Where do we come from?

Success story family business

Dr. Wolff has always been in family ownership. Behind Dr. Wolff’s success are generations and people who put their heart and soul into the company. After Dr. August Wolff, Dr. Kurt Wolff and Doris Wolff, today the great-grandchildren Eduard R. Dörrenberg and Christoph Harras-Wolff are in charge of the company.

The era of the fourth generation, 1998 to present

Eduard R. Dörrenberg returns to Bielefeld from Singapore after four years of successfully developing the markets in Asia.


Doris Wolff passes away in September, aged 96. Following the death of her husband, Dr. Kurt Wolff, in 1978, she had built on his success, enjoying a fruitful 20 years at the helm of the company.


Dr. Christian Mestwerdt joins Christoph Harras-Wolff and Eduard R. Dörrenberg on the company’s executive board.


New machine technology enables the company to reduce production times. The equipment, which is developed exclusively for Dr. Wolff, cleans itself automatically and is notable for its increased flexibility when producing individual batch sizes.


Christoph Harras-Wolff joins the executive board as Managing Partner, assuming responsibility for the Legal, Purchasing and Societies divisions.


A new training centre is inaugurated for the company’s 100-year anniversary. The training centre also contains a small museum recounting the history of the company. In its first year, 13,000 people visit the institute to further their training and find out more about the company.


Eduard R. Dörrenberg takes over management of the company, and modernises it over the following years. Prominent marketing activities such as the “baldness calculator” and the “Doping for your hair” slogan boost the popularity of the Alpecin brand.

The era of Doris Wolff: 1978 to 1998

Even while her husband, Dr. Kurt Wolff, is still alive, Doris Wolff plays an active role in the business, standing by his side and advising on several important decisions. Following his death in 1978, she takes on the management of the company, leading the Dr. Wolff-Group with humility, discipline and a sense of duty. However, her management style is also notable for her environmental work and her ability to connect with employees on a personal level. With Doris Wolff at the helm, the company overcomes significant challenges. The construction of a new production plant for the equivalent of 20 million euros is just one of the many far-sighted investments with which she puts the company on course for the success it enjoys today.


To celebrate her 90th birthday, the Doris Wolff Foundation is founded to support scientific and educational causes; the work continues after her death.


Connected to Bielefeld: Dr. Wolff donates the “Alcina Clock” in Bielefeld’s Jahnplatz square, which remains an important landmark for residents and visitors to this day.


In order to conserve resources, the various formulations are produced from top to bottom in the building, thus making optimum use of gravity. This environmentally friendly production method wins the German Environment Prize.


Dr. Kurt Wolff’s new production facility is an outstanding example of pioneering technology. It clearly demonstrates the company’s focus on innovation – not just in terms of its products, but also with regard to the way they are produced.


The construction of new production and packing facilities at Dr. August Wolff is one of Doris Wolff’s most important decisions, demonstrating her faith in Bielefeld as a site of success.


Doris Wolff led by example, displaying values such as honesty, stability and a down-to-earth approach. By building a training centre for hairdressers and cosmetics specialists at the company’s headquarters in Bielefeld, she improves the system for specialised training for Alcina partners, with a view to long-term collaboration.


Doris Wolff takes over management of the company following the death of her husband, Dr. Kurt Wolff. She leads the company for more than 20 years.

The era of Dr. Kurt Wolff: 1942 to 1978

In 1937, the 30-year-old chemist begins working at the family company. Five years later, he is running the business following the death of his father. Dr. Kurt Wolff sees cosmetics and skincare as scientific disciplines, working with dermatologists to develop new products. The first of his innovations is linoleic acid-based compounds. Dr. Kurt Wolff expands the company systematically over the course of his 36 years in charge. His gift for leadership, extensive scientific ambitions and straightforward approach transform his father’s firm into an international company focusing on pharmacy and cosmetics.


The establishment of several training centres throughout Germany begins. Hairdressers and cosmetics experts are regular beneficiaries of the training, gaining additional qualifications.


By manufacturing care cosmetics with a scientific basis, the son of the company founder lays the foundations for a second, new company: Dr. Kurt Wolff Körperpflegemittel GmbH is born. The new company resumes Alpecin production and founds the Alcina brand.


As soon as the Second World War ends, Dr. Kurt Wolff receives a permit from City Commander Major Douglas MacOlive to resume industrial production and begin rebuilding the company. The reason behind the decision is Dr. Wolff’s special centrifugal procedure for manufacturing insulin.


Chemist Dr. Kurt Wolff researches linoleic acid and develops the first oil-in-water emulsion. This is later followed by Linola Fett for treating dry, itchy or cracked skin.

The era of Dr. August Wolff: 1905 to 1942

Born as a son of a pharmacist in 1872, Dr. August Wolff studies chemistry and pharmacy after graduating from high school, eventually receiving a PhD. In 1905, he founds a chemical and pharmaceuticals factory in Bielefeld under the name “Sudbracker Nährmittelwerke Vinces”, thus realising a long-nurtured idea for manufacturing medication in a factory. He is described as a hands-on, open-minded businessman with a good feel for brands and advertising.


Intensive scientific research forms the basis for the development

of all the company’s products right from day one. In 1928, for example, Dr. Wolff’s research reveals the healing properties of tar, sulphur and salicylic acid for the skin, scalp and hair.


The Latin term “Vinces” (You will be victorious) in the company name is also used as a trademark for various products: “Sub hoc signo vinces” (Under this sign you will be victorious). This is the birth of the company’s first logo.


Pharmacist Dr. August Wolff founds “Sudbracker Nährmittelwerke Vinces” in Bielefeld. In its early years, the company produces cough syrup, cod liver oil and various teas. One major success is the iron supplement Hämatopan.