The Ruitertassen Legacy - Since 1925.
It all began in Belgium in 1925, during the Roaring Twenties just after the First World War. Jacob de Ruiter, A Dutchman, whose name means "The Cavalier" created his own business "Zadelfabriek Jac de Ruiter." As an artisan and bike enthusiast, he made saddles, bags, protective jackets, covers chains etc. The quality of his products was such that he quickly exported outside of Belgium even sending his bicycle saddles as far as India. In an extraordinary way, his business began to flourish during the time of the great economic crisis that hit the world in 1929. Through achieving this, Jacob developed a special art working with leather that would become his favourite material.
Jacob dedicated himself to his bike accessory business until the late 30's but could not restrain his desire to fully immerse himself in leather. He decided to design his first styles of handbags and in doing so pulled away gradually from the exclusive world of cycling. His eldest son was very interested in the world of bags and joined his father to support him on this new venture that took them through the Second World War. The choice of leather was then limited, rabbit skin being the specialty of the region at this time and it was with this leather that Jacob and his son worked.
After the very dark period of 1939-45, the De Ruiter family decided to strengthen its ties and his second son joined the venture. The family realized that fashion wasn't their niche and they decided to disengage to reflect on a more rational and functional line of bags. Jacob met a teacher friend who shared his sentiment towards the satchels of the period. The latter complaining about the fragility and lack of space proposed by the bags. He also pointed out to Jacob that it is a pity that all bags lose a lot of their shape under the weight of books. Jacob went to meet one of the best tanners in the world who happened to also be in Belgium. He was not alone. A certain Louis Vuitton did the same to provide the best leather that year. Jacob then crafted the first typical Ruitertassen satchel for that friend. A new breed of bag, the fruit of the combination of the leather tanner from Belgium and the craft genius of Jacob.
Until 1957, Jacob’s company was still going by its original name "Zadelfabriek Jac de Ruiter". With the new extraordinary line of satchels and bags, the family decided to opt for a more recognizable name. The business became "eReM" in 1957.
The company expanded its workshop in 1960 and decided to continue the venture against the current, which was usual for Jacob! While the sixties marked anti-conformity in fashion, the father and his children decided to further entrench tradition with an obsession for the sustainability of their bags. Not giving in to the lure of fashion and consumption, they cut the bags in a timeless look that lasts. This was an opportunity to change their name again. The same company which started in 1925 is now called RUITERTASSEN.
Ruitertassen welcomed the third son of the family. The 3 brothers more bonded together than ever, manage the master business founded by their father. The latter retired at the age of 76 years confidently leaving us his business. He has earned the reputation of a leather craftsman who invented outstanding new ways of working with leather. An innovation due to his passion for working with leather. His hard work has also given him the reputation of a successful businessman whose career is puzzling when you think about the hard times he lived through.
Ruitertassen produces bags for the army and the indestructible rustic style meets a craze that allows the company to export worldwide. Jacob’s art of manufacture and his choice of leather are no secret to the De Ruiter children who decide to follow in the footsteps of their father. They develop new collections in the Ruitertassen philosophical line.
Asian imports, the development of synthetic materials, offshoring to India ... not to mention the loss of their older brother. The two brothers decided to roll up their sleeves again. They partnered up with Frank Tegenbos son of a satchel manufacturer. An expert in his field who would manage production with an iron fist, advising the De Ruiter brothers not to swerve and instead to focus 100% on the quality and artistic heritage of Jacob. In moments of doubt, the 2 sons had only one question to ask: "What would dad do?".
Ruitertassen is now part of the history of Belgium and the latter has chosen to invest in the company to give it the means to renew its tools while maintaining quality standards. Ruitertassen develops sales online by creating a cohesive team of enthusiasts. Strategy is adopted to invest all the energy of the team in sacks and less in advertising, yet become the key driver of trade. So everything is internally managed: Websites, photos, blogs, customer service etc… We know that this is what Jacob would have wanted. A united family spirit around a typical project. Ruitertassen is the image of his leather bags. Cut to last. The legacy of Jacob will be respected at all times. His art transmitted to our today’s artisans. His philosophy and love of quality drives our decisions. Jacob was also a lively guy who was always approachable and did not like to take himself too seriously, leaving his art to testify for him and his true passion.
And to better discover his heritage, his design, his art and manufacture choices, browse the Ruitertassen collection dedicated to teachers. This is for a friend for whom he manufactured the first of these models. Thanks to Jacob and his son, each Ruitertassen bag has a story and a soul.