Bernd Willi and Stefanie Ripp
Stefanie Ripp became acquainted with the big, wide world at an early age. She maintains numerous friendships with trading partners on every continent, helping to ensure that customers frequently return to Groh + Ripp.
Stefanie Ripp is also passionate about the business, which she has grown up with from a child: her father, Theo Groh, ran an agate cutting operation in Rhaunen, a village in the Hunsrück region, approximately 25 kilometres to the north of Idar-Oberstein. The company supplied many of the companies in the area. At an early age she discovered her love of the treasures of nature and the art of transforming rough stones into perfect forms. She has retained her feel for gemstones acquired from those days and she looks back fondly on the beginnings of the company: when she married Bernd Willi Ripp 41 years ago and he joined the company, in 1973, that was to become Groh + Ripp, the times were difficult and challenging, but also exciting and filled with wonderful moments. Bernd Willi Ripp and his wife were a good team from the word go. Together they travelled to customers, discussed orders and had numerous ideas. Stefanie Ripp was always a good partner and a good team player by his side, not only looking after the day-to-day needs of the company but also taking care of two small children.
To begin with they merely supplied agate to customers in the region. However, Bernd Willi Ripp dreamed of refining the products and expanding the range. He soon obtained meetings with dial manufacturers and received the first job orders.
Gradually the modest workshop evolved into a considerable company — and Groh + Ripp expanded. In 1986 the company relocated to Idar-Oberstein — and this is also where Stefanie Ripp had the idea for a geographical realignment of the company. “Everything in due course,” she says, with a smile. “We always had lots of ideas and gradually implemented these.” Idar-Oberstein has always been a centre of excellence for gemstones and gemstone crafts — in other words, just the place in which to make new contacts and maintain existing ones.
Stefanie Ripp waxes lyrical when she talks of the business trips with her husband and their daughters, which have influenced them both professionally and in private life — even if the border between work and private life has always been a fluid one for the Ripp family. “The family has always come first with us — and so has the firm,” she says, with a wink.
It is not difficult to see the enthusiasm that the family has for the company. Dealing with the most varied of precious gemstones on a daily basis is both a profession and a passion, many customers and trading partners have long become friends, who treasure the Ripps not only for their expertise and the quality of their products, but also for their warmth and openness.