In 1934, Augustinus (Guus) Vergnes opened a shop in Leeuwarden selling yarn and knitting wool. The range was gradually extended to include other needlecrafts, such as simple cross-stitch kits. Over the years, Guus managed to open numerous shops throughout the country under the name Naaldkunst (Needlecraft). As the offer in needlecraft kits was not very broad at that time, Guus felt the need to design his own needlecraft kits. And so he did.
This activity was given a definitive shape by the setting up of Lanarte, in the meanwhile grown into a family business. In 1973 a new business premises was built on the newly developed Schenkenschans industrial area in Leeuwarden.
Besides the collection and design of embroidery kits, yarns were imported and distributed, initially to their own Naaldkunst shops and later also to many independent Dutch retailers. The Lanarte needlecraft kits were so successful, first within and later also outside the Netherlands, that this product grew to become more and more the core business of Lanarte. And so Lanarte has been the absolute market leader in this sector for decades and Lanarte kits are highly valued all around the world. Long term relationships have been established with distributors in various countries, aided by the sales support that Lanarte offers them.
Due to the great success of the needlecraft kits and the decline in the market for knitting yarns, this subsidiary activity was halted in 1999, to allow total concentration on the core business; the manufacture and design of products for the creative consumer. Lanarte is now a specialist design and production business with distributors all over the world.
Many well known artists such as Willem Haenraets, Marjolein Bastin and Joadoor have made their work available to be converted into embroidery patterns. These very critical artists are, rightly, particularly demanding with regard to the conversion to cross-stitch.
The artist Joadoor:
"I find it important that the atmosphere doesn’t disappear from my paintings.
I am fascinated by warm colours; red, orange, yellow, gold. You will see them in many of my paintings. The light in Italy is one of my sources of inspiration. I used to live in Milan and in the evenings, the sun shone on the houses with a lovely yellow / orange light.
The houses are painted in pastel shades, a complete contrast with the grey, dull stone here in the city. I find it so clever that they have been able to reflect the facets of the light so well in the cross stitch design. I’m full of admiration, ‘Lanarte makes embroidery into art."
The collection of embroidery kits from Maria van Scharrenburg, a well known embroidery artist, was taken over by Lanarte in 2001, adding a complete collection to the range.
The paintings are converted into cross-stitch patterns using a software package developed in-house. Determining the colours and nuances remains a job for (specialist) people. The creative studio is continually busy looking for new ways. For example, a screen printed background gives an extra dimension to a piece of embroidery and different embroidery fabrics are used for the various designs.
Thanks to the special relationship between Lanarte and its customers, they have a good view of what consumers want. To gauge trends, extended training takes place in international exchanges. The knowledge of how to translate this into qualitatively outstanding products has made Lanarte into the market leader in cross-stitch kits.
That is how Lanarte has developed into a dynamic customer and consumer oriented company, continually on the hunt for new challenges.