Guillaume Janssen at the R+T 2024

After an absence of 6 years since the last edition of the R+T in Stuttgart, the 2024 edition provided us a fantastic opportunity to present our new corporate identity. With a completely redesigned booth in our new corporate style, we traveled to Stuttgart.

At our booth, products from our range of special sun protection systems were on display, including screens from our GJ - SZ Curved and GJ - MW Angular series. In addition to our own screens, we had another eye-catcher, a retractable arm awning. This was a collaboration between Soons Zonwering and Guillaume Janssen. The retractable arm awning was manufactured by Soons Zonwering and we produced a tailored fabric from our own GJ - Solar Pro Collection, resulting in a stunning outcome.

At the fair, we introduced our new GJ - Solar Screen Collection, a new collection consisting of Sergé screen fabrics and Soltis Veozip fabrics, which was warmly received by our visitors. We also distributed beautiful bags to visitors of our booth as a token of appreciation. These bags were made and designed by our own production department and produced using leftover materials.

We look back with pride on a very successful and fruitful week, and we are already looking forward to the next edition of the R+T!

"Famous at R+T for the exceptional sunshades"

"After 6 years of absence, the R+T in Stuttgart is back! The Zwolle-based company Guillaume Janssen, manufacturer of exceptional fabric screens and fabric canopies, has been exhibiting at the world's largest trade fair for shutters, doors, and sun protection for 30 years. Jos Stoit, the company's director and owner, is looking forward to being back. "We are very excited to meet again, also on an international level!"

"The R+T 2024 is the largest international sun protection trade fair, where all major companies worldwide, but especially from Western Europe, exhibit," explains Stoit. "It is a place to meet new manufacturers and customers and learn about the latest developments. But for me, the R+T 2024 is more than just an opportunity to present our products to a large audience. It is above all a perfect opportunity to meet customers, forge new relationships, and present a renewed vision. In that sense, it is the most important marketing activity for us as a company." 

"The expectations for the fair are high, with the hope of many visitors and potential customers interested in our innovative offerings. But besides being a place to meet potential customers, the fair is also a step towards a future where sun protection plays an increasingly important role. Due to global warming, our contribution as producers of passive cooling may become crucial!" 

In a new guise

"Guillaume Janssen recently underwent a rejuvenation, as Stoit explains. "We're eager to showcase this at the fair. We want to demonstrate who we are: renewed branding, refreshed appearance, and renewed confidence!" 

"Just like in previous years, Guillaume Janssen will exhibit innovations at the Stuttgart fair. To be precise, three unique products. Additionally, we will launch our new inspiration book and our new GJ Solar Screen Collection. In our new inspiration book, we showcase the possibilities in exceptional sunshades and in the confection of sunshade fabrics to our customers. We aim to inspire them! At the fair, all interested parties can browse through and take the book with them."

Renovated Booth

"This year, Guillaume Janssen is located in a different spot than in previous editions of the R+T, and with a renovated booth," says Stoit. "We're situated in hall 9, booth number 9A42. It's a new location with a redesigned booth that beautifully showcases our products. This setup allows them to shine even brighter than before. With our unique products and renewed vision, Guillaume Janssen is fully prepared to make a lasting impression at the R+T in Stuttgart. We're ready for the upcoming years in the world of sunshades!" 

Published in Z&R February 2024 ©Z&R

A wide variety of 72 colors and designs

For years, Guillaume Janssen has been known as a producer of exceptional sun shading systems. With the introduction of the entirely unique acrylic fabric collection GJ - Solar Pro fabric collection, the second pillar of the company, the independent confection workshop, is now being emphasized more prominently. 

"The GJ - Solar Pro fabric collection has emerged from a collaboration between fabric producer Sauleda and Guillaume Janssen," says director Jos Stoit, who has been at the helm of Guillaume Janssen since 2021. "As one of the last independent fabric confectioners in the Benelux, our customers expect a complete range of all existing fabric collections from us. Naturally, we provide those as well. Additionally, we are now responding to the increasing demand from our customers to offer them a suitable alternative to other fabric suppliers. 

Profiling our confection department

Guillaume Janssen was founded in 1967 and began as a trading company in components for sun shading. 'In the mid-2000s, we started specializing in the production of unique sun shading systems, which further expanded the company's presence in the European and international markets,' says Stoit. 'In addition to the production of unique sun shading systems, Guillaume Janssen also has a completely independent confection workshop. With this pillar, we aim to profile ourselves more prominently in the coming years. That's why we are now launching the GJ - Solar Pro collection, a completely proprietary acrylic collection, to respond to market demand. 

Balanced collection

"The GJ - Solar Pro Fabric Collection offers a wide variety of no less than 72 colors, of which 24 are available in larger roll widths. Twenty of the designs are available in the Solrain version with an extra high water column. Twenty fabrics from this collection are available in a special air-filtering version. 'We are bringing this unique fabric to the market under the name SAULEDA GREEN by Guillaume Jansen,' explains Stoit. 'It is the first sun shading fabric that purifies the air through photocatalysis!'" 

With this balanced collection, Guillaume Janssen is able to provide the entire sun shading industry with the right type of fabric," says Stoit. "Just think about it: modern colors for the assemblers of awnings and terrace screens, project colors in large roll widths for the replacement market, waterproof fabrics for hospitality awnings, and more traditional colors for awnings and canopies. That's why we invite everyone to come and view the collection at our showroom, but we're also happy to visit customers with our new collection book of our GJ - Solar Pro Fabric Collection!  

Published in Z&R September 2023 ©Z&R

New Logo Guillaume Janssen

With pride, Guillaume Janssen presents the new company logo: 'We have given the logo a modern twist by combining the two letters G and J into one sleek entity. The 'G' of Guillaume represents special unique solutions. The 'J' of Janssen stands for Dutch pragmatism that fits our company and culture. Additionally, we have a new payoff 'Guillaume Janssen, visionary blinds & fabrics.' These are our two main product groups. The 'GJ' can also be found in the names of our various products." In the coming months, the company will also launch a new website in line with this new corporate identity. Guillaume Janssen also has a new sales team available this year for all inquiries regarding special sun protection and fabric confection.

Published in Zonvak Magazine June 2022 ©Zonvak Magazine

"Special projects, but also just a good canvas."

Every day, an hour and fifteen minutes back and forth from Zaltbommel to Zwolle. Since July 2nd, that's been Jos Stoit's daily reality as the new owner of Guillaume Janssen. 'I step into the car every day with a big smile. I feel right at home here and I'm very happy that I made this move.'

We're talking to Stoit, who, retroactively from January 1st of this year, has been the owner of the Zwolle canvas manufacturing company, as he reflects on the first few months in his new role. 'A very fine production company, a great name, wonderful people. That's something I can work with,' describes Stoit the feeling he's had since day one at Guillaume Janssen. Several years ago, after a career at companies like Hunter Douglas and Schellekens project sunshades, he decided he preferred to be his own boss. Owning a company in the horticulture sector didn't provide the satisfaction he had hoped for, and even the venture into Wonnink Sunshades, with the intention of taking over the company eventually, didn't bring the expected fulfillment. 'I was disappointed it didn't work out, and then I took some time to reflect on what I wanted to do. One thing was clear to me: sunshades are my profession, I find this industry fascinating, so I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to do something for myself in this field.

He had previously discussed a possible takeover with Guillaume's owner, André Janssen, but back then, in 2015, they couldn't come to an agreement. Why did it work six years later? Stoit believes it's a combination of factors. "Five years ago, André might not have been mentally ready to sell his company. Now it was different. Age, no succession plan, health becoming a factor. Additionally, for someone not from this industry, it might be difficult to understand the potential of this business and its people. On paper, it's not immediately apparent. That's where knowing the market, like I do, helps. André and I didn't need much explanation on that front. We quickly had a good conversation about the market.

Taking the initiative and having a cup of coffee at André's home led to positive results this time. Officially since January 1st, 2021, Jos Stoit has been the owner of Guillaume Janssen in Zwolle, with André bidding farewell this summer. With Stoit's arrival, there will certainly be some changes. The first noticeable thing is the tagline on his business card. Guillaume Janssen, Visionary Fabrics & Blinds. "We are one of the last independent canvas manufacturing companies. André always focused a lot on the large systems, which we naturally also produce, but an equally beautiful part of the company is our canvas manufacturing. The emphasis has long been on the special blinds, not on the fabrics. There needs to be more balance in that. That's why I changed our tagline. It used to say 'since 1967' under the name, but that's gone. It's not so much about how long Guillaume Janssen has been around; it's mainly about the future.

Balance
Stoit wants to emphasize what Guillaume Janssen does: "We offer a solution where others with standard systems have no solution, and besides, we are a very good canvas manufacturer who gladly supplies all new and replacement canvases to anyone producing sunshades." His arrival also brings about internal changes. "The focus here has long been on the idea: as long as the customer is satisfied. I want to move more towards: if employees are satisfied, customers will naturally be satisfied. That also requires a different image. For example, the building is a bit dated, that needs to change. People should be proud to work here. I want to work on the complete branding of Guillaume Janssen."

For those who think Stoit suddenly wants to change everything: that is certainly not the case. "I think the name is great. Guillaume sounds international, Janssen is truly Dutch. A beautiful combination of what we stand for. It's a wonderful, small production company, with a nice customer base and beautiful products. I want to further expand that. For example, I see a big market in replacements, that's something we're going to focus more on. The most important thing is that there's more balance. We excel in both: you should come here for the special projects, but also for 'just a good canvas'."

Geographical Spread
He certainly has ambitions. "In fifty years, we'll have the 'royal' designation. The intention is to build the business for the long term. I want to do that in line with what we're already doing. Niche players like us definitely have a place, and I believe we always will. But it's important to determine exactly where our market lies. In Asia or America, in Africa, or mainly in Europe? I want to carefully consider geographical spread. Will we derive our returns from Tokyo or from Berlin? Personally, I believe more in the latter: closer to home, a culture we understand better. Guillaume Janssen may have sometimes focused too much on bigger is better in the past, projects had to be especially remarkable. Sometimes projects can be a bit smaller, more fitting to the scale of our company. We are already remarkable because of our unique products.

For now, Stoit's focus is not so much on large international projects, but more local ones. Such as the professionalization of the internal company. "I'm a different person from André, but where we're absolutely the same: we both have a big heart for sunshades. I'm very grateful that he allowed me to continue here.

Before the acquisition was finalized, someone once told him: you shouldn't buy the company because Guillaume Janssen is André Janssen, without him, it's nothing. "Fortunately, that's certainly not the case. Of course, he was important, but the knowledge resides with the people in this company. However, a lot of knowledge exists in the minds of the craftsmen here. It needs to be documented so that the knowledge can be transferred to future generations. So, documentation is key. The organization's learning ability needs to improve.

Professionalization
The first investments in the canvas department have been made. There are now two new cutting tables, and once the expansion is completed, the sewing department will be three times larger than it is now. "Acrylic canvases and screens are currently divided over two floors, but soon we'll bring everything together to improve efficiency in machine and human utilization. Throughout my career, I've had the opportunity to peek into the kitchens of many different companies. This brings a different set of experiences than if you only know your own shop. Guillaume Janssen was a company that always said yes. I don't believe in that. I've learned that it's important to sometimes say no. I believe that this company can still experience significant growth, particularly in terms of professionalization, communication, and work structure. While some changes may take some getting used to for the 24 employees at Guillaume Janssen, they are mainly pleased that the takeover has been completed after a period of uncertainty and that there is new future perspective." Stoit concludes: "I'm very happy to call myself the owner of Guillaume Janssen. The fact that it's a production company where our knowledge adds value to the products is fantastic. If it had been possible, I would have liked to have done this takeover earlier, then I would have been further along in building, but I'm incredibly happy and grateful that I now have the opportunity and am very excited to continue here.

Published in Zonvak Magazine October 2021 ©Zonvak Magazine