In 1894, a young Czech shoe-maker named Tomaš Bat’a decided to start his own shoe business in his home town of Zlin. He decided that his mission was to provide comfortable shoes of great quality at affordable prices. In order to serve customers with such shoes, Tomas Bata constantly experimented with new manufacturing processes and techniques.
He was a restless entrepreneur and continued to innovate, not just with production techniques, but also with organizational structures. All Bata employees in the factories were incentivized in new ways and provided with healthcare, education, housing, sports centers and other facilities.
As Bata expanded in the 1920s and 1930s, the architect Le Corbusier was asked to advise on the urban planning of Zlin, to plan a prototypical industrial town.
As Tomas Bata developed a vision "to shoe mankind", he built factory towns named "Batavilles" around the world. These were replicas of Zlin, following the same processes and techniques but making shoes adapted for each local market. The Batavilles were opened in France, UK, India, Indonesia, Holland, Pakistan, Switzerland and many other countries. They included the same employee amenities: housing, schools, hospitals and entertainment to create a strong sense of community and employee participation.
Today, Bata remains a family business, which serves one million customers a day around the world, with 23 factories and over 5,000 stores across 70 countries. Many of the "Batavilles" are still in existence today across the globe and still provide these employee services.
Everywhere it operates, Bata is proud to be considered a local brand.