It all began in 1998 when Schwab’s father – himself a textile manufacturer – bought a former hosiery factory in Thum in order to boost his production capacity. The factory was mainly involved in contract manufacturing of active wear for major sports brands when qualified textile designer Christian Schwab began to experiment with prototypes for running jerseys. He had 12 Italian circular knitting machines at his disposal, on which he produced the first pieces of his collection. The fact that Schwab’s clothing is knitted rather than woven, unlike most competing products, proved to be a huge advantage in practice. “Our customers find our clothing very comfortable to wear and are impressed with its wicking ability,” explains Schwab, pointing to the current collection in the catalogue. The range of running shirts was soon expanded to include trousers, pullovers, windbreakers and fleece jackets. Own brand products now account for 50% of production and the share continues to increase. Looking back, Schwab says that the 35-strong firm would probably have folded without the thoni mara brand because at the time of launch the commercial viability of contract manufacturing was under threat.