Established in 1891 by Jacques Leutenegger, an immigrant from Switzerland, the business had its roots in importing Swiss lace and ribbons. Based in Brisbane, Mr. Leutenegger continued to travel home regularly to Europe to source goods for his company while servicing the greater Brisbane regions haberdashery needs. His death in 1909 left the business in the hands of his family, who continued to run it for 3 generations until 1986. As well as haberdashery, the business had a large millinery arm producing the majority of Queenslands ladies fashion hats and school headwear.
In 1986, J Leutenegger Pty Ltd was bought by Dianne and Ron Baldwin. They built the business to the point where it was publicly floated in 1992 and acquired Mountcastle Pty Ltd and John Bardsley Hats Pty Ltd, making J Leutenegger Pty Ltd the largest manufacturer of hats in Australia and exclusively supplying the army, navy, air force and police force.
In 1997 Leutenegger was taken over by what was then Hancock & Gore Ltd, now HGL Ltd. The business was re-privatised and spilt into two, separating the headwear from the sewing and craft. This allowed both businesses to grow independently with more effort being afforded to growing industries. HGL saw the opportunities to expand within the sewing and craft market by acquiring a number of existing companies and consolidating into one large business. The first coup came in the form of the Australian subsidiary of Newey Goodman Ltd, the worlds largest haberdashery manufacturer. Following this, Leutenegger acquired the east coast operations of Parkinson & Mann Pty Ltd and, what was their greatest acquisition to date, the business of DMC Australia. Following the acquisition rights to DMC’s business, the worlds leading brand in embroidery and tapestry needlecraft, Leutenegger relocated to Sydney where it also acquired Beutron, the market leader in buttons. During this time they also achieved distributorship of many of Americas top craft fabric brands from many major fabric houses.
During this period of growth and change, Leutenegger's market share grew substantially and business quadrupled in sales, making Leutenegger one of the largest companies operating in the Australian and New Zealand sewing and craft industries.
In 2011 Leutenegger will celebrate 120 years of business in the sewing and craft industry in Australia.