Estonia is a leading pillow and blanket producer in Europe
Estonia is the largest pillow and blanket producer in Europe in per capita terms, according to the Estonian Clothing and Textile Association.
The largest pillow and blanket maker is Wendre AS, with its main production facility in Pärnu. Employing 500 people, the factory in Pärnu concentrates on pillow and blanket production for Wendre, the arm of Sweden-based Trading House Scandinavia AB.
Wendre also has a factory with 200 employees in Vändra, where mattresses and foam products are made, plus factories in Poland and China. Wendre plans to close down the production in Poland and bring it over to Estonia, and is building new factories in Pärnu in the coming years. The future furniture factory in Pärnu will have 100 employees and the foam factory will have 200 employees.
Most of its production is exported. Wendre has been in long-term partnership with the world’s leading furniture seller Ikea and has also won some of the market in Great Britain, where it has managed to sign contracts with different supermarkets.
The owner of Wendre (as well as Trading House Scandinavia AB) is Swedish-Estonian Peter Hunt, who praises the Estonian entrepreneurship environment. He admits that one problematic thing about opening new factories is getting enough people to work there. To find new personnel, the company is providing full training to new employees, plus making the production more automated so that it would not need so many working hands. Hunt says that it would really help the industry if Estonian vocational school education would provide new specialists for the market.
Hunt has owned Wendre for 17 years and has finished each quarter with profit, including in the years of economic downturn. He says that the success of his company lies in risk-taking, as well as the effectiveness of modern machines. He also praises the company’s management, which is independently successful as the owner is away in Sweden most of the time.
Hunt is known as one of the best salary-payers in the textile industry. He regards caring about employees and establishing loyality as highly important.
In addition to Wendre, Haljala-based Baltic Fibres OÜ is producing blankets and pillows, specialising in microfibre duvets, pillows and also ball fibre pillows. The company’s owners are British and all of its production goes to the UK. The so-called Estonian pillow capital is Viljandi, where Toom Tekstiil AS, OÜ Delux and AS Mivar-Viva are located.
Source: (2013) Virkebau: Eesti on Euroopa suurim padja- ja tekitootja. Tööstusuudised, 19. märts.
Source: Niitra, S. (2013) Suurettevõtja 17 kasumlikku aastat Eestis. Postimees Online, 27. märts.