Joseph Felfoldi - Bio

Joseph Felföldi is a Hungarian businessman, music producer, motivational writer and philanthropist. He was born on 10th November 1954 in Újfehértó, Hungary. A stubborn child, he was aware of his own creative drive early on. Following early business endeavours in different areas, Joseph Felföldi founded his company Felföldi Confectionery Ltd, which he has since successfully developed into a globally-exporting enterprise employing nearly 300 people.


 

 

Childhood and studies

Joseph Felföldi was mischievous in humor but diligent in practical work. He was only five years old when his father entrusted him with the care of a cow – a large responsibility in 1950s communist-era Hungary. In spite of the communist rules, Joseph was able to earn a little unofficial ‘pocket money’ from the price of the milk sold, providing his first insight into trading. His father József Felföldi, and his mother Erzsébet Csukrán both worked in agriculture. Joseph and his sister Erzsébet Felföldi enjoyed a supportive, benevolent relationship. The memories of their days full of fun and playing, live vividly in Joseph’s mind. He loves to recall a particular memory of him and his sister playing the roles of an actor and doctor and entertaining their parents. 

Following his elementary school years, Joseph was channeled into employment as a waiter. Early ambitions to be an actor were dashed following an accident on 19th December 1969. He was walking towards the railway station in Debrecen when a member of a child band having a snowball battle hit him in his left eye. The snowball was filled with a bearing ball, and despite the doctors’ effort, the sight of Joseph’s left eye could not be saved. The trauma caused by the accident shattered him and the bitterness, combined with bullying at school, would sometimes drive Joseph to intemperance. 

However, after 5-6 months, with force of willpower, Joseph chose reading over his more destructive inclinations. In the most difficult moments of his life, he remembered the guitar he received as a present from his sister while he was recovering in the hospital. These were the moments when music and poetry inevitably became interwoven into the fabric of Joseph Felföldi’s life.

 

Business

A restless and uncompromising person, Joseph Felföldi never wanted to be an employee. He wanted to make decisions and take responsibility for them. He was more interested in trading than anything else and he was constantly on the lookout for new investments. His ventures brought him mixed success in different trades. The successful base of his first company was the Mosoly Album (Smile Album) published between 1972 and 1988. The album contained photographs of newborn babies. The workshop where the album was made had its own photo lab and the photos of the first issue were taken by Joseph personally during his roamings in Eastern Hungary. 

In 1983, Joseph’s innovative worldview and interest in travel encouraged him to sell products already popular abroad. So-called Hungarian ’goulash socialism’ at this time meant that Hungary was becoming more relaxed and flexible than in other eastern bloc countries. Joseph was one of those pushing even harder at the limits of what the Soviet regime would allow. In this way, daring entrepreneurs like Joseph played their role in the fall of the iron curtain – which, of course, began in Hungary.

On the then-named Red Army Road in Debrecen, Joseph started to offer American hamburgers and Belgian waffles. Two years later, the colored postcards and board games distributed by Colour GMK became his livelihood. In 1989, with Hungarian independence restored, Joseph was able to scale up his printing through Felföldi Sector, and from 1990 Joseph was selling souvenirs, dried flowers, and bath salts. This was around the time when Joseph met Anita Roddick, the Body Shop founder, at a trade fair in England.

The confectionery company that Joseph still owns and runs today was founded originally in 1986. The initial staff headcount has grown to nearly 300, making the company the largest employer of its type in Eastern Hungary.

Joseph Felföldi’s ’Candy Man’ career is largely the result of a random act of kindness and a copper cauldron: When a friend sadly died, Joseph offered to buy some unused industrial equipment, simply as a way of helping the family. The copper cauldron continued to lie unused until curiosity led Joseph to discover its function of producing sugar dragee. Joseph’s experiments paved the way to his invention of the famous Quick Milk Magic Sipper in 1995. The sugar dragee filled straws became world famous and popular throughout Europe and in America and Asia. At the last count, over a hundred million children worldwide have tasted Felföldi Confectionery products. Following Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2004, market opportunities increased and since 2009, the company has enjoyed particularly strong growth, creating 100 more jobs locally and supporting the distribution of Felföldi products in over 40 countries around the world.

 

Legal cases

In 2007 an Australian company, Unistraw Holdings, accused Joseph of stealing their idea, apparently presuming that Joseph would not have the energy and resources to defend himself in different countries. After a protracted litigation, Joseph finally proved his ownership of the patent. Joseph was also attacked in Germany; however, the court in Dusseldorf found that the products were different in crucial aspects of the design, and rejected the charge of Unistraw in the infringement proceedings. The court found that Felföldi Confectionery Ltd had formally introduced its product onto the market in 2000, long before the Australian company had even filed an application for a trademark. 

In May of 2014, Joseph Felföldi with his colleagues organized a march to the building of the Parliament of Hungary demonstrating against the unfair treatment of the Hungarian Court, given that Hungary – Joseph’s own country – was the only country to drag its feet in confirming Joseph as the rightful owner of his patent. The Europen Patent Office also initiated proceedings against Joseph but in 2016 they too concluded that the ownership of the product does belong exclusively to Joseph Felföldi.

 

Art

Joseph Felföldi has always admired poetry. He was first published in a Hungarian magazine entitled Nők Lapja but his affinity in writing revealed itself years before, after Joseph met a local Hungarian poet who became his artistic mentor.

Similarly, Music became a part of Joseph’s life during his childhood, especially following the accident which left him without sight in one eye. Joseph turned to music and poetry as self-therapy and it continues to serve the same purpose today.

 

Family

Growing up in a loving and caring family, Joseph always wanted to provide a supporting and encouraging environment for his children. 

He has five children who, despite his love or because of it, he does not want to pamper. His philosophy is that in order to succeed, one needs not only to see the goal but the road leading towards it. Joseph wants his children to be motivated by the desire to be different before they become actively involved in the family business, if that’s what they ultimately choose. Joseph always tried to live his life according to his father’s advice – If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to go somewhere else where you can advance yourself further. This is what he expects from his children as well.

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The Brexit Ballet Nears it’s Final Act – Or Does It?

10. december 2018.
The Music Producer

 

I see myself as Hungarian first and European second, so I sympathize with the people of the UK but their decision to leave the EU was still a shock. We Hungarians have always appreciated the UK as a strong balancing voice in the EU and that’s something we are sure to miss.

This music video was uploaded to Youtube last year and gained almost 900,000 views. More than half of the views came from English-speaking countries, with most of the rest from European Union countries. Based on viewer comments and email feedback, Europeans pay particular attention to the possible causes and effects of Brexit – areas which are still shrouded in uncertainty this week as British politicians decide whether to back PM Theresa May’s last-minute deal, opt for a chaotic ‘no-deal’, or call a second public referendum.

I feel the near-one-million views and countless comments have vindicated the video project and I hope it will continue to draw attention to the importance of international political awareness as the world enters an ever more turbulent period of change.

Since the 2016 vote, the UK has lost its position as an EU growth-leader to become one of the slowest-developing EU countries. A combination of political exhaustion and business uncertainty over Brexit continue to weigh heavily on the economy, with many major employers already implementing plans to move part of their operations out of the country, or putting production and plans on hold until the future becomes clearer.

While Boris Johnson, a likely contender for UK leader, remains bullish about Brexit, the former Conservative prime minister, Sir John Major, has called the United Kingdom's exit from the EU a “historic mistake”.  One thing that both agree on: The need to abort Theresa May’s deal, seen as ‘the worst of both worlds’, as it ties the UK to EU rules while ruling the UK out of EU decision-making.

The British House of Commons, following an intensive period of debate, will vote on 11th December whether to go ahead with Theresa May’s deal, or to seek a new public referendum. As things stand, there is insufficient support within the house for May’s deal and with a weak parliamentary majority, a failure for May could even force a new General Election.

While the more ardent Brexiters would appear to relish a ‘clean break’ no-deal, it is generally accepted that this would prompt a repeat public referendum – this time, with three options on the ballot: Theresa May’s EU deal, No-deal, and No-Brexit.

The song is inspired by the English ballad tradition, with the lyrics identifying themes that Europeans associate with Britain: A misty island, at once nearby and distant; a proud seafaring nation with a long history; and a complex destiny intertwined with that of Europe. Out of respect, I sing the lyrics in English.

The choreography is arranged by Zsuzsa Laczó of the Csokonai Theater in Debrecen, with dancer Kitti Gall playing Britannia on a bare stage. The narrative evokes a combination of admiration, beauty, trauma, and sorrow.

With our eyes on Britain now, it creates an opportunity for self-reflection and wider reflection, too: Where we come from, where we are now and where we are heading to politically, physically and spiritually. These are significant questions we should contemplate and we should act if we don’t like the picture.

For the video please click on the link below:

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gHr55K8VqI]

 

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Felfoldi
Quickmilk
Classic Kitchen
Felfoldi Music