The factory in Ulricehamn was always at our core. That’s where we grew up, where we have our roots, and where we were brought up with the ethos that hard work pays off, says sisters Annica and Marie Eklund the third generation of the family.
The man who lit the Bolon spark in 1949 was founder, Nils-Erik Eklund, who came up with the idea to produce rag rugs from textile waste. In 1967 the second-generation Monica and Lars Eklund took over the business and developed a new important product, awning mats for caravans. Since 2003 Annica and Marie have been the leading stars of the company, turning Bolon into a global design-led innovator and have put woven vinyl flooring on the design map.
– Even if we were a traditional floor company, we didn’t behave like one. Early on, we made two large investments: the first was to invest in the machinery in Ulricehamn, where we brought in most of the technological advancements needed to make our flooring almost entirely in-house with a better quality to suit the contract market. The second was to create marketing campaigns that would position us as a design brand, Annica and Marie continue.
In 2010 Bolon developed a plasticiser based entirely on renewable raw plant materials as the first flooring company in the world, and Botanic a collection based on this revolutionary step forward was born. The collection was presented with a visual campaign that was very daring as it didn’t show any flooring. Instead it illustrated the capabilities of the company’s raw plant material by making a series of flowers with the weave. The campaign had a huge impact on designers around the world and was also the starting point to some of Bolon’s creative collaborations with designers and brands such as Jean Nouvel, Cappellini, Missoni and the Campana Brothers.
– We are very proud to have everything under one roof in our home town Ulricehamn, it makes such a difference. We make our yarn ourselves, and we have an environmental station where we can cut and grind waste material to reuse in the flooring. If we see an opportunity or a trend, we never have to wait. We can act on it straight away and catch it before it’s gone, says Annica and Marie.
Standing still has never been an option at Bolon. What it is today will have evolved in 10 years’ time. Today, Bolon is focused on floors, but as we approach another generational shift, there may be many new product areas to evolve and explore. What’s certain to say is that Bolon will always be innovators at heart.