Hugo was born in 1954 and is the middle child between two older sisters and two younger brothers. The first time Hugo came into contact with gloves was at the age of ten, via a summer job at his father’s glove factory, opening cuffs on leather palm gloves. After high school, he worked for a few years in accounting department while getting his accounting degree at an evening school. After two years of that he went into sales, borrowing some nice pants from his dad for his first sales call.
In 1975, it was time for mandatory service in the armed forces and Hugo joined the Dutch Marines for 18 months. At this time, due to the socialist regime in the mid-1970s in the Netherlands, Hugo Kruiniger Sr. had the wish to move the whole family to the United States, then seen as the last capitalistic bastion in the world. However, at that time the matriarch of the Kruiniger family became ill and so these plans were put on hold.
In 1982, Hugo, the eldest son of the Kruiniger glove and shoe-making family, went ahead and immigrated to the United States with a dream to manufacture and sell work gloves into the U.S. Market.
Armed with boundless energy and very little money, but a strong family heritage of leather craftsmanship, Hugo started Majestic USA in a small warehouse/office building in Bellevue, Washington.
Today the shoes are gone but two Majestic companies—one in Spijkenisse, Netherlands, and the other in Everett, Washington, USA—are selling a variety of personal protective equipment, but still mainly gloves.
Under the regime of Hugo, Majestic in the USA has grown to over 12,000 product SKUs, including boots, rainwear, the propriety M-SAFE clothing line, and BlazeTEX, an FR clothing line. The sister company, which is in the hands of Hugo’s two younger brothers, is the largest full line safety wholesaler in the Netherlands.
Majestic sells through distribution with safety, industrial and retail customers in all fifty states, Canada, and many Central and South American countries. Such a diverse customer base often brings unique requirements, thus innovation and flexibility are keywords at Majestic. The production department alone is equipped to tag over one million pairs of gloves a year and individually brand or stamp thousands of dozens a month to meet customer special requests.
In August of 2003 Majestic earned ISO 9001:2000 certification for successfully implementing and maintaining a quality management system that meets current ISO standards. Everyone at Majestic is very proud of the accomplishment and works hard to meet the primary ISO and Majestic goals of continual improvement and improved customer satisfaction.
In 2006, Majestic implemented an SAP ERP system, which further helped growth.
In 2011, Majestic was sold to BUNZL, an English multi-billion dollar company listed on the English exchange and today is one of the biggest safety companies in the world.
Majestic is also proud to be an IGA member. We look forward every year to the annual conference, meeting our peers, and the opportunity to learn more about our industry.
Hugo, as a second generation glove guy, often admits to customers that he dreams about gloves, they typically chuckle or tell him he has problems.
What he likes best is tinkering with new technologies and materials, which results in designs for new gloves. He has even built an on-site laboratory where he can test and measure such things as slip resistance, cut resistance, wear resistance, tear and puncture resistance, and flame resistance on gloves. He just loves this.
His current 44-year tenure in the glove business will come to an end eventually. However, there are two third-generation Kruinigers presently working at Majestic Glove and his hope is that they will find the same love and satisfaction for this profession.
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