The Libeco Story
The Libeco Story is one of ups and downs, of prosperity and struggle. Nevertheless, it is a story about a group of people who stayed loyal to its beliefs and to its precious raw material: the flax fiber.
Quite a simple statement
…you might think? Well, you are right: it is that simple. We believe in linen for almost 160 years now. It all started in 1858 when Paul Libeert and Victor Lagae each founded a linen trading company. They were only two of many who believed in linen at that time. Their separate journeys would take almost 140 years until both companies joined paths.
The key to their success
…was their belief. Although the course wasn’t all plain sailing. Libeco had to reorganize itself at least three times in order to remain competitive and even survive. After the Wall Street crash of 1929, the demand for linen was at an all-time low and many flax farmers could not live from the return on their harvests in the years to come. After World War II, during which the linen mill had been closed, the flax price boomed due to the high demand: it was the start of a prosperous but brief period, as synthetic fibers were introduced in many industrial applications by the 1960s.
It seemed like the flax fiber did not have a bright future and although a lot of weavers, spinners and farmers had to abandon their profession, some kept believing. Libeco specialized even further in weaving linen. The mill was completely renewed and was one of the first to weave flax on modern looms.In the 1990s, a successful merger with Lagae and further diversification of the product range, made sure Libeco prospered. Given their shared passion for linen, it was a perfect marriage for both companies.
Libeco is a flourishing company, employing more than 200 people in our Belgian weaving mill and we all still #believeinlinen. It means unconditional love for its natural characteristics, but also working hard, making right, and sometimes difficult, choices. Of course, a stroke of good luck once in a while also plays its part.
Hear more on our story from Raymond Libeert himself in the video below. He is the fifth generation of his family to run the company and knows its history like no one else.