The history of Nicols is a long story, starting at the very bottom of the Egean Sea 70 years ago. Come and discover our history and how the company achieved evolving with the times, one steap ahead.
Nicols, a family history…
The Nicols story begins in 1890 on a small Greek island called « Kalimnos », in the heart of a natural sponges fishery located in the Mediterranean sea.
In 1898, Jean Klimis, the current company owners’ grandfather, arrived in Belgium where he decided to found, with his brother, his little independent sea sponge workshop. During the 1st half of the 20th century, this company called « J & K Klimis » developed itself to and becomes the most important negociator of sea sponges in Europe.
In 1947, Nicolas Klimis, father to the current company owners, leaves the family business in order to start his own company : N.M. Klimis & Cie. With four associates, he imports and sells sponges originating from the Aegean Sea (Greece) and chamois leather.
The name “Nicols” simply comes from his first name, Nicolas.
The Nicols boom
Nicols develops its activities in the sector of sponges and wiping products. In 1963 the company moves to a 1000m² building in Brussels. Due to difficulties in finding sea sponges in sufficient quantities, the company branches out and begins dealing in cellulose and synthetic sponges. The company starts manufacturing scouring sponges and paint rollers.
In 1970, the Nicols brand becomes leader in Belgium. This leadership encourages the company to settle in new buildings with a surface area of 15.000 m² in Braine l'Alleud. This is the beginning of product industrialization.
In the beginning of the 80's, Nicols bought a company in the north of France - a company specialized in the production of anti-moth products and toilet blocks. Nicols then develops a strategy of producing private label products in France. In the beginning of the 90's, Nicols becomes leader of private label sponges on the French market.
The 90's marked the beginning of toilet care products and air fresheners production. The group enjoys significant growth in the 90's in France as well as in the rest of Europe.
The Nicols expansion
In 1995, Nicols sets up a branch in Poland. This branch opens its doors to eastern European markets. And what started off as a small workshop with 15 workers in 1995, became a modem the Polish factory with rapid growth turning into our largest production center during the years 2005-2012.
In 2006 Nicols installs a branch in Italy and begins production of insecticides and electric air fresheners. By the end of 2010, this industrial site is closed, and its insecticide production transferred to our modern Polish facilities, providing for efficiencies while continuing to keep our clients' expectations.
Focus on innovation
During the 2011-2013 period, Nicols focused its energy on developing in-house innovation capabilities. Today, Nicols is a leading manufacturer in the market of household and cleaning products : sponges, scouring sponges, wipes & microfibre wipes, air fresheners, lavatory care products.
The tri-layer sponges are seen everywhere in Europe but Nicols was the first to launch this product in 2010 and patent it. This product was even elected “Product of the year” in Germany to reward its innovative feature.
In 2013, Nicols launched the Fairy sponge, in collaboration with Procter & Gamble. Thanks to its unique features, our product was elected Product of the year in Belgium in 2016.
A few months ago, Nicols started to produce its cellulosic sponges with its own cellulose production.