The idea of founding an outdoor brand and calling it Maloja came about on a perfect winter’s day in the Engadin mountains. These unforgettable and beautiful memories have made Maloja the brand it is today.
We had stumbled upon an image on the Internet, a simple image depicting a snowboarder flying through the air on a powder-laden day with sugarcoated mountaintops. Aside from this imagery there was a very small text that simply read: Maloja. We figured this must be the place where it had been taken. Stumped, we had never heard of this place before, but we went there on our last day of a week in Engadin. How lucky we have been that day as we followed our curiosity deeper into the mountains during this exceptional winter of 2001 with so much snow.
It turned out Maloja was located only 17km away from St. Moritz. And yes, the sleepy place offered perfect powder conditions, a steep grade, interspersed pine trees, a sugary white blanket of snow that covered everything and not a single track in sight. But was there a lift?
How happy were we when we discovered the rope tow. The immediate onset of excitement was followed however by a sense of disillusionment. The lift on this day was not moving! What else to do but start hiking the slope and as we did so a door began to creak open on a tiny shack which once open presented a lift operator. “Good to see you.” A man called out in his deep local dialect.
“Looks like it’s time to rev up the engine.“
What we experienced that day on the slope is history. The picture embossed in our memories is one of virgin snow, deep and soft amongst the pine trees, the feeling of pure joy for life and in our ears the cries of glee that echoed through the hills. A perfect day with an old rope tow somewhere in the Swiss Alps.
Maloja soon became a coined phrase in our circle of friends, the equivalent of anything heartfelt, true and beautiful. If the food tasted good it was Maloja. A peak, a trail or just a certain moment in time that felt good, it was Maloja. The moment shared at that simple rope tow became our paradigm for going your own way. It doesn’t take much to create a perfect day, just some courage, imagination and good friends. When we started in 2004 to create the mission for our own brand, we looked to the revelation we experienced on that fateful day in 2001. It seemed only right to name the brand Maloja. For us life is simply “Maloja“
Maloja is not just a name, it is a way of life. For sharing beautiful moments with friends to make them perfect. For never losing your curiosity about life. For the fact that it doesn’t take much to experience something special - just a little courage to leave the beaten track and dare something new.
We represent a philosophy that focuses on respect for people and nature and value ethics, sustainability and a good atmosphere with partners. The desire to be out and about in nature with a good feeling accompanies us every day - and encourages us to burden nature as little as possible.
The memories of the unforgettable deep snow day with friends are reflected in the company philosophy:
• Respect for nature and humanity.
• Finding creative inspiration through the simple things in life.
• The courage and determination to go our own way. Every time.
After 15 years, we at Maloja had the feeling our logo needed a little bit of fine tuning. As part of the re-design we took a close look at our values and our companies history. After all, it is a reminder of the values that inspired us to found the company back in 2004.
The symbolism within our logo represent a lifestyle spent in the outdoors and on the mountain:
• the full moon
• a curved path to represent a biking trail as well as ski or snowboard tracks
• a tree
• and last but not least the singular line that goes through the lettering, which represents how we go our own way with everything we do.
For us the logo still reflects our fundamental values, or better yet our attraction to nature, to follow our own path and the soul of the company.
New year, new theme. That’s how we’ve always done it at Maloja. From 2004 to today we’ve created 18 completely different collections. Collections that have taken us around the globe. For us, taking on whole-new themes has always meant gaining unique inspiration, new insights, and a profound gratitude for the worlds around us.
For the Alpen Way 2018 collection, for example, we dove into Japanese culture and the “wabi-sabi” way of life (“The beauty of the imperfect”). A few years earlier, we were in the United States on the trail of rock ‘n’ roll for the collection of the same name – a truly wild adventure in Oregon.
We took in the culture of Morocco, which is also the land of the Berbers nestled between the sea, mountains, and desert. Morocco’s hospitality astounded us, and we were once again reminded of the power of nature in the high-altitude Atlas Mountains. We came back with thousands of stories and well over 50,000 photos from our shooting there.
Pachamama, the 2013 collection, took us to the mountain ranges of South America and the heights of the Andes. We journeyed along roads that weren’t roads, over bridges that were no longer bridges, with bus drivers who achieve the extraordinary and with people we learnt so much from. For the photo shoot in Peru, we pushed our limits, made friends, and experienced the Pachamama philosophy of giving and receiving first-hand, taking back these words of wisdom: “Cuanto más difícil es, más hay que sonreir” (“The harder things get, the more you have to smile about it”). Our bus drivers Miguel and Chumpi taught us that. In fact, there was a lot to smile about.
HiSociety, our aid project for the 2012 collection, is something we enjoy looking back on. We swapped our desks for the life and community on remote mountain farms in South Tyrol for a week, where we learnt just how much work and passion the farmers put into maintaining their farmland and food production. The words “Ehret den Bauernstand” (“Honour the peasantry”) stood in embroidered letters above one of the old farmhouse doors. And that’s just what we do. For example, we only buy fair trade milk.
For our endless riding collection, we took off to Norway for the summer. What was really “endless” in Norway were the days, with daylight from 3 in the morning until 11 at night. Based on our own experience, we need to set one thing straight: daylight doesn’t necessarily mean sunshine.
We could keep listing anecdotes, but we’d probably never finish. Our collections reflect all the unique experiences we’ve experienced over the years.
Our spirit of discovery is still alive and will continue to thrive in the future.
Maloja is based in a renovated farmhouse in Chiemgau with a view of the Kampenwand mountain, surrounded by meadows, forests, a herd of Charolais cattle and Blacknose sheep.
Every day just after 12 it’s “dinner’s ready”. Our two cooks Waltraud and Matthias take turns making a lunch full of regional ingredients and flavours. It’s often vegetarian and always delicious.
A big part of our office furniture is thrifted or recycled. The floorboards of a former hay loft were used to make the desks. For our first point-of-sale materials, our fonder Peter Räuber went with his kids into the forest to gather sticks. We built our trade fair stand ourselves out of a barn that used to be in a farmyard belonging to our colleague Regina. We’ve set it up and taken it down now over 20 times for each trade fair.
We try to work with local businesses where possible. Instead of a stand builder, we hire the neighbourhood carpenter. Instead of a major online provider, we use a local print shop.
Simple means and short distances are part and parcel of our work at Maloja.