1929 – 1940
In the late twenties Gustaaf Van Butsele decided to expand his existing mill for woollen fabrics in Ronse to Nederbrakel and to make natural silk fabrics there.
The economic crisis in the early 1930s had strongly displaced the demand for natural silk in favor of a new yarn “rayon“. When the building was completed, twisting machines were bought to work this new yarn, and so a twisting plant took the place of a weaving mill. His son Henri took over the day-to-day management and the finished yarns were initially only sold to the own weaving mill, but from 1932 on also to third parties.
In May 1940 the building was hit by several bombs and one person was killed.
After the war, son Gerard joined the ranks and developped the winding and preparation of rayon on beams, which are supplied to a large number of weaving mills.
With the liberation, nylon yarn also became popular and Soieries Elite started twisting this yarn and processing it into highly elastic texturised yarn.
In 1956 Henri dies suddenly at the age of 49. Gerard continues the company on his own.
In 1959 Gustaaf also dies. Polyester yarn becomes part of the range of raw materials.
By that time Gerard introduces hollow spindles. All kinds of combinations of yarn can now be made, optimizing the properties of each yarn.
1960 – 1980
In 1963, a modern sectional warping facility with large capacity is built in a new building. We also gradually start delivering yarns to Dutch and French customers.
Lurex® yarn is used for the first time in 1965. Soieries Elite soon became a supplier of the gold and silver threads for weaving and knitting mills home and abroad. Soon ader, an agreement was made with Lurex® in Amsterdam that we would twist all the yarn for their account and they kept the exclusive right of selling the brand.
Marcel De Bolle , son-in-law of Gerard joins the company in 1971. The demand for Lurex® is fashion-related and therefore very irregular: very high or almost nothing. As twisting capacity at Soieries Elite is sometimes insufficient, Lurex® decides to buy supplementary machines, instals them in Amsterdam but soon transfer them to England because of cheaper wages.
In 1976 Lurex® decides to stop the twisting and the entire machinery is bought by Soieries Elite , which almost doubled its own capacity. Extensive specialization and a strict quality standard ensures that Soieries Elite is a valued partner for many companies that want to market high-quality specialities.
1980 – 2000
Gerard Van Butsele retires at the end of 1981 for health reasons Quality is becoming increasingly important. Investments are therefore being made in new machines that deliver high quality and that yield better profitability through lower production costs. Together with a group of motivated and skilled employees, we manage to meet the requirements of our customers and always find an answer to new questions.
In 1989 joins Isabelle Van Butsele the company as financial and administration manager. Gerard Van Butsele dies in 1992 at the age of 72.
In 1993, the pressure of environment regulations became almost fatal for us as a new permit for operating the factory was refused. The main reason was that we are located in a residential zone and that the noise level of the factory exceeds, during the night, the standards valid in this zone. Ader years of consultation and discussion, the government nevertheless accepts a remediation plan allowing us to stay.
At the end of 1998 we can start with the renovation to meet the noise standard of Vlarem II. At the same time accessibility of the factory for trucks was improved, pleasant and spacious offices were created and we have taken care of the preservation of a valuable industrial architecture.
The new millenium is characterized by more international growth. Because we develop and produce in a very customer-oriented way, our market is virtually limited to the EU.
High wage costs and environmental requirements mean that many companies, both customers and suppliers, relocate their production outside Europe. The growing prosperity in those low-wage countries is also making them more and more consumers of our products.
In order to survive, we must focus more on sales outside Europe. Keeping management, production and sales with one person becomes difficult. At the same time, consideration is also given to rejuvenation by appeling to the next generation.
The retirement of the person responsible for organisation of the production is used to hire textile engineer Wim Gernaey. Filip De Bolle, programmer and son of Marcel De Bolle, was hired as financial and administrative director in replacement of Isabelle Van Butsele. And for commercial purposes, someone with experience in international sales is hired.
Marcel de Bolle retires at the end of 2010 and a new generation takes over the reins.