Patio & Hearth Products Report September/October 2020

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my turn

Tailored Textiles Twitchell stays adaptable to meet customers’ fabric needs.

Sunsure outdoor fabrics come in a variety of options

Unique and innovative fabrics from Twitchell Corporation (Dothan, Alabama) can be seen on products throughout the North American casual industry. Twitchell partners with an array of noted highend outdoor furniture manufacturers, from Tropitone and Telescope Casual to Windward and Homecrest, enabling them to create signature patterns and designs. “From my perspective, a primary focu s has always been on design and flexibility with customers,” says Paul Cleary, who joined Twitchell in January as the company’s CEO. Indeed, Cleary brings a wealth of knowledge in design strategy, product development, and manufacturing operations with senior roles for major companies in the residential and hospitality flooring industry, including Tarkett, Lexmark, and Mohawk Industries. Over the next 12 mon ths, Cleary’s focus will be on the patio furniture market, for both residential and hospitality, specifically promoting Twitchell’s inherent adaptability to meet customers’ needs. He explains that as the high-end casual furniture segment has grown over the last several years, consumers are increasingly centering on style to distinguish their outdoor spaces. “People are spending


Jacquard Textilene in Amari

more money in the category and wanting their own individual style as a differentiator.” He adds that this can be attributed, in part, to the growing influence and popularity of design shows on television. Because Twitchell develops and manufactures all its yarns and fabrics in the U.S., Cleary says, “We have tremendous flexibility in what we are able to offer to our customers.” In fact, Twitchell’s fully vertically integrated manufa cturing plant ensures the company is able to meet the individual design needs of its customers. “Since we have complete control over all of our raw materials, we do not depend on other chemical companies to formulate our products,” says Gena Webb, vice president of R&D. “We own the technology and the expertise.” This ownership in the manufacturing process ensures that customers not only receive top-quality products, but it also allows the flexibility necessary to cater to specific needs. “Not everyone wants the same look and feel. We provide custom formulations and colors based on each of our customer’s individual specifications,” she adds. Customers often tell Cleary they find real value in working with a fully integrated domestic supplier like Twitchell. It’s become more important to furniture manufacturers that


the company’s design, development, and production teams are all located at the plant in Alabama, he explains. “There is some uncertainty in the supply chain coming from Asia, and China specifically during this time. I believe more companies are going to look for opportunities to work with a domestic manufacturer like us.” AMAZING TEXTILENE Twitchell’s highly popular and worldrenowned Textilene fabr ic, woven from polyvinyl chloride-coated polyester core yarns, is used throughout the outdoor casual industry. The versatility of Textilene allows unique and diverse patterns and product features on both dobby and jacquard looms for applications on all types of patio furniture, umbrellas, and shading. For example, flame retardant, softening agents, and UV enhancers can easily be added to any Textilene fa bric. “This flexibility gives us a way to deliver unique assets for each customer,” says Nancy Egge, designer. The benefits of these textiles are numerous. Made for continuous use, products do not need to be covered or stored—a key advantage for the patio furniture consumer. “Our products are geared to stay outdoors 24/7,” Webb says. “A quick rinse and air dry will take care of most typical issues.”

For a m ore thorough cleaning, fabrics can be easily sanitized using household cleaners such as diluted bleach or disinfectant wipes. Textilene fabrics are also extruded with antimicrobial agents (which will not wipe or wear off) making them mildew and bacteria resistant—especially important in today’s coronavirus environment. In addition, minimizing exposure to environmental toxins in products is becoming incre asingly important to today’s consumer. Textilene is composed of a specialized plasticizer—a softening agent for PVC—which is very slow to exude. It is also a nonphthalate-based plasticizer, making it safe for children. Textilene is GREENGUARD Certified, which means the product has been tested and scientifically proven to have low chemical emissions. In addition, the fabric is lead free and printable. Pigm ents in all of Twitchell’s products remain incredibly stable against harmful UV exposure. In laboratory tests, using light exposure similar to the sun, pigments lasted more than 1,200 hours without degrading. Above all, Textilene provides the utmost in comfort. In the casual furniture segment, Twitchell is well known for its ergonomically designed sling applications, allowing the chair to feel very good and relaxing to the