Schweizer Emblem Company Reaches 100-year Milestone

As originally published by The Freeman

From the United States Postal Service, to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department, to the Pittsburgh Penguins, patches and emblems of all sorts have come to be right here in Waukesha at the Schweizer Emblem Company.

The business is celebrating their 100-year anniversary this year as of February. In addition, Emily Sampson is taking over the business as owner as of today.

The company was first started by Rudy Schweizer in downtown Chicago in 1922. The business logo was created in 1935 by Schweizer, which depicts the village that he came from in Switzerland.

Schweizer had embroidery looms brought in from Switzerland, Sampson said, when all of the embroidery was handmade. Now, a lot of it is done with a computer — digitized and automatic.

Sampson’s great-great aunt, Lilian Switzer, was an accountant for the business for many years before taking over the business. Then, Sampson’s grandfather, who worked in sales, took the business over from her when she was ready to retire. Sampson’s grandfather, Joe Binder, passed away in 2013, which is when Sampson’s mother, Nancy Madsen, took the business over.

Now, Sampson, a fourth-generation owner, is taking over Schweizer Emblem Company today.

Schweizer Emblem Company works with a graphic designer on a contractual basis, but often the clients come with a design already created. Manufacturing of the patches, pins and more was sent across the U.S. and overseas in the 1980s.

The business’ main focus is patches. They also do lanyards, pins, luggage tags and photo emblems. They also create bullion crests, which are handmade in India.

Sampson said the business is always looking to expand and create new things — whatever the market needs.

Some of the larger clients the business has worked with include the Chicago Blackhawks for Scout night patches, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, and many uniform companies out of Chicago.

The business’ main focus is patches. They also do lanyards, pins, luggage tags and photo emblems. They also create bullion crests, which are handmade in India.

Sampson said the business is always looking to expand and create new things — whatever the market needs.

Some of the larger clients the business has worked with include the Chicago Blackhawks for Scout night patches, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, and many uniform companies out of Chicago.

“I actually met the (Milwaukee County) sheriff at a Bucks game and we just started chatting and he just directed me to the right person and it worked out,” Sampson said.

Family business

Before the Schweizer Emblem Company’s offices were moved, Madsen and Sampson were driving from the Waukesha County area to Illinois, where the business had been located.

Madsen is stepping down for retirement — excited to make time for travel and family. Sampson and Madsen both live in Pewaukee.

“It’s a really niche business,” Sampson said. “You see a lot of it everywhere and nobody really thinks about where it could have come from, kind of like anything. The fact that it’s been in my family for how many years really means a lot to me, so I want to carry on the business, live up to the family name.”

The business is very family oriented, Sampson said, with three samoyed dogs that hang out at the office. In addition, the business is shared with Sampson’s husband, who owns In-House Computer Services.

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