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Monday, July 02, 2007

Textile, fabric and (independent) retail

I add the necessary qualifier of "independent" with retail so as to distinguish it from the mega corporation chainstores.
Over the past ten to fifteen years these three, but textile and fabric in particular, have seen huge, in some cases, catastrophic economic forces weigh into them. The result, even if we do not understand them, have been textile mills closing down, fabric stores unable to move domestic fabrics against foreign-made fabric.
All this has happened with little or no support from Washington despite high level, well organized efforts by these industries. Go to the link below for an example of this high level, urgent pleas from the US textile industry.
http://www.ncto.org/newsroom/sectoralletter.pdf and

http://www.ustr.gov/assets/Trade_Agreements/Bilateral/Republic_of_Korea_FTA/Reports/asset_upload_file656_12766.pdf
Read with special attention the paragraphs at the bottom of pages 3 and 4:


"Others produce almost entirely in the United States. . ." pg 3

"The textile and apparel industry has gone through very difficult changes. . ." pg 4

All this begs the question: What is the independent retailer doing in the apparel sector? I quizzed a retailer, after doing my research, about the existence of an independent apparel retailers' organization or association. She replied, no, but she said, it sounds like a great idea.

Any such organization among independent apparel retailers would come as a by-product of apparel networks. The fact is that along the way to these retailers restructuring their supply and procurement ways textile and fabric stand to be among the beneficiares.

So, what prevents this from happening? I could be wrong, but my guess is these retailers have never figured prominently with textile or fabric producers and wholesalers. Yet, retailers continue to conduct business as usual. I do not wish to suggest they cease to do business, but I would urge retailers explore other options:

Networking with independent contractors as their local supplier for all their apparel needs.

One would be hardpressed to name a business idea that did not receive more than a few turned up noses, but think of those individuals as latecomers. While you get underway turning around your business they will come around, too.

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