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Ragolle Rugs adheres to local craftsmanship

'Margins are under pressure, but our production will remain in Belgium'

At the end of the last century, Ragolle Rugs established a completely new weaving mill in Waregem. Over the years, the impressive facility has been further expanded, with the expansion including new offices and showrooms completed in 2016. Upon entering the industrial building, the decades-old craftsmanship of the rug manufacturer is showcased through a mini museum. Authentic looms provide a striking contrast to the modern 65,000 m2 building.

Nearly 75 years ago, Ragolle was founded by Alfred and Maria Ragolle. At that time, Flanders was the heart of textiles and carpets. Since the Middle Ages, Belgium has possessed unparalleled knowledge in this field. Over the years, this industry has steadily declined, but Ragolle has remained steadfast. To this day, all products are manufactured 100% in Belgium.

Frans Houthoofd and Yentl Van Der Plas in the showroom of Ragolle Rugs.

Trust in uptrend
'Our production will remain in Belgium,' states sales manager Frans Houthoofd firmly. He has been active within Ragolle for 23 years. 'It's a challenging time for every production company in our country, including us. Wage costs are skyrocketing, putting pressure on margins. This is especially true when operating on an international level. Nevertheless, we remain positive. We see the market recovering. We are confident that this uptrend will continue.'

In 1985, the second generation, Myriam Ragolle and her husband Herman Verhelst, started a carpet department in West Flanders with high quality wool and viscose. Later, the collection was expanded to include rugs in heatset polypropylene and polyester. The third generation is now also active within the company. Annemie Verhelst, as head of design and developments, ensures that Ragolle's DNA remains clearly recognisable in the future. She is the granddaughter of Alfred and Maria, daughter of Myriam Verhelst.

Part of Victoria PLC
In June 2022, Ragolle was acquired by the British group Victoria PLC, specialising in floor coverings. About 40 companies are part of the flooring group, from ceramic tiles to artificial grass. Despite the acquisition, Ragolle operates autonomously, with Katrien Vandenbroucke as CEO. This allows the charm of a family business to be preserved.

'Victoria PLC saw that we were a healthy company. They were convinced that we could grow even further as a company. At the same time, our owners were approaching retirement. That's why we have now continued under the wings of Victoria PLC,' explains Yentl Van Der Plas. She has recently strengthened the marketing team.

101 countries
Although Ragolle is a quintessentially Belgian company, it is fair to say that it is internationally oriented. The rug manufacturer operates in 101 countries worldwide. 97% of sales are to foreign markets. 'Initially, the United States was our largest market. During the coronavirus pandemic, we learned that we also need to be strong in our home markets. Now, the focus has mainly shifted to Europe. There is still much growth to be achieved here,' explains Frans.

The buzzword "sustainability"
Another "new" development within Ragolle is the focus on sustainability. 'It's currently a buzzword, but it plays a really important role for us,' Yentl adds. 'Actually, it's nothing new for us, but we've never flaunted it. Yet, more and more chains are asking about the story behind our sustainable products. We don't have to make many changes. It's just a matter of sharing the story.'

For example, Ragolle generates about 40% of its own energy needs with solar panels, which are installed across the company's roof. The remaining 60% of energy is purchased from an energy supplier who guarantees the origin of entirely renewable energy (wind and solar). Yarns, textile waste, paper, cardboard, plastic, pallets, oil, ink cartridges, and batteries are also recycled.

Green rugs
At Ragolle, they have always wanted to be different from other rug products. Unique designs, special colours, and high quality. Sustainability can now be added to this list. In addition to making the production process greener, the products themselves will also undergo a change. 'All new qualities will be made as much as possible from recycled materials. It's a must to jump on the sustainability train. It's now up to us to find a balance between beautiful products and sustainability,' concludes Frans.

Interested in Ragolle's products? Then come take a look during the Flanders Flooring Days, which are held from May 13th to 16th. The rug manufacturer will participate for the second time at the event.

More information:
Ragolle Rugs NV
Maalbeekstraat 1
8790 Waregem
+32 56 77 74 79

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