Meet the makers
ROBERT MACDOUGALL - FOUNDER
Started the company in 1964
The idea for Le Tricoteur came to Robert on a trip to USA in 1963 where his hand-knitted guernsey was much admired by his American hosts. A year later he purchased a 40-year-old hand knitting machine. There was one employee and six hand knitters all working from home.
At the peak of production in the late 70's there were around 400 hand knitters and Le Tricoteur was producing over 100,000 garments a year. With the double impact of a global recession and the introduction of mass produced man-made fleece Robert sold the business in 1984.
36 years later and his second cousin (once removed) is the proud new owner.
RACHAEL LAINÉ - OWNER
Bought the company in February 2020
Rachael spent every summer cycling the lanes around St Saviours when staying with her grandparents for the holidays. Her Father is a keen sailor and he bought her her first Le Tricoteur guernsey aged 15.
33 years later and she is the very proud owner of a company that cares very much about keeping the tradition of hand knitting alive on the island. Rachael is a passionate supporter of heritage brands and believes in buying once and buying well.
She is looking forward to introducing the original guernsey from Guernsey to an appreciative wider International audience.
NEIL SEXTON - FACTORY MANAGER
48 years with Le Tricoteur (and all round guernsey specialist)
My name is Neil I am now in my 48th year with Le Tricoteur. I was born in The UK but my parents moved here when I was 2 and my Dad was appointed senior accountant at Guernsey Electricity. I grew up in St Peter Port but have lived in Torteval for the last 50 years.
There have been many changes with the business and the Island over the years. In the 70’s and 80’s the Island was a major tourist destination and the summer months were very busy but gradually people took their holidays further afield.
Most of our Guernsey’s are now exported rather than sold locally. As a team we are all very proud of what we make and will continue to make it in the most traditional way we can. It's important to us, and it's important for Guernsey.
IAN GLENDINNING - MASTER MACHINIST
40 years with Le Tricoteur
I started working for le tricoteur in 1980 as a store-man. About 3 years later I applied for a job as a knitting machine technician and I have been maintaining the machines ever since.
I enjoy my job because there are new problems which occur all the time and it makes it interesting. I like to work through the solution. It's very satisfying.
I am a local. I grew up in Torteval but now live in St. Peter Port.
HAZEL TOSTEVIN - LINKER
50 years with Le Tricoteur
My name is Hazel Tostevin, I am a local girl with 2 children and 3 grand-children. I live in the Castel by Vazon Bay.
I started working for Le Tricoteur in 1970. I was a Saturday Girl and we used to mend in the ends of the guernseys. I started full time in 1973 as a secretary in our first factory at Le Bouet. As we moved premises, I have moved with the business.
Le Tricoteur is a family. I have been proud to work for Le Tricoteur producing a very superior product. I have worked in all areas of production during my 50 years. Even as demand changed with the ebb and flow of fashion, we have always kept our standards up. The demand is now on the rise again as people want a garment that will last a lifetime. I am currently in the linking area doing Guernseys, V Neck Guernseys and Zip Jackets.
JAN ALLEN - LINKER & QUALITY CONTROL
40 years with Le Tricoteur
My name is Jan Allen. I started working for Le Tricoteur in January 1980 as a linker doing the evening shift. I went on to do daytime hours as a Quality Controller. Now many years down the line I do a bit of everything.
I grew up in the parish of St.Saviour until I got married and bought a house in St.Peter Port (secretly though West is still best!) I have two daughters Julie & Zoe who as school girls worked for Le Tricoteur. Julie still does part-time work for the company.
Le Tricoteur is a great company to work for and over the years I have worked with a fantastic group of co-workers. It is still a buzz seeing a garment
completed. Cones of yarn soon become superb hand finished Le Tricoteur guernseys .
KATHY SIMPSON - HAND KNITTER & LINKER
42 years with Le Tricoteur
My name is Kathy and I am one of the Hand Knitting Team. I started working for Le Tricoteur in the late 1970’s as a Quality Controller but over the years learnt all the other roles required in the making of a Le Tricoteur Guernsey. I have officially “retired” now but I am still happily filling in at the factory when staff members are on holiday or when we are very busy and I am needed.