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Aranda Textiles

The fashion name in blankets

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The fashion name in blankets

Editorial: Lauren Grey Production: Chris Bolderstone

After emigrating from Italy during the Second World War following a devastating loss to the family business, the Magni family immersed themselves in South African culture and re-built their business manufacturing quality blankets and throws. IndustrySA speaks to Managing Director, Nicola Magni, to learn more about the company’s success and the imminent challenges facing the textile industry. Aranda Textile Mill was established in 1951 after Managing Director, Nicola Magni’s Father emigrated into South Africa following the effects of the Second World War, “We had factories in Florence, Italy, but they were unfortunately destroyed by the Germans in the War,” explains Magni, “and after the War, because of the instability in Italy, my father and his brothers decided to emigrate. “My father came to the country in 1950, he chose a 17 acre site in Randfontein, where the factory still operates today, and in 1951 he emigrated with his family and was joined a couple of years later by his two brothers.” Magni explains that, was it not for the support and encouragement of a local South African Colonel, the family may not have emigrated into the country, “We are very grateful to a gentleman by the name of Arthur


Aiken, who was a Colonel in the South African army during the Second World War” he explains. “Arthur was stationed on one side of the river Arno in Florence with the South African troops and my family was on the other with the retreating Germans. He later became Chairman of Barclays bank and Senior Partner at Aiken and Carter, a successful Auditing firm; he gave us a substantial overdraft facility and encouraged us to come to South Africa. We brought our machinery and expertise, and it has been a wonderful relationship ever since.” With encouragement from Colonel Aiken and the technical know-how of its founding fathers, Aranda Textiles quickly established itself as one of South Africa’s leading textile manufacturers’. The company now has two modernized factories utilizing state-of-the-art

Aranda Textiles

technology which is run in a vertical operation, consisting of fibre dyeing, spinning, jacquard and dobby weaving, finishing, make-up and warehousing.

QUALITY PRODUCTS Aranda’s main focus is its high quality blankets and throws which are designed in both classical and contemporary styles, but Magni says that to be successful in the textile industry, you need to keep on top of trends and be ‘forward-thinking’. “Blankets, rugs and throws have always been the backbone of our production, although we also used to produce woollen fabrics such as tweed overcoats, but those items went out of fashion so we dropped that line. Instead, we expanded on the actual range of blankets; everything from fashion and institutional to tribal.” “What we really have to do to be successful” explains Magni, “is read the crystal ball and think way ahead of time to predict what is going to be popular and what is going to sell.” Keeping on top of trends and consumer patterns has allowed the company to explore new product ranges such as microfiber throws which have a superior soft finish, but an old time favourite is Top

Suede which continues to take the market by storm due to its light-weight, luxurious soft suede finish which is available in co-ordinated fashion ranges. Aranda’s product ranges can be found in many of the country’s leading retailers, “we mainly work with chains who appreciate quality,” explains Magni, “for example Mr Price and Woolworths … after all, Aranda is quality driven.”

“Imports from the Far East, particularly China have resulted in a far tougher industry, mainly because their costs of production are so low…” THE PRICE IS RIGHT However, being successful in the textile industry isn’t all about fashion trends and consumer buying patterns; pricing is also a very important factor if you want to keep on top of the competition, Magni explains, “Aranda is quality driven to the best of its ability, however we have to be realistic about the fact that we are trading in a viciously competitive industry. “Imports from the Far East, particularly China have resulted in a far tougher industry, mainly because their


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costs of production are kept artificially low and their

“It’s the difference between a Tata and a Mercedes; if a

government is so bent on creating employment at

customer wants a quality product they buy product B, but

whatever costs.

if they want something cheaper, they buy product A.”

“I hate to say this,” regrets Magni, “but the price in

Magni explains that whilst sourcing quality raw

many instances is more important than the product itself,

materials for a fair price is essential , the company is still

whether or not we like it, it’s a fact, and I don’t think

very focussed on putting money back in to the South

it’s a surprise that the Western world is in the state that

African economy, “when it comes to wool we buy South

it is, also because we have simply exported all of our

African Marino Wool, of which we purchase fairly sizeable

jobs to countries that have flown in the face of all the


achievements that we as a Western culture have fought for for two hundred years; union rights and industry representation etc.” However, rather than succumb to the imminent threat of cheap labour and production costs, Aranda have developed a range of products for those on a budget to rival its competition. “Although the majority of our raw materials are high quality products such as wool, acrylic, polyester and cotton, we also produce products that are made from recycled raw materials which we buy at a cheaper price” explains Magni.


NEW EQUIPMENT In torder to keep producing quality products year on year, it is essential for textile manufacturers to replace certain parts of its production capacity, such as machines. This can however, be extremely capital intensive. Aranda has always re-invested each year a portion of

“Although the majority of our raw materials are high quality products such as wool, acrylic, polyester and cotton, we also produce products that are made from recycled raw materials which we buy at a cheaper price”

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its plant, and recently have utilized the help awarded by government schemes to keep its production lines efficient and modern. “Through government’s low-interest schemes, and also the productivity schemes we have bought new plant in the past couple of years and we will carry on utilizing the help as long as the scheme lasts. It is certainly something that is of great assistance and maybe should have been introduced a while ago, but better late than never!” says Magni. “We all criticise government, and I think rightly so at times, but in this specific instance I think it has been tremendously positive, and we are starting to see some benefits from this.” Magni concluded by praising the hard work of his colleagues, staff and those involved in the Aranda Learnership College which was established over two PAGE 6 JUL 13

years ago to help disadvantaged individuals further their training in specific areas. “We train all sorts of people, some from the streets, to further their training in all sorts of applications and industries, and we are happy to report that under trying circumstances we are holding our own; we have good people and we are hopeful that the negative consequences of rapid globalization and the realization of the chaos that is has caused, maybe starting to change.”


“…we are happy to report that it is going very well; we have good people and we foresee a very bright future.”

Wool suppliers since 1863

+27 41 3974700 | |

+27 11 693 3721

(0)1603 618 000 East Coast Promotions Ltd, Ferndale Business Centre, 1 Exeter Street. Norwich, Norfolk NR2 4QB

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