THE LAST OF THEIR KIND

Michael and Martina Pilger
Textilwerke Seidra in Draschitz

Michael Pilger manages Textilwerke Seidra together with his wife’s family. Here he uses methods and a kind of entrepreneurial thinking that have become rare.

He and his father in-law are the “figure heads“ of the company. Like in most producing companies, they first turn all areas upside down. Michael Pilger just shakes his head when it comes to the topic “maximisation”, for example. 
“We do the complete opposite. We deliberately reduce the speed of our machines and the output per hour. Because slower weaving produces much better quality“. Also, the machinery is quite something. Although much has been invested in modernisation in recent years, the high-quality linen is still produced by machines of the older generation. “They run quieter. Thus, they are gentler on the yarn and the fabric is much nicer“. Seidra is also a big exception in the industry when it comes to minimum amounts. Producing small amounts or short warps of only 50 metres – an amount where large-scale weaving plants would not even bother – are part of the daily business. Especially customers in the hospitality industry appreciate this. They prefer to get everything from individually designed table linen to upholstery fabric from one company. But the GOTS-certified enterprise (Global Organic Textile Standard) also supplies the Grüne Erde company and almost all renown producers of high-quality costumes with creative, ecological and unique fabrics.

The family-run business has managed one thing in particular: “We have found a niche in a niche market“, so Pilger. Meaning: The company, with around 40 employees, is one of the last in Europe that offers weaving and embroidery under one roof. It is one of Austria’s last linen and worsted yarn weaving mills, and insiders believe that Seidra is worldwide the last company that accommodates dobby and jacquard weaving as well as circular knitting at one single site. “When my wife and I started in the company, we knew that we could not and did not want to keep up with the volumes imported from low-wage countries without any environmental standards. And so, we went ahead and then the love for this work and tradition simply came along. Because what we do here is also a piece of European cultural property“, so Pilger. Seidra now exports worldwide. Around 70% of the customers are based outside Austria. The company site in the village of Draschitz, with it 200 inhabitants, in the Gailtal Valley is by no means a disadvantage. “Our employees are deeply rooted with the region and are loyal to the company. Everyone will be heard and everyone contributes here. After all, this is about creating something sustainable and to preserve it for the next generation.“

High-quality linen and worsted yarn is produced for customers like Grüne Erde and many others.