Originally, Etam was a German company specializing in stockings, founded by the German-Jewish businessman Max Lindemann in 1918. He called his company Etablissement Mayer and shortened it to Etam. The company became successful by making their products and selling them in their own stores. In 1924, Max Lindemann introduced run-resistant stockings to the market. This innovation carries Etam's reputation beyond the borders of Germany. Rather than risk squandering his fortune by acting alone on foreign markets, Max Lindemann set up local partnerships responsible for developing Etam by franchising. At the start of the Roaring Twenties, without excessive investment, Lindemann opened Etam boutiques in Argentina, Belgium and Holland. In 1923 Etam opened its first store in London and five years later Etam opened its first store in Paris.
In 1937 the Etam shops suffered from the policy of eviction of the Jews imposed by the Nazis, which led to the liquidation of the company in Germany during the year 1938. Lindemann was able to transfer the headquarters of his company to France. After World War II Etam continued to flourish and extended its range to panties with patterns, matched with fancy bras. Although Etam ceased to exist in the UK following various takeovers, it is still a strong brand in the rest of the world.
The development of Etam is firstly based on a very wide range of products, at low prices, which is aimed at all women. For Etam lingerie, for example, more than 2,000 shapes and colors are listed each season, from lace, to cotton or microfiber fabrics, from the most plain to the most colorful.
In December 2021, Etam advertised their products in France with a short film called 'Un Hiver A L'Opéra'. The 20 second advert ran on TV ahead of Christmas time, with the song Cambodia as its soundtrack.