Area studies. Eric Boël, an atypical boss against superprofits, globalization and marketing

His name is Eric Boel, 62 years old, and he is the president of Tissages de Charlieu, a textile company based in the Loire, with a turnover of 25 million euros in jacquard fabrics. A boss like no other who sees his company as a community, his employees as independent partners and globalization as heresy.

Eric Boel is a funny boss. Where normal business leaders like to talk about numbers, growth rates and millions of euros, they prefer letters, enthusiastically quote Victor Hugo and insist on the person. Example: when talking about his company Les Tissages de Charlieu (Loire), he says, “ of a society governed by great values: work, unity and talent “Not a business manager, he sees himself as a mediator who allows each employee to work independently in his workplace and organizes his work.” resonance“with each other.

This is the concept of ” exempted company“: ” We removed the cap that stifled every worker“, explains Eric Boël. Hierarchy in his company ” as straight as possible” and trusts its employees. Telecommuting has been around for years, especially for creative people. Even better, he developed an in-house system: employees could create their own brand within Tissages de Charlieu; they design the models and manage the entire production chain to marketing completely independently. A start-up spirit that boosts the company’s creativity and responsiveness.

Another character trait that stands out in the world of employers: Eric Boel hates globalization: ” The textile industry is an example of all the evils of this globalization: the Aral Sea dried up by cotton irrigation, the Uighur forced laborers in China, the beaches of Ghana and Benin invaded by our old clothes, Primark or Shane shirts. For 1€… How can we imagine that people can live with dignity from their work for this price?“, chokes Eric Boel, reminding that 96% of textile products purchased in France are imported.

He believes that it is possible to produce in France. After studying business and starting a career in the hotel industry in Paris, Eric Boel took over Les Tissages de Charlieu in 1997, which was in poor condition at the time. Twenty-six years later, he is the head of an SME that has doubled its workforce (90 employees) and built a new factory. For the first time in Europe, it can weave a more volatile recycled fiber”.
In the basement of the building, there are pipes equal to an Olympic swimming pool for the air treatment and humidification system. Next door, an entrepreneur has set up a high-tech workshop with robots that can pack bags. Because Les Tissages de Charlieu won a big market last year: the production of 20 million jacquard shopping bags for Auchan and Super U supermarkets. They will replace polypropylene checkout bags. This market should allow the creation of 90 additional jobs at Charlieu.

With this piece that will take the place of plastic, we will contribute to the reduction of several tons of CO2 emissions in our country. “, sustainable development pleases Eric Boël, one of the pillars of his industrial strategy.” Together with other business leaders, we have developed a permanent industrial concept. Modeled after permaculture, it’s a feel-good industry through and through. We can no longer have an economic system based on marketing, whose only job is to sell products to more and more people, even if it hurts them, pollutes them, even if it’s produced in terrible conditions.”.

In short, for Eric Boel, work matches heart.

“The only goal is man!”

Eric Boel, President of Tissages de Charlieu

“Regional inquiries: how are our territories marketed internationally?”, presented by Julien Le Coq. To see this article live this Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 11:00 p.m. and in France 3 Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

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