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Spa Business
2023 issue 4

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Leisure Management - Highest French distinction for RKF's CEO


Highest French distinction for RKF's CEO

After receiving the highest civilian award for services to the French nation, Riadh Bouaziz, CEO of RKF Luxury Linen, reflects on his company’s many achievements and considers what lies ahead

Bouaziz’s award is the highest honour for a French citizen photo: Matthieu Salvaing
RKF’s CEO, Riadh Bouaziz, receiving his ‘Knight of the National Order of Merit’ from Marie-Guite Dufay in northern France in October 2023 photo: RKF LUXURY LINEN
RKF fabrics include Dreamsoft and Timeless photo: GUERLAIN SPA:CLAIRE COCANO

In its 23 years of operation as a ‘Made in France’ innovator of luxury fabrics for wellness and hospitality, RKF Luxury Linen has been steadily adding to its collection of awards for fashion and innovation.

Prior to October 2023, the company was the proud recipient of 19 such industry awards, as well as being the holder of 15 patents and brands. But RKF’s landmark 20th award was received with an extra degree of gratitude, says the company’s pioneering CEO, Riadh Bouaziz.

At a formal gathering in north-east France with Marie-Guite Dufay, President of the Regional Council of Bourgogne-France Comte, Bouaziz was honoured with the title of ‘Knight of the National Order of Merit’, a prestigious service decoration given by the French President to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the country.

A great honour
“It was a great honour to receive such a decoration in recognition of RKF’s work and for my own contribution as CEO. I already had great respect for Mme Dufay as a very skilled business leader, so it was particularly special to have received the award from her,” he said.

“Beyond the red ribbon Order of Merit that is given to outstanding achievement in the military, the blue ribbon Order of Merit is the highest accolade that can be given to a civilian in France, so receiving it was a very special moment. I also believe it’s the first time someone from our industry has received it,” says Bouaziz.

Key members of RKF’s management team, a number of employees, friends and family were in attendance to witness the event. And it’s a testament to the strong relationships that Bouaziz has forged with clients and colleagues in the hospitality and wellness industries that many of them were there too.

“We had people fly in from all over the world – from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the US, Switzerland, the UK and Dubai and other countries. It was honestly very wonderful and touching to see them all there in support,” he said.

COVID contribution
While the award is a recognition of the work of RKF since its inception as a company in 2000, it also specifically acknowledges Bouaziz’s enormous contribution to supporting the French government taskforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bouaziz says: “As lockdown hit in France, within just two days we had assembled a new factory with full logistics, complete production line and 400 new workers who quickly swung into action, producing gowns and masks in huge numbers to protect our medical workers and citizens here in France. We were operating 24/7 for almost six months.”

Being RKF, these were no run-of-the-mill medical products of course. Bouaziz says: “They were high quality garments and not just for single use. They were fully recyclable and good for 50 washes, with a certification from the French government, as well as international certification.”

Post-pandemic, it’s now back to regular business for Bouaziz and his dedicated team – many of whom have been with the company for 10 to 15 years. Hard work, high standards and exceptional delivery of quality is something that’s firmly implanted in RKF Linen’s DNA.

To date, the company has worked on more than 45,000 global luxury hospitality and spa contracts. Its products include everything from bed, bath and fine dining linens, to high fashion spa robes in patented ecological fabrics (such as Dreamsoft and Timeless).

Pushing boundaries
Bouaziz says: “As a company we never stand still. We’re always innovating and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within our industry. As a leader, it’s my job to ask the challenging questions and to inspire others in the industry to do the same.

“Hospitality and spa and wellbeing still operate as two separate entities that come together under one roof, but we must work towards greater collaboration,” he says. “These two luxury experiences should be fully integrated, with no barriers.

“How will the industries achieve this? These are the big questions that we must be asking ourselves now,” he says.

Bouaziz has not shied away from big goals and big achievements during the past 23 years, and there are no signs of him slowing down. His plans for expansion continue, he says, “at an even more rapid pace”.

With so many new projects in the pipeline, the worlds of luxury hospitality and wellness can expect to see so much more innovation, transformation and future gazing from the ‘RKF universe’.

More: www.RKF.fr

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 4

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