What leads many people to Mila d'Opiz today was also the initial spark behind the company in 1938: the search for a good face cream. Since company founder Mila Opitz-Altherr found nothing suitable at that time for her skin problems, she began to manufacture cosmetics herself – at the beginning of an exciting story that we tell here through the milestones.
First cosmetic products by Mila Opitz-Altherr
Skin problems motivate the young native of Appenzell, Emilie Opitz-Altherr (*1903), to experiment with care substances. In cooperation with a dermatologist, Emilie Opitz, called Mila since childhood, succeeds in creating an innovative novelty: a hormone cream. She founds the cosmetics company Milopa, an abbreviation of the name Mila Opitz-Altherr.
Official founding of the company Milopa
Mila Opitz-Altherr founds the company Milopa officially: the company is entered into the commercial register and the factory is built.
Start of export business
With new and progressive products Mila Opitz-Altherr becomes increasingly well known as a pioneer in the cosmetics industry – and not just in Switzerland. The first Milopa slogan, "The golden point of beauty", helps matters. The first products are exported in 1950.
Major fire hits upcoming company hard
Milopa is ready for the next big step: the first research laboratory is ready for operation, the first chemist is hired, and the first assembly line and the first semi-automatic machine are up and running. Then comes a heavy blow: on 6 March 1958 a big fire destroys the entire office floor of the "Spezialkosmetikhaus Milopa"; the research laboratory is practically unusable. For three months work is carried out using crates and provisional arrangements – at full speed.
Division into M. Opitz & Co. AG and Mila d'Opiz AG
The company name Milopa becomes a real headache in international business: the baby food manufacturer Milupa is bothered by the similarity of the names. The St. Gallen cosmetics company renames itself. The new brand name no longer shortens the name of company founder Mila Opitz-Altherr. However, it is now suitable for the international cosmetics company: Mila d'Opiz. The company is divided into M. Opitz & Co. AG and the commercial firm Mila d'Opiz AG. In the context of this step, the company sets itself high export goals. And it achieves them too.
Move to a new building with modern laboratories
The move to the new facilities at Haggenstrasse 40 in St. Gallen is a huge milestone in the company's history. The new infrastructure makes it possible to realise what the company has wanted for a long time: production for third-party companies. The modern laboratories, for example for microbiology and analytics, and the well-equipped Development department enable additional services and the acceptance of research contracts in the area of cosmetics.
ISO certification – a first in the cosmetics industry
M. Opitz & Co. AG is the first Swiss cosmetics company to be ISO-certified (quality certificate ISO 9001). Thanks to seamless quality control from the delivery of the raw materials to packing and distribution, M. Opitz & Co. AG is also the only cosmetics manufacturer in Switzerland approved to manufacture and package pharmaceutical products. The company already complies with standards introduced in the EU in 1997.
Founding of the cosmetics academy ARCOS (Academy for Cosmetology)
With the cosmetics academy ARCOS Mila d'Opiz founds its own education and training centre in St. Gallen. It is unique across national borders in the cosmetics industry. ARCOS has all of the important certificates and is also ISO- and eduQua-certified. Nowadays, cosmetics training with a diploma can be completed full- or part-time and rounded off with the internationally recognised CIDESCO diploma and the Swiss Federal Certificate of Competence (EFZ). The diploma from the international professional association CIDESCO enjoys the highest level of recognition worldwide.
Caroline Studer (3rd generation, currently CEO) joins the company
The history of Mila d'Opiz remains a family story: Silva Opitz, the daughter of Mila Opitz-Altherr, joined the business in 1951 and constantly advanced it alongside her husband, Wolf Studer. Now it is time for the third generation: Caroline Studer joins the company. The later CEO is initially responsible for marketing and sales.
Expanded production, further innovations and awards
Production is again expanded with new machines and systems. With the "Phyto DS Forbidden Serum", Mila d'Opiz, which has been under the leadership of Caroline Studer since 2014, presents a further innovation. And once more the company wins an award: it receives the "European SPA & Health Award" for the most innovative cosmetics product in Switzerland.