Rafél – this is the original writing – was the name of the mountain cowherd's hut that belonged to the grandfather of Raphael S.r.l. Founder, Pierluigi Fileppo.
Only 3 km from the headquarters in Via Noveis 19, in Pray, the hut is still there and its wooden hayloft rests on top of its stone-walled square base. The meaning of the word Rafél is, however unknown, and its origin is lost among the mountain paths and valleys. Pierluigi chose to keep the name Rafél for a very particular reason. When his grandfather died, his uncle continued the grazing activity in quite an unusual way. For a certain part of the year, in fact, he worked as a factory hand, but only until he had enough savings kept aside to buy a few cows to take to pasture up near the Rafél hut.
Times, though, were hard and Val Sessera has never lent itself much to the rearing of animals. So, once the cows had grown and been sold, Pierluigi's uncle used to return to factory work, but only to earn the money needed to buy more cows and thus return to the pastures.
If the woollen mill owes its name to that hut in the mountains it is because Pierluigi founded the company maintaining, deep inside, a certainty that he expresses in an amused tone still today : “I called it Raphael because, should the industry start to worsen, I'll do just as my uncle. I'll buy a few cows and I'll go back to living off that, at the Rafél hut”.
The history of our woollen mill started in 1972, in an industrial warehouse in Crevacuore, a small municipality in the Val Sessera Mountain Community, with just under two thousand inhabitants and over one thousand years of history behind it.
It was there that Pierluigi Fileppo, after gaining great experience as a fabric designer in other woollen mills in the area, decided to set up his own activity, driven by his desire to freely express his creativity.
During the following years, between 1975 and 1982, the establishment was joined by the founder's wife and brother, Wilma and Bruno, and his sister-in-law Cristina.
In 1990 the company moved to Via Noveis 19 in Pray, in the Province of Biella, where the headquarters are still found today. In a small municipality – situated in the North of Italy, in Piedmont, in Val Sessera, which is rich in a long and uninterrupted wool tradition.
Pierluigi's two sons – Franco and Gianluca – and his nieces – Claudia and Paola – have inherited and carry on the trade, respecting what is now an ancient family tradition.