Lampe Claims Success Due to Creativity, Quality and Logistics

September 5, 1999

Tielt, Belgium -- The ongoing success of Lampe Textiles is based on a combination of creativity, quality and logistics. The success of its new mattress ticking collection at the Interzum Exhibition was attributed to a new creative approach.
"True, mattress ticking is a purely utilitarian article, but all the same it doesn't have to be boring as it mostly has been up to now, unchanged for decades and impervious to any trends in lifestyle," said Hilde Willems, one of the founders. She decided to apply on mattress ticking the experience she had gained in creating curtain designs. The result is a collection of some 5,000 new tissues in various qualities, both trendy and unconventional, with new patterns combined with unusual white/beige/flax/gray color shades and, last but not least, sold at a competitive price.
Lampe Textiles started producing mattress ticking on flat looms in order to compete in this price-sensitive market segment. Within a short time, the need for more variation and creative input resulted in the purchase of a Dornier gripper loom, followed by a series of state-of-the-art air jet looms. In 1996, the company took advantage of the increasing demand for printed jacquards in decoration fabrics and created its own line of trendy curtain fabrics.
The company, created in 1988 by Philippe Lampe and Willems, recently moved into a new building in the neighborhood of its present location to allow for the production of both mattress ticking and curtain fabrics and to further expand in the near future.
"I was to become head of Utexbel's weaving department when I suddenly realized that I preferred to be my own boss and to create my own company," said Lampe, who grew up in a textile producing family in the region and worked as a textile engineer, for Barco Sycotex and Utexbel. His wife Hilde completed her studies as a doctor in medicine while helping her husband start up the new mill.
Today, the machine park consists of 15 Dornier air jet looms and one gripper loom for special effects. The machines have a combined production capacity of some 2 million running meters yearly, equally divided between mattress ticking and curtain fabrics. In 1998, Lampe Textiles realized a turnover of 220 million BEF, compared to 30 million in 1991. Mattress tickings are exported to Europe, North and South America, and New Zealand directly, while curtain fabrics are sold in several European countries to large distribution companies or via wholesalers.
All new designs are being developed in-house by Willems and a staff of three persons
on sophisticated Sophis CAD/CAM equipment. "Not seldom are we doing this in close cooperation with our clients' creative departments and in several cases we do develop complete specific collections for one client. Clearly, exclusivity is one of the key elements in our business policy, even to the extent that we refuse to work for our regular clients' direct competitors if they wish so," Willems said. "I like very much this kind of work, it needs a special kind of empathy: learning what the client is exactly aiming at, who his clients are, and going along with this. It is one of our strongest points which we certainly will never drop."
In terms of production, the company focuses on creation and weaving, "because these are what we are really good in," Lampe explained. Other stages in the production such as preparation and finishing are done outside. Shipment, however, is taken care of in-house and Lampe considers it a matter of honor to strictly respect delivery agreements.
Last June, the company moved into newly built premises. The facility has room for further expansion; the present building, some 5,000 sqm., can accommodate offices, showrooms, modern production and storage halls, with room left over another 16 looms if necessary.
"The aim is further but
well controlled growth," Lampe concluded. F&FI

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