That Preppy Alligator Is An Emblem of the Financial Success of Logo King Robert Koch
Koch started Swiss Maid 25 years ago with two embroidery machines and seven employees. Now the firm has a staff of more than 200. In spite of expansion, Swiss Maid remains a family business: Koch's wife, Naomi, is vice-president, his brother is production manager and his sister is an executive vice-president. "It's a pleasure working with your own family," says Koch. "An employee will do some things for you, but a sister or brother will do a little bit more."
The son of a railroad engineer, Koch grew up in West New York, N.J. While working his way through St. Peter's College in Jersey City, Koch got a job as an assistant machine operator in a local embroidery concern. At 26, he bought two machines and set up Swiss Maid. The name, he says, is a tribute to "the best embroiderers in the world."
His machines operate 24 hours a day, 240 days a year. At 51, he has no intention of slowing down. "I enjoy my work," says Koch. "Best of all, when I walk around town, it's awfully hard not to see an alligator—and that sort of alligator doesn't scare me."