Every great story has a beginning. Ours started in 1928 with 2 brothers-in-law: Valler Snauwaert and Eugeen Depla, who were working in the bodywork department of a car garage in Beveren. At the time a lot of cars were still being constructed out of wood, so they decided to use their experience to start making their own wooden hockey sticks, sledges, canoes and tennis rackets.
Valler and Eugeen used ash wood imported from Northern France and exported their products to England, Germany, the Balkans and even South-Africa. Thanks to their undimmed passion and the economic growth of the leisure industry during the interbellum, their company soon became a success. By 1940, they employed 35 people.
During World War II business tailed off and production was limited to sledges. After the liberation they wanted to restart their business, but then Valler suddenly passed away in 1945.
A new generation
Eugeen Depla continued to run the company in the same spirit, offering excellent quality for a reasonable price. This made it possible to become a player on the international market. In the 1950s Depla was joined by his son André and his nephew Karel Snauwaert, who would later lead the company to further success. More and more, production was focused on tennis rackets.
Rise and fall
By the 1960s tennis had become very popular in the US and the company had to adapt quickly to mass production. A second factory opened in Diksmuide and production peaked at 3 million rackets per year.
A decade later the US market was flooded with cheap rackets imported from Taiwan, so Europe was now the main focus. The high-end ‘Snauwaert’ racket was launched and became quite popular among professional players, such as Mikael Pernfors, Vital Gerulaitis, Brian Gottfried and Miloslav Mečíř. Snauwaert even partnered up with the ATP.
In the mid-1980s the company decided to close the factories in Belgium and moved to Porto. However, the factory in Porto was never a success and the first part of our story ended in 1991.
Today we are bringing the legendary Snauwaert brand back to Belgium. No wooden rackets this time, but high quality carbon frames with the newest technologies. After 3 years of experimenting, developing and testing, Snauwaert can present 4 unique tennis frames with 2 different weights to conquer the world once again. In combination with ITF approved premium balls and 3 strings that cover every tennis player profile, Snauwaert brings a whole new product line.
Nowadays, a limited number of brands dominate the tennis market with the majority of sales covered by traditional sport equipment stores. Because of the shift to internet sales, Snauwaert enters the market as an innovative e-commerce company. At Snauwaert we think we should focus on players and their clubs. That’s why we created a hybrid business to consumer model by passing the retail through dedicated e-stores and club touch points. This way we turn products into services by creating a sharing community through a unique loyalty program to become the biggest tennis club in the world without owning a field.
With a young dynamic team reinforced by our brand ambassador Xavier Malisse and our communication manager Dominique Monami we think we have what it takes to make Snauwaert great once again.