Meet Pierre and the recycled wool weavings
After we met Jean-Michel and Fabrice of the Filature Du Parc, we go to Pierre, who weaves our recycled wool yarn to make a soft and resistant fabric.
The fabrics A. Calvet, a family business
Pierre's father, from the small village of Senaux, was born in 1929. There was not enough work on the family farm, so he cycled to Castres to look for work.
Before setting up his own business, he worked as a weaver. Then, in January 1950, he created André Calvet fabrics and quickly became a victim of his success. He then had to look for donors, which he managed to find rather easily, to buy materials and increase his production capacity.
The success is fast, and for good reason! In Castres, the wives of the military are bored and ask for fabrics to sew. This is how Pierre's father founded his retail store.
This business that was going well also had its difficulties, Pierre remembers in particular the year 1974 marked by the oil crisis of the time and the tough competition from the Italians. It was also necessary to look for a new location, and it is in this one that Pierre welcomed us.
Pierre didn't really get the education he wanted: his goal was to go to Lyon to study at a training center. As his sisters were already studying, his family did not have enough money to send him to the Rhône. So he ended up in Toulouse, studying for a degree in economics and management. At the end of his studies, his father asked him what the URSSAF (a French administration) was. Pierre did not know how to answer and his father decided to take him under his wing.
Pierre thus learned the essentials to manage a business in family. At the same time, he started a weaving diploma at night school. He joined his father's company after his military service. Pierre naturally turned to weaving, he likes the diversity of colors, materials and the possibility to create, especially wool fabrics.
Today, Pierre manages the administrative side of the company, he organizes the work of his employees and the weaving. He also handles the purchase of yarns, the replenishment of the store and the relationship with his customers.
Challenges of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
For André, Pierre's father, the difficulty came from the Italian competition which proposed cheaper fabrics. He wanted to stop manufacturing fabrics, but his son was able to stand up to him and continue production.
With the competition and the delocalization in Asia which proposed much cheaper textiles, Pierre had to adapt his offer to the market by proposing combed wool of higher quality. He also had to find other markets than ready-to-wear, so he turned to furnishing fabrics, but working with this sector was not easy: constant negotiation of lower prices, production of many samples for too little volume ... Pierre stopped this path that was not profitable. Today, his main clients are in the sustainable fashion sector.
The future of his spinning mill does not seem very bright to him. The business is disappearing and Pierre doesn't know what the future holds. His goal is to stay in shape to run the business as long as possible. Despite this, the interdependence with other companies in the Tarn region is strong. The weaver needs the spinning mill, the finishers, the dyers.
However, Pierre has ideas to revalorize all this know-how: increase communication between the different manufacturers, create factory-schools to encourage young people to pursue the textile path, centralize the manufacturing steps. There are many points to improve to solidify what remains of the textile industry in the Tarn.
Pierre is the last weaver of the Tarn. In his 35-year career, he has not witnessed a single business creation, but many closures.
His secret: a retail store and a turn to furniture that allowed him to keep the company afloat. He also believes that you should never say no to a proposal, and that you should be able to adapt to the customer to open new markets.
Pierre has met the challenges of the textile decline in Tarn. His love of wool drives him to constantly innovate. The Calvet touch is a careful finishing of the fabric, an outstanding quality that can be found on our sneaker, our wool socks and our wool caps.