Margot Fraser, Entrepreneur Who Introduced Birkenstock to the U.S., Dies

Footwear industry veteran Margot Fraser, who brought the iconic German comfort brand Birkenstock to the U.S., died last week.

Fraser, who was inducted into FN’s Hall of Fame in 1997, was instrumental in building the brand into a multimillion-dollar business over its first 40 years in the States.

“It is not an overstatement to say that Margot’s pioneering efforts paved the way for European comfort brands here in the U.S.,” said David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas. “It is because of Margot and the foundation she built that the brand is enjoying the success it is today. And it is because of Margot that shoes that are good for you have a a place in so many stores and closets across the country.

Fraser began her career as a German-American dressmaker and designer, and first discovered Birkenstock sandals while on a spa trip to Germany in 1966. She found the anatomically designed footwear delivered immediate comfort, which prompted her to contact Karl Birkenstock to explore importing his family’s quirky designs. Fraser was given distribution rights and launched the business from her home in California.

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