Fritz Henkel and his business partners founded the company in tough economic times. Economic growth had declined sharply as a result of the so-called Founders’ Crisis from the mid-1870s onward, and banks were unwilling to grant loans to young companies like theirs. The company survived its first years with difficulty.
Following the lack of success of the Universal-Waschmittel (universal detergent) and the withdrawal of the two partners in 1877 and 1879, Fritz Henkel assumed sole responsibility for his company.
The young company founder refused to be intimidated by these initial setbacks and continued to believe in his vision of an efficient and affordable detergent. In 1878, he launched Henkel’s Bleich-Soda (bleaching soda) – the company’s first market success.