Kama - true story


The Czech family company has been producing knitwear - cups and pullovers in bulk and delivering it for the last 22 years to 25 countries around the world. But beginnings of Kama brand were very modest. You can see for yourself. 


The first production equipment used by the founder of KAMA company, Mrs Mahulena Pertlová was the home knitting machine of hobby category. Her parents gave it to her long ago for Christmas and it had been for a long time resting unused and dusty under the bed. When she was taking her baby break with little children Klara and Adam, she got the idea to knit caps for them. The work was going well and caps were appreciated by all relatives and friends so she started to produce more. So this was the beginning of the small manufactory at Pertlovi´s. In 1988 Czech authorities gave permission to citizens living in socialistic system to have some kind of small gainful occupation. So-called markets of young artists were organised where people could sell their home products. Somewhere there started the basis of the business of future KAMA company. Mrs. Mahulena gained her first capital and together with her musician husband got together a sum for a more sophisticated machine of Japanese brand. This machine was already able to make patterns including letters in the knitwear with use of a punch card. The young businesswoman wanted to give her products a name and as her sister Katerina had helped her to stitch the caps, she came up with the brand name comprising first names KAteřina and MAhulena. The young knitter was happy with the brand as her machine could knit four letters maximum. The first knitted KAMA cap was born. 
The brand started to have a good name among tradesman and clients and demand for colour knitted caps had been growing. Mahulena started to cooperate with owners of similar machines who were less business active and were happy just to work for someone. Thus in the turn of 1990 she was organizing work for about sixty home knitters and the flat serving for collection of products for further distribution was sometimes full with caps up to one´s knees.
Now faded photos of Klara and Adam who became first promotion models were taken by the founder´s husband at that time for promotion purpose of products. This tradition has been preserved by the way. The company is annually producing new catalogue with Klara and Adam in it. As time passed the school kids became a financial manager and graphic designer of Kama family company. 
When there were no internet and mobile phones, further business growth had been taken care of by the founder´s husband, when he as a musician during tours in Bohemia and Slovakia circulated new-opened sport shops with bags of caps. He took this role of sales manager during breaks and collected orders to the great amusement of his artist colleagues.
The time of big fairs started and tradesman were coming to meet new producers and importers. The little Kama stand during the first year of the SPORT-PRAGUE fair where the company has been exhibiting for about further 20 seasons is shown on the black and white photo. 
At that time first clients from abroad appeared. Even if the home machine was already run by a little engine (thus relieving sore hands from perpetual moving of the driver to-and-fro), it was still a device for home production and products coming off it, however high quality they had, could not gain demanding foreign markets.  It was inevitable to move forward so Kama leased in 1992 its first industrial knitting machine. This top quality machine has remarkably increased the production volume.    
The company grew and held its position in the market towards local and foreign competitors. As the company started literally from zero it was necessary to continue step by step. The company was paying off loans and leases. Thanks to sustained continuous economical growth in the turn of the millennium, Kama bought a property on the outskirts of Prague and built production plant tailored to needs of this type of production there. This modern building currently contains the company store, company headquarters, knitting and sewing production, store rooms and expedition. Kama is also on a long-term basis cooperating with another two Czech sub-contracting companies, who are producing for it.
Kama is currently in its specialisation in sport caps and pullovers number one leader in the local market of the Czech Republic due to highest quality, functionality and original design of the products. Also still growing export volume, currently to 25 world countries is proof of production quality.
Every year Kama presents new collection et ISPO fair - Munchen/Germany.
This year KAMA has come up with an innovated collection autumn/winter 2012/2013, introducing more than 800 various items. Caps, headbands, hoods, masks, gloves, mittens, scarves, neck cloths, pullovers, vests, anoraks. Each customer has an option to choose his own style, whether it is colourful jacquard pattern and trendy colours or conservative decent style. Products of this brand can be also chosen with regards to its purpose. Whether you want to wear the cap or pullover for ordinary daily use at work and in the city or for outdoor use with extreme climatic conditions. This is why Kama has the slogan FASHION &FUNCTION in its subtitle.
Kama products are more or less seasonal items for autumn and winter.  But the working engagement in the production premises in Prague is busy all year round. When the narrow-specialized producer wants to be successful in the market, it must keep abreast of worldwide trends, yet even cooperate on their design. So designer and developers in Kama work very much in advance. One winter is not over yet and already they have to think about the coming one.
The market is still more and more demanding and asking for news.  Also thanks to reputable suppliers of materials processed by Kama (for example yarn from Schoeller AG or membranes from GORE) the brand can keep abreast in all aspects.  For example the current trend is emphasis on observed environmental norms. There is a worldwide campaign for elimination of chemicals used in textile industry, which are dangerous to health and harming the environment. Based on the impulse coming from Greenpeace movement, biggest global brands of sport wear are joining the Detox campaign. KAMA is in spite of its successes still a relatively small company, however it can proud of the certification BLUESING, where wool yarn is produced without chemical and life hazardous processes for selected products.
The most interesting part of this story is the fact that the company is still developing and has continuity. Company management was entered by the young generation heading new directions and contributing with fresh energy. Company founder Mahulena Pertlová and her young team however agree in the principles on further progress.  The following company philosophy has proved useful during past 22 years. „To have a clear defined target and to make as few as possible compromises on the way for this target “. With such attitude the results are coming and the work is fun for all participating parties.
Enjoy and have fun with Kama products.