From a Garage-Based Business
to a Global Business
In the early 90s, two brothers-in-law, Erich Stavař and Bohumír Blachut, decided to sell books from
coupon privatization and, with the 12,000 crowns they made, start a business. Their determination
and persistent work paid off: the family company Isotra, which literally came to existence in a garage,
now ranks among the leaders in shielding technology and supplies almost fifty countries around the
world with its products and machines.
Gentlemen, you began doing business in a garage,
and now you have climbed to the top of the
industry in shielding technology. What is the key
to your success?
B. Blachut: We began with the wholesale
production of window seals along with their
assembly. This is how the name Isotra came to beISO from the word “izolace” (literally isolation, but
meaning here insulation, referring to the seal) and
TRA from the word “trade.” After 1993, the demand
for window blinds expanded Isotra’s activities first
to the assembly of these blinds and then later to
their production. Our constant efforts in perfecting
our products lead to us deciding to produce our
own components for blinds and other shielding
technologies in 1995. The portfolio kept expanding,
and today we provide interior and exterior blinds,
fabric blinds, solar blinds, plisse, Japanese walls,
outdoor roller blinds, mosquito nets, awnings,
screen blinds and pergolas. Important components
include the production of components, profiling
tracks, cutting tools and technological complexes
for blinds production.
E. Stavař: We were lucky, we were growing from
the very beginning. It was definitely a very specific
situation; there was big demand for our products. It
is hard for us today to imagine that blinds were really
not available back then and you had to wait a year
or two to get them. It was also thanks to this that we
reached 25 million CZK in sales in our second year,
and in years after that to 42 million CZK, and 59 million
CZK after that, it has continually increased.
archiv Isotra a.s.
You are based in Opava. How is it doing business
here and what conditions does the city present
B. Blachut: Currently we employ more than 500 people.
I am convinced that having qualified and motivated
employees will help us maintain a good position
on the market not only right now, but also in the
future. Unfortunately, a big part of our working
capacity has been moved to the ever-expanding
state sphere--newly created state offices absorb an
increasing amount of workers that used to work in
industrial fields and services, and manufacturing
companies now miss them. Despite this, we are
able to find employees that want to work at Isotra
and build values with us. We offer our employees
many benefits, including, for example, a subsidy for
46 ǀ POSITIV 1/2020
pension insurance, a reward for exceeding profits,
a five-day holiday, social rewards, sick days and more.
A lot of people know each other in Opava, and you are
a family company. What social responsibilities do you
E. Stavař: Isotra has been operating in Opava for a long
time and employs over 500 people. It is also because of
this that in 2019 we decided to link up with the Opava
football club with the goal of developing the positive
value of both companies and brand communication.
We greatly value the opportunity to work with SFC
Opava. It is not a short-term project; we believe we will
be able to develop the values of both Isotra and SFC
Opava in the long run. As their exclusive partner, we will
have plenty of room for communication and support.
We would also like to connect with personalities like
Jaromír Jágr that have done big things in their life, and
can be seen as an example for the rest of society.
B. Blachut: We have been working with Jaromír Jágr
for a year now through the Rytíř hockey club, and it
has been very interesting for us. I sincerely value people
that have done something in their life and act with their
heart, thinking not only of their own success but want
to support others. It is for these reasons, along with
a couple others, that we wanted to expand our direct
cooperation with Jaromír Jágr. His hard work and
achievements speak for themselves and more, he acts
very human. That for me, that is key.
You are famous for introducing numerous new
products on the market. How important is innovation
in your business?
B. Blachut: Our long-term vision involves us
becoming the technological leader in shielding
technology, and that is why we constantly innovate
not only our final products, but also components and
production technologies, which means CNC profiling
machines from the production of shielding systems.
Isotra profiles itself as a European company and we
supported this strategy even in the field of trade by
founding the daughter company Isotra Jalousien
GmbH, which operates on the German market. We
consider this part of the market very important, as it
has the biggest sales potential in the field of shielding
technologies in Europe.
Thank you for the interview.