xMas Calendar N° 07: Sweet, sweet Swissness – Bärli & Schwänli

Posted on 07/12/2018 by Eileen Schuch
Bärli & Schwänli Schweizer Tradition Handwerk

Bärli & Schwänli is an exciting new Swiss startup. The company was founded in November 2017 and is based in Emmental. Passionate about developing authentic Swiss handicrafts, Bärli & Schwänli curates the best of Swissness and is working with numerous partners from all over Switzerland – artisans from an array of local cottage industries ranging from mountain farmers, sheep breeders, saddlers, wood sculptors, soap makers, wool milliners, weavers, and small factories to ceramic and concrete artists. The company specializes in transforming raw materials into lifestyle products with the support of their partners. Just recently, they launched their own e-Shop.

For an extra cosy, authentic Christmas, Bärli & Schwänli put a sweet gift behind the 7th window of our Advent Calendar: 3 gift boxes in the total value of CHF 200. That is one larger box and two smaller ones filled with Swiss handicraft and wrapped with love!


Bärli & Schwänli


Why Bärli & Schwänli was created

The founder, Melanie Schmitz, originally from Germany, is a marketing and communications’ specialist. Now based in Emmental, she calls Switzerland her home. Since her arrival, she is continually amazed by Switzerland’s fascinating traits, habits, and artisanal secrets.

“My Swiss friends just don’t understand my euphoria”, she says with a giggle. “They perceive my Swiss discoveries as completely normal and say that this is just their normal way of life.”

And she adds: “Since moving from Basel city to the Swiss countryside, I have visited many trade fairs and farmers’ markets, discovered numerous amazing ancient arts and crafts. Nevertheless, my impression remains the same: while these high-quality materials are well produced, much more can be created from these fabulous ideas and traditional products!”. And this is why she created Bärli & Schwänli, to facilitate exactly that!

Bärli & Schwänli, a love project

Melanie is a marketing and public relations’ professional with considerable experience in the luxury hotel business – her motivation is bringing the right mix of partners together to create authentic Swiss lifestyle products. That was the motivation to create Bärli & Schwänli which is a love project of hers. At the heart of the enterprise is the networking philosophy that is one of Switzerland’s core values: working together, sustainable use of natural resources, the love of nature, a high awareness of quality, the combination of traditions with modernity, esteem and a lot of passion for what you do!

The Bärli & Schwänli partner network

Initial ideas were taken up quickly; as soon as the first companies in Switzerland were selected, contacted and the concept presented, there was no stopping to creative ideas: products started to pile up and this was only the beginning. Many more ideas and products are in the making!

“Throughout Switzerland, we have found people who instantly fell in love with our concept of transforming various Swiss craftsmanship into a distinct set of products. It has been a true pleasure to bring all these different artisans together so that they are developing unique handicrafts for us”, Melanie says proudly.

Artisans and local factories that Bärli & Schwänli is collaborating with include: mountain farmers (i.e. mountain herbs, flower mixes, hay flowers in sachets, teas, soaps and bath salts), black-nosed sheep breeders (from whose wool the ‘coffee to go’ mugs are created, cutlery bags, placemats, soap containers, etc.), saddlers (who have created exclusive leather bags and backpacks from old firefighter belts and linen bags previously used to hold the Confederation’s money!), soap makers (who have used mountain herbs and traditional flowers as well as goats’ milk to make unique soaps), textile manufacturers (who have created covers for the fragrant sachets and cushions, made from traditional Swiss cloth), weavers (who have supplied organic sheep wool for knitting pillows, placemats and other designs), the Equipe Volo Foundation from Biel (who has created hand-knitted cushions and transformed Swiss military blankets into pillow cases), wood sculptors (whose products range from coffee mugs to cool eggcups), dollmakers (who produced, among others, the little felt goats that are symbolic for Bärli & Schwänli), many more artists including cement workers (famous for their Chalet style tea-light holders, ceramic artists from Zürich (who have created designer dishes with goats motifs), and the “Heimatwerk Haslital” (who creates items from traditional fabrics).

We met the brand at Montreux Moda and these are some of the artisans that were featured during the event:

The fluffy companions

Around 200 black-nosed sheep live in the wool rich valley of ‘Haslital’ in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. A local company called “WollReich” developed a black-nosed sheep coat for ‘coffee to go’ mugs, cutlery bags, placemats and soaps in woolen jackets. Visit www.wollreich.ch to see their creations.

Bring a piece of the Swiss Mountains home

The “herb fairy” has designed three exclusive alpine flower mixes for the event. They are used in herbal sachet bags for men, women, and children: Schwänli, Bärli and Gitzis. Her herbal soaps are already present in the Swiss market and bath salts will soon follow… Not to mention her wonderful tea creations!

Bio Swiss quality herbs are grown on a mountain farm in Braggio (www.braggio-refontana.ch). The wonderful fresh organic goat milk soaps containing a mixture of these mountain herbs and flowers are produced at Seifenstück (www.seifenstück.ch).

Organic hay flowers can be found not only in the pillows made from traditional Swiss cloths and fabricated by the “LiLeLU” sewing atelier in Konolfingen (www.lilelu.ch); they are also included in the bath sachets. These flowers originate from the meadows of the “Wallisers Schwarznasen” (www.wallisersschwarznasen.ch). They are natural remedies for colds, body pains, and rheumatism.

Attached to the roots

Tradition is paramount in Switzerland and for the artisans at Haslital, it is a way of life. They make very stylish braces for men and boys, aprons, and scarves… www.heitmatwerk-oberhasli.ch.

Bärli & Schwänli’s spinning mill partner “Vetsch” (www.wollspinnerei.ch) provides their knitters at Equip Volo Manufaktur in Biel with pure Swiss sheep wool. This type of cooperation is really important for the company for many reasons, the social aspect for one and then, of course, the unique mix of products. These two manufacturers supply innovative creations including knitted pillows and cushion covers made from former Swiss military blankets.

Another partner is Regina Marti, an artist from Zurich now living in Scotland. She created and brought to life the company’s logo and also designed the little felt goats (Geissli) that are symbolic for Bärli & Schwänli: www.marticreates.com.

Tradition meets Modernity

The talented concrete artist from Oberfelden (www.dekovariationen.ch) created modern chalet style tea-light holders and a variety of table decorations, especially for Montreux Moda. A ceramic artist from Zürich (www.stadtrand-keramik.ch) crafted modern bread plates and egg cups in a unique ‘goat’ style design.

View this little “Best of Bärli & Schwänli” from DUO Films:




  1. Pingback: 7 years coolbrandz, CHF 7000 worth of gifts – Thank You!

  2. Bravo et encourageons les produits bien de chez nous , il y a tellement de choses qui viennent de Chine , alors bravo à nos artisans et bonne continuation à eux !!!

  3. Typisch Schweiz ist für mich Verlässlichkeit, Pünktlichkeit, guter Service, Sauberkeit und tolle Landschaften.

  4. Je ne connaissais pas cette marque mais ils ont l’air de faire des choses super chouettes❤️

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