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Jobst-Peter Gerlach-v. Waldthausen and since 2018 his son Timor Gerlach-v. Waldthausen will lead the company as managing partners in the coming era.
Jobst-Peter Gerlach-v. Waldthausen and since 2018 his son Timor Gerlach-v. Waldthausen will lead the company as managing partners in the coming era.

Press release -

EDUARD GERLACH GMBH: 150 years of everything for the well-being of the feet.

Eduard Gerlach GmbH with its two brands GEHWOL and GERLACH TECHNIK is regarded as one of the most important complete providers of foot care preparations and units for equipping foot care practices and cosmetic institutes. There as well as in pharmacies, GEHWOL preparations are also the most widely sold cosmetics for foot care – and also the best known in all of Germany. “Everything for the well-being of the feet”: With innovative performance and consistently continuing to develop product ranges to professionally keep the feet healthy – that’s our claim. After all, health – aside from absence of illness – also means a comprehensive sense of well-being. This concerns both aesthetic claims of being well cared for and the feeling of not having any problems – from head to toe.

We are in 1868, right in the industrial period, when the learned druggist Eduard Gerlach took over the tradition-rich colonial wares business from his father and added a new field to the company – a pharmacy. In those days, it was the first one in the region around Lübbecke. At that time, foot care was not yet the core business, but would soon become this. Gerlach recognised the signs of the times: Good, comfortable leather shoes were not yet a product for average citizens, who were subject to extreme foot strain as factory workers or agricultural workers. Gerlach knew this, for he had had to participate in the different wars of his time as a soldier and experienced for himself how unpleasant and painful it can be to get sore and blistered feet. He combined this personal experience with his professional abilities as a druggist. In 1882, he brought to market the first industrially-produced foot care cream in the world; this product was named E. GERLACH’S PRESERVATIVE CREAM.

From a potash bath to a foot care cream

Gerlach knew that foot problems were usually relieved in a bath containing a wood ash solution. The footbath was known for its callus-softening and wound-healing properties, but had the decisive disadvantage that it could barely be done during the long marches common at that time. Therefore, Eduard Gerlach looked for a preparation form which could be used anywhere easily and had a comparable effect. He was successful in creating a suitable protective cream and producing it in a consistently high quality, far exceeding the well-known footbath with its preventive properties. The “Preservative Cream”, which was prepared from unsaturated fatty acids, special medical soap and mineral gliding agents, was combined with disinfecting and deodorizing essential oils. Foot care as a home measure to prevent foot problems was thus born in this pioneering act. The product, which received numerous international awards, brought in a new era: foot care became affordable for a large portion of the population. With this, Gerlach created the prerequisites for the creation of a general consciousness of foot care in all classes of society and Lübbecke became the centre of the foot care world.

GEHWOL. Everything for the well-being of the feet

Since that time, the company has become the partner, friend and impulse provider of professional and home foot care both in Germany and internationally. So it is understandable that foot care received a brand name which proudly expressed this self-vision: GEHWOL. Everything for the well-being of the feet. With the words “Production of pharmaceutical, chemical-technical preparations: products against sore and sweaty feet” the trademark GEHWOL was first registered generally in 1910 and later even in the trademark roll of the German Imperial Patent Office. The brand under its current name was born. The company kept being obligated to follow the traditional principles of the company founder at all times: pioneer function, innovation and absolute quality orientation are just as anchored as the partnership-based cooperation with the specialized trade. In today's Germany, according to market research results, GEHWOL is both the best-known and one of the most popular foot care brands; in the specialist trade it is even the most commonly used one at all. It includes over 90 brand products, including creams, lotions, foams, footbaths, sprays, salves, powders, tinctures, pressure relief products made from highly-elastic polymer gel, and active substance plasters. Their fields of application range from the care of cold, stressed or sweaty feet, dry skin and callus through the effective prevention of foot and nail fungus as well as foot odour. GEHWOL med also constitutes a medical care concept.

It is suitable for the therapy-accompanying care of very dry skin, excessive hard skin, cracked skin up to the infection-preventing special care of sensitive, itchy and reddened skin, for example with diabetes, neurodermatitis, foot or nail fungus. In product development, the focus is on the search for high-quality, natural or near-natural ingredients and active substance complexes, which are selected, intensively tested and processed according to strict international quality standards. From now on the range also includes products that meet the consumers' growing need for spa treatments and the desire for pronounced skin aesthetics. Here products such as the Cream, the Scrub, the Lotion and the Nourishing Bath of the FUSSKRAFT Soft Feet series or the pharmacy product GEHWOL Softening Balm set trends with active ingredients such as milk, honey and deep-acting hyaluron and convince with a refreshing fragrance.

FUSSKRAFT for foot care experts

The partnership with foot care experts is one of the reasons why the invention of the foot cream became a success story beyond the present day: In post-war Germany, professional foot care began to become established as an independent service in the health market, originally from the occupational profile of barber surgeons. Foot care experts have the best insight into the foot health of their customers. Consequently it is them who can make the best recommendations for the development of foot care products. For this reason, Gerlach launched GEHWOL FUSSKRAFT in 1961. This is a product series that is exclusively geared to the needs of foot care practices, is only available there and is therefore closely tied to the foot care professional's consulting expertise.

Pioneering work in technical equipment as well

In 1965 the product range began to be expanded: It was created as a response to the expanding service market in the GERLACH TECHNIK division. As in the sector of preparations, the technical equipment also benefits from the traditional close link to foot care experts: Their practices have always provided the impulses which the company picks up and turns into offerings which meet the requirements of the professionals. User friendliness, suitability for practical use, technical performance, ergonomics, simplicity, design and hygiene form the ideal guidelines for this. In 1969, Gerlach began the distribution of the first furnishings and foot care motors from Orthofex, partner from the Netherlands. One year later, the foot care cabinet RK 70 followed. It was equipped with a micromotor handpiece, which had an automatic collet for the cutter attachments and was able to extract skin and nail residues directly during treatment.

The motor handpiece was easier to handle than the plain bearing handpieces common until that time, and the suction function was an important advance in the field of hygiene. Since those days, the company has continuously kept developing its technological offerings and turned them into a complete product range at a good price-performance ratio. Like the preparation line, the extensive range of Eduard Gerlach GmbH for the practice equipment also fulfils the claim: “A suitable solution for every need!” Thus the range now comprises foot care equipment with suction or spray processing, patient chairs, ergonomic work chairs, work cabinets, autoclaves, disinfection equipment and other hygiene equipment. In addition to the large-scale technology, there are also hand instruments made of stainless steel and rotating instruments made of materials such as stainless steel, diamond or ceramic. For nail correction, Gerlach offers novel brace systems developed together with podiatrists. Commodities for practice hygiene and medical wound care are also found in the assortment. The technical equipment meets a high level of health protection, performance and safety for users and patients – as required by law. For this reason, there are products specially designed for medical foot care professionals (podiatrists) in the technology assortment, which as medical devices undergo a special conformity assessment procedure that is according to EU standard for the healing and therapeutic work of medical professionals in question. Should there ever be a technical problem, a special house service has been in use since 1970: As soon as there is functional damage, foot care experts receive a loan unit, which as far as possible is identical in construction, until the damage is repaired in the in-house repair shop or by the area-covering regional service operations. Above all, the local repair is considered a preferred service, since the regional proximity makes the waiting time even shorter in an ideal case.

World brand GEHWOL

What do, for instance, Kuwait, Surinam, Kazakhstan, Germany and the Netherlands have in common? These countries are all the home of people who value their foot health. And people trust in the quality of GEHWOL products around the globe. Because what druggist Eduard Gerlach lived and created 150 years ago as a determined supporter of general foot health still convinces today's users in the form of its current advancement. Therefore, not just GEHWOL FOOTCREAM, but the complete preparation range is a popular export today. The products and technology from the house of Gerlach have meanwhile become available in more than 50 countries all around the world and promote foot care awareness there.

This continues internationally what distinguished the company's father Eduard Gerlach himself: Foresight and courage! Developing products the need of which in the general public can be guessed with good knowledge of general foot health and hygiene, but for which there is still no established market, requires pioneering spirit and conviction. Eduard Gerlach was convinced that his products could improve the health of all people's feet and provide them with relief through care – at a time when pedicure at a professional level was at best reserved for exclusive niches. Gerlach and its importers have shared this conviction to this day.

Also committed to the academic thought

Loyalty to the specialized trade has been one of the traditional promises of the GEHWOL brand since the beginning. The principle behind it is clear: Helping people with foot problems is a partnership performance. This should include effective preparations and modern technology. However, the foot care expert's know-how in particular should be included as well. In their practices and podiatry facilities, they treat foot problems by every trick in the book. Foot care professionals, pharmacists and pharmaceutical technicians do even more. They motivate people to do something for the health of their feet on their own. They advise on product selection, provide information on ingredients and galenics and explain the benefits of the different pharmaceutical forms. Gerlach supports and promotes these challenges. Here, the 80-person indoor and field service team rank first. All podiatrists have their respective individual contact person, who advises them on questions of practical equipment, instructs them in the handling of new devices, instruments or treatment techniques and also supports them with obligatory tasks of the user, e.g. in the area of hygiene, maintenance or validation of medical devices. It is helpful here that the majority of the Gerlach specialist trade consultants as a matter of fact are trained podiatrists who, in addition to their practical work, often take training and further education tasks in schools, at trade fairs or at seminars.

Support for broad foot care awareness

Gerlach von Lübbecke complements personal coaching with numerous aids, such as training videos on the use of instruments, brochures, posters and other items for patient advice. This includes Gerlach's own journal – FUSSPFLEGE AKTUELL, which reports on treatment topics and topics of nourishing cosmetics three times a year. For the customers in the field of professional pedicure, there is also a separate foot care journal (GEHWOL Journal). Gerlach conducts regular studies on foot care awareness, care behaviour and care motivation of people in Germany in order to determine new approaches of reasoning for foot consultation by specialist circles.

For example, every other year the GEHWOL foot care trends show which age groups in Germany have which foot problems and what they do about it. The GEHWOL Diabetes Report in turn asks – also every other year – more than 3,000 diabetics about their foot care expertise and highlights the doctors' diagnostic procedure for the identification of risk patients for the development of diabetic foot syndrome. On this subject in particular, Gerlach has most recently also held an interdisciplinary round table, in which pharmacists, dermatologists, diabetologists and podiatrists discussed how foot care awareness and behaviour of diabetics in Germany can be optimised through appropriate product offerings, but also structurally through more training and consultation with the help of all the specialist circles involved.

Gerlach – number 1 among complete foot care providers

What began 150 years ago with the development of remedies for foot problems and helped the first foot care cream for home use to great market success 136 years ago has now made GEHWOL the best-known foot care brand by far in Germany. The tradition from the beginnings still holds true: “Everything for the well-being of the feet”. Building on this tradition, the pharmacy which was founded by Eduard Gerlach has developed into one of the most successful mid-size companies in Germany with 160 employees and annual sales of more than 45 million euros. It is one of the few owner-led traditional houses which still reside within Germany as well as develop and manufacture their own products. Today, the Gerlach name stands for 150 years of foot care competence – a background of experience in which both consumers and foot care experts put their trust when choosing their preparations, instruments and devices. It is not for nothing that GEHWOL is the leading foot care brand in the traditional specialist trade. And there is a reason why Gerlach was awarded the prestigious Beauty Forum Award in the pedicure/podiatry category a total of ten times, most recently in 2016/2017 compared to seven companies ranked number one in overall customer satisfaction. 

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With its two brands, GEHWOL and GERLACH TECHNIK, Eduard Gerlach GmbH is one of the most popular complete providers of foot care products and technology. Its full product range includes products with various pharmaceutical forms, galenics and active substance formulations and for different skin types and skin problems. These products are available exclusively from pharmacies, foot care practices and cosmetics institutes. 

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Footcare made in Germany

Eduard Gerlach GmbH with its two brands GEHWOL and GERLACH TECHNIK is regarded as one of the most important complete providers of foot care preparations and units for equipping foot care practices and cosmetic institutes. There as well as in pharmacies, GEHWOL preparations are also the most widely sold cosmetics for foot care – and also the best known in all of Germany. “Everything for the well-being of the feet”: With innovative performance and consistently continuing to develop product ranges to professionally keep the feet healthy – that’s our claim. After all, health – aside from absence of illness – also means a comprehensive sense of well-being. This concerns both aesthetic claims of being well cared for and the feeling of not having any problems – from head to toe.