was raised in Milwaukee, WI. Following his graduation from Whitefish Bay High School in 1942, he studied at Northwestern University and California Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Science degree. He enlisted in the Navy early in World War II, receiving his naval officer's commission at the University of Notre Dame.
Freedman spent almost a decade in the giftware business before he became one of the founders of Enesco, in 1958.
In the mid-1960s, Freedman established two large shows a year for Enesco, the Pre-Show and the Spring Fling. These shows were by invitation only and were intended to showcase Enesco's new product lines for the upcoming season. This concept proved a hugely successful marketing technique and quickly became an industry tradition.
Freedman's greatest contribution arguably came in the late 1970s with the product line that would be the catalyst to Enesco's phenomenal growth over the next decade: the Precious Moments Collection. Freedman played a key role in convincing artist Sam Butcher to turn his work into collectible figurines and establishing the brand as the most successful of all figurine collections.
Freedman and Enesco worked hard to prevent Precious Moments from becoming a short-lived fad. One significant step was the creation of the Precious Moments Collectors' Club in 1981. By the end of the first (charter) year more than 69,000 people had joined the club; by 1994 it had over half a million registered members. The club provided members with a quarterly newsletter and offers of exclusive pieces, which were not generally available. It helped created a level of brand loyalty that maintained and stimulated interest in the collection.
Freedman continued leading the company until 1998 when he stepped down as President. He continued with the company until 2005, with the title "Founding Chairman", staying active in corporate affairs and serving as a company ambassador at industry events. He unfortunately passed away on February 19, 2008 at the age of 82.
Although the Precious Moments Collection was Enesco's most popular line, the company is also responsible for producing and/or distributing several other well-known lines of giftware and collectibles. Some of these product lines were created through license agreements with popular artists and companies, some were proprietary Enesco lines and some were acquired through company acquisitions. There have been, in fact, so many acquisitions, license agreements and other product lines in Enesco's history that it would probably be easier to list the products they have not been involved with.
Here are some of the most popular branded product lines that Enesco have been involved with.
|A Breed Apart||A Celebration Of Life|
|A Christmas Story||A Little Behind|
|A Place To Remember||Adventures Of Barney Granger|
|All That Jazz||Alpine Village|
|Amigos Del Sol||Anne Geddes|
|Artist Gallery||Avian Porcelain|
|Bible Gear||Bilston & Battersea Enamels|
|Bless Your Heart||Border Fine Arts|
|The Boyds Collection||Boys Will Be Boys|
|Budweiser||Bugs & Bees|
|Bunny Little||Calico Kittens|
|Centimental Bears||Chapeau Noelle|
|Charming Tails||Cherished Teddies|
|Children Of The Inner Light||Christmas Cards Cardinals Of Christmas|
|Christmas In The City||Christmas Treasures|
|Circle Of Love||Classical Garden And Butterflies|
|Coral Kingdom||Country Artists Birds|
|Country Artists Cats||Country Artists Dogs|
|Country Cousins||Country Hamlet|
|Country Living||Cow Kisses|
|Cozy Christmas||Cream And Cocoa|
|Crow Country||Cute As A Button|
|Dapper Dogs||Dartington Crystal|
|David Winter Cottages||Dennis Brown Collection|
|Disney Showcase Collection||Disney Traditions|
|Dog Gone Golf||Down Petticoat Lane|
|Elvis Presley||Ewe And Me|
|Faith & Grace||Fanciful Felines|
|First Glass||Floppy Tompkins|
|Foundations||Friends Of The Feather|
|From Barbie With Love||Funnybone Originals|
|Gallery Of Light||Girls With A Passion For Fashion|
|Grow In Grace||Growing Up Girls|
|Heaven And Earth||Heavenly Kingdom|
|Heirloom Boxes||Heritage Village Collection|
|Hogs & Kisses||Home Grown|
|Hot Dogs & Cool Cats||In God's Garden|
|In His Name||Isabelle de Borchgrave|
|It's All About Dance||It's So You|
|Ivory Cats||James Herriot Collection|
|Jim Shore's Heartwood Creek||Jubilee Art|
|Julie Ueland||Just Too Cute|
|Laura's Attic||Legacy Of Love|
|Li'l Gabbers||Lilliput Lane|
|Looney Tunes||Lucy & Me|
|Mahogany Princess||Mary Engelbreit|
|Mary Had A Little Lamb||Mary Hughes Collection|
|Mary, Mary Had A Farm||Mary, Mary Quite Contrary|
|Mary's Artist Gallery||Mary's Bunny Farm|
|Mary's Henhouse||Mary's Moo Moos|
|Maud Humphrey Bogart||McDonald's|
|Melly & Friends||Memories Of Yesterday|
|Mickey & Co.||Moose Creek Crossing|
|My Blushing Bunnies||My Little Kitchen Fairies|
|My Soul's Window||National Geographic|
|Nature's Canvas||New England Village|
|North Pole Series||Otagiri|
|Our Name Is Mud||Painter Of Light|
|Partners In Crime||Passages|
|Possible Dreams||Powerpuff Girls|
|Precious Moments||Premier Covers|
|Pretty as a Picture||Priscilla's Mouse Tales|
|Pumpkinseeds Folk Art||Purebred Pups|
|Raggedy Anne & Andy||Rainbow Forest|
|Rats The Way||Reasons To Believe|
|Reasons To Rejoice||Redeemed|
|Rose O'Neil Kewpie Collection||Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Traditions||Sandman|
|Santa's Sweet Shop||Santa's Special Deerlivery|
|Santa's Workshop||Sesame Street|
|Silver Options||Simply Celebrate|
|Simply Splendid||Sisters & Best Friends|
|Small Wonders||Small World Of Music|
|Snow Littles||Snow Village Halloween|
|Spirit Of Folk||Sports Impressions|
|Star Trek||Starlight Starbright|
|Steiff Collection||Take Heart|
|Teddy Tompkins||Tender Tucker|
|The Beatles||The Grinch|
|The Land Of Milk & Honey||The Legends of Sleepy Hollow-een|
|The Original Snow Village||The Potter's Shed|
|The World Of Sinterklaas||This Is The Day|
|This Little Piggy||This Little Piggy|
|Together Forever||Trail Of The Painted Ponies|
|Treasury Masterpiece Editions||Treasury Of Christmas Ornaments|
|Via Vermont||Victorian Belles|
|Walk In Faith||Walt Disney Classics Collection|
|Where The Heart Is||Whimzily|
|Willow Tree||Winnie The Pooh & Friends|
|Wistful Fisherman||Wizard Of Oz|
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