From marketing expert to professional toolmaker – the story behind NWS

Heritage, personality, outlook for the future


Today, NWS is an internationally respected brand of handtools.

The company's success is closely linked to the life of Willibald Nöthen. In this interview, the founder and owner of the company gives us a personal overview of the company's origins, its success and plans for the future of NWS in the next generation.


Did you feel the urge to become an entrepreneur from an early age?

"Good Heavens, no. I was born in 1928 in a small village out in the country, up in the hills of the German Eifel region. At that time I wasn't even thinking of being a businessman. Up to 1949 I was far more interested in perfecting my artistic skills – I wanted to be an organist. But then I changed my mind and started commercial training, working for a gentlemen's bespoke tailor and worked as a window-dresser. It was during this time that I discovered my interest in advertising and design".


And how did you become involved in the handtool trade?

"I needed a change of scenery. So, in 1954, I went to Solingen and worked for a drop-forge and tool-making company, called Walter Gott. There, I worked my way up to Sales Director for handtools. I felt at home in industry generally and working with tools, in particular, and I wanted to stay in that field. Unfortunately, in November 1973, Walter Gott went bankrupt. Four days later, I founded NWS".


What were the challenges you faced at that time?

"Competition was very tough. Standard products were basically a dead-end. So we quickly developed new products that combined functions, quality and design. And that was our breakthrough. Thanks to their ergonomic designs, manufacturing quality and performance, our tools became successful around the world".


And this is still a guiding principle of NWS today?

"Of course. Demanding customers deserve the best. And that has not changed to this day. We are constantly developing new tools and improving old ones to suit their needs. With our three locations in Germany, established, long-term staff and many years' experience, we are ideally placed to do just that".


And finally, what expectations have you got for the future and how have you prepared NWS for the next generation?

"NWS will continue to make top-quality tools. We have a solid foundation in that department thanks to our excellent team. That team will continue to run the enterprise in the future generations while upholding our maxim: "Expect the best". Our decisive qualities will always stay unchanged, while other things will change. We will see new industries and new markets developing. And I am convinced that our end users will, in future, play a far greater, more direct role in product development. The future promises to be exciting, in any case!"


Perfected to suit the market

Experience of the industry, proximity to the market, electrical, sanitary installations, automotive

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