The founding of the Ebneter & Biel business goes back to 1880, just as hand embroidery was becoming established in Appenzell. That Appenzell, in central Switzerland is the long-established centre for embroidered textiles. Owing to the exceptional quality of its embroidery and the timeless and elegant designs, the house of Ebneter & Bärlocher quickly earned the good reputation that it still holds today. The firm specialized, as today, in hand-embroidered table linen and handkerchieves; in addition doilies and fine silk lingerie were made to order and according to customers’ special requests.
1911 the first shop was opened in the famous Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St.Moritz and the business grew fast. The First World War put an abrupt end to any euphoria. At the end of WWI, nineteen-year old Milly Bärlocher was sent to St.Moritz to help put the business back on its feet. In 1925 Milly Bärlocher married Heinrich Biel and the partnership of Ebneter & Bärlocher became the firm of Ebneter & Biel, which was successful and employed 150 embroideresses in Appenzell.
With the subsequent deep recession, the growing tensions between the great powers and the associated business sanctions and restrictions in tourism, it became increasingly difficult to keep all the embroideresses busy. In view of this, the firm opened a second shop in 1934, on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zürich. The shop in Zürich enabled Ebneter & Biel to reduce dependence on exports and tourists, so that the business successfully survived the Second World War.
Under the management of Heinrich and Milly Biel-Bärlocher the firm Ebneter & Biel grew again fast, so that in 1953 the St.Moritz shop changed location from Badrutt’s Palace to the Post Hotel. The Zürich shop progressively became a burden and was closed in 1961. The number of embroideresses in Appenzell gradually decreased and it became more difficult to find sufficient professional craftswomen. In order to fulfill demand, new sources were investigated within Europe. In Portugal embroidery reaching Swiss quality standards was found and since 1970 hand embroideries are made in Portugal and Switzerland.
In 1997 Christian and Andrea-Rita Biel took over management of Ebeneter & Biel in the fourth generation. Following several changes of location, the shop in St.Moritz is now at Plazza dal Mulin 6. Today, the siblings are committed with heart and soul to supplying their valued clientele with the most beautiful hand embroideries of the highest quality.