"My great-grandfather liked to wear smart things and my great-grandmother could sew ... and had a talent for business." Barbara Pauen tells how the family business started a century ago.
Now she and her brother run Ascot, the Krefeld tie specialist. Krefeld was once a tie-making center and 15 years ago, there were still 200 firms. Now there are only 15 and Ascot is the only one left making ties by hand. Production in the Far East costs only half as much and even Ascot has 40 percent of its ties made in Vietnam. But the premium range of hand-made ties costing up to 80 euros is still made in Krefeld and includes brands like Ralph Lauren and René Lezard. Ascot's turnover was 6 million euros in 2007 and it has 55 employees in Germany. Fifty percent of the output is sold abroad. Report by Linda Vierecke