Gerlinde Hofer - Sheep milk soaps and floral decorations from Upper Austria.


The Vierkanthof in Upper Austria is home to the Hofer family - renovated with great commitment and love for detail. Here, new ideas are created all the time; everyone joins in implementing them and enjoys the success.

The farms has been in the Hofer family for generations. When Gerlinde and Josef Hofer took over in 1989, it was not in presentable condition. Not only has the couple redesigned the building with their extraordinary ideas and commitment to work, but they have also created numerous things that make life more pleasant for everyone. 

Apart from traditional farming, Gerlinde Hofer knew how to combine creativity and a sense of business. In her early years she picked wild flowers and made bouquet and wreaths from them, selling them to the neighbours.

No she thinks in bigger dimensions: 40,000 wreaths from cereals were produced, cut on the field and bound and dried in the barn. The bouquet sold like hot cake in the flower shops. Turning hay into gold, figuratively spoken, this was the financial base for further success.

 The principle to produce objects of high value from relatively cheap raw materials from the farm also applied to the teddy bears from hay, unknown until then: The simple decorated teddies made from hay were produced in unbelievable quantities and sold well.

Almost at the same time, the farm changed to dairy production.

Much to the astonishment of the other farmers, who found this even funny... Nobody before had ever had such a "sheepy" idea. After all, this was an area for agriculture. Gerlinde Hofer offered her fresh cheese from sheep milk in Linz on the local market. However, the market visitors found the sheep cheese from Upper Austria so strange that they gave the booth a wide birth.

Gerline Hofer got creative and brought tasty, home-made pastry to offer to the people, who then also tried the sheep milk cheese. Quickly this resulted in repeated business. However, every time a project seems to become successful, the Hofers move on to something else. What else could you do with sheep and their milk?

This is how the new sheep milk soap idea was born, which were distributed under the name "Florex Natur".



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Soap in history


Soap production was first mentioned 4000-2000 b. C among the Sumerians. The realized hat plant ashes (al-quali, the root of the word, contains potash) together with oils had special properties and created a soap recipe. However, they overlooked the cleaning effect of the alkali mix and used it to heal injuries. The Egypts as well as the Greeks took over the chemical recipe for production of soap and the Romans were the first to notice the cleaning effect. In the antique Rome people washed with a pumice; until the birth of Christ cleaning with soap was seen as turning soft.

In the 7th century, the Arabs cooked oil and lye and created soap in its recent form. This knowledge quickly spread all over Europe. France and Spain became the centre of soap production worldwide.

Hygiene and body care were important topics. In the Middle Age, visiting a bath house was very popular and body care was better then generally assumed. Only when plague and cholera broke out, people stopped using water to wash themselves. Since it was unknown how people got infected, it was assumed that the bath water opened the body to pathogens. That the dirty roads and stream in front of the houses and the rats were the culprits was not known back then. "Dry cleaning" became popular, and the nobles went for apparent glamor and a deceptive facade. Instead of water and soap, powder and perfume was used. Pathogens, lice and fleas could spread unobstructed. Until the 17th century doctors in Europe maintained that water and air was bad for the body. Garments were seen as protection from these bad elements. The powder, too, had the purpose of sealing the body against outside influences. Underwear took the sweat from the body, and people thought that  would clean the body.

In the 17th century King Louis XIV helped soap to become popular again, when he invited the best soap makers to Versailles. He was the one who ratified the purity requirements for soap in 1688, known until today. According to this rule, soap was considered of high quality if it contained at least 72% pure oil. The Frenchman Nicolas Leblanc (1742-1806) managed in 1790 to produce larger amounts of soda. 1865, Ernest Solvay developed a new process, substituting the Leblanc process. Now there was enough soda to produce soap and soap became a reasonably priced product. People could then wash their body with soap on a regular base and rid themselves from unpleasant smells. The traditional soap production in Marseille is still in place (Savon de Marseille).


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The newest offspring of the Hofer house: son peter and his best friend Bobby.


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The beautiful inner yard of our farm in festive decoration.

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Wedding table in the cellar room.


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Carefully selected details in the Hofer House - everybody feels at home.



Soap is made from sheep milk, lanolin and pure vegetable oils. Other important ingredients are water and lye. These high-quality ingredients give soap its special creamy consistency.

Today you can buy blocks of soap to cut yourself, hand-cut pieces, soaps in the shape of flowers, animals, Christmas trees or products in fruit form. New scents are added all the time.


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The worldwide first sheep milk chocolate!


The newest product idea from Sierning was borne during a sleepless night. Together with a befriended master pastry cook, the H&H Chokoladenmanufaktur was founded under the brand name "Choco-Lina" - Lina being the first own sheep of the Hofer family. Today a number of different chocolates are on offer.

In spring 2010 Florex has taken over 98% of Chocolina Chocolade. Now we are pleased to newly present it to you on trade shows.
More information about sheep milk chocolate under


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On the up again

Dear Florex customer and friend!

Our original product - the Florex Nature Sheep Milk Soap - is still very successful, not at least due to the extraordinary decorations, the endless number of decors and the creative packaging of our soaps. I, Gerlinde Hofer, will continue to develop new soap ideas and bring joy to our customers, staff and families.


This is why we have once again extended our selection and are looking forward to present to you:

Florex soaps

Flores soap ideas

Florex Boutique

Florex – Chocolina

Florex – Lina&Lina

NEW! Florex Scented Candles from Lanolin

In order to grow our collection even further, the Florex Boutique takes over the terrycloth products an soap trays.


The idea to produce lanolin candles in addition to our sheep milk soaps has been in my head for a while now. Now we have succeeded in implementing it: We have taken over the most beautiful colors, the best scents and the most popular shapes of our soaps and created scented candles with it. Heart candles, flower candles, star candles and many more shapes will arrive soon!


Lina&Lina is my baby – with joy and love our first sheep from 1987 continues to live on in Lina&Lina. Lina&Lina brings joy – is life not great?