Global Home & Contract Sourcing News
Volume 33, Number 2 • Spring 2022
Pandemic Drives Global Fabric Business Romo Group Passes 100 million Pound Mark, Mould Family Fifth Generation Takes Reins F&FI News Network
OTTINGHAM, UK — Towards the end of 2021, ROMO Group says it reached a long-time annual sales goal of 100 million pounds, says Emily Mould, a company director and design director.
This includes Romo USA operations in Chagrin Falls, OH. “Our US market continues to see extraordinary growth, which we hope will continue during 2022,” she says. “This achievement is a true testament to our continued success and is (continued on Page 23)
Silvera Prospers with Double Digit Growth Italian Lines Tapped for Silvera Made Books F&FI News Network
Meta and Dennis Silbernberg
MSTERDAM, NL—Silvera NL, a wholesaler which traces its roots to 1688 is prospering with double digit sales growth despite the Pandemic according to its owner, Dennis Silbernberg. (F&FI interviewed Silbernberg during another lockdown in Holland and he said people are going over the border to Germany and Belgium which (continued on Page 22)
Emmanuel Lelievre Forges Ahead • P24
Regal Masters China’s Longer Lead-Times, Builds Warehouse, Digital Prints, New Brand ‘Kindred’ • P20 Steve Kahan
DiNole Continues Editor Focus, Applauds Flexibility, Employees • P12 Luca Ferrari
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Sonnenberg Family, 3G Capital Ink Ownership Deal for Hunter Douglas
Global Home & Contract Sourcing News
F&FI News Network
Completion of the transaction OTTERDAM, Netherlands is subject to limited closing conand NEW YORK— Ralph ditions, including approval by Sonnenberg, the controlling share- the general meeting of Hunter holder of Hunter Douglas Group, Douglas. has entered into a definitive agreeThe transaction values the ordiment to transfer a controlling inter- nary shares of Hunter Douglas est in the company to 3G Capital (“Ordinary Shares”) at €175 per based on a value of €175 per ordi- Ordinary Share (the “Ordinary nary share. Share Price”), implying an enterHunter Douglas (AEX: HDG) prise value of approximately $7.1 is considered the global market billion1. The Ordinary Share Price leader in window coverings and a represents a 73% premium to major manufacturer of architectur- Hunter Douglas’ closing ordinary al products while 3G Capital is a share price on December 30, 2021, global investment firm and private of €101.40 and a 64% premium to partnership. Hunter Douglas’ all-time high closHunter Douglas has its ing ordinary share price of €106.40. head office in Rotterdam, the “3G Capital has deep respect Netherlands, and a management for Hunter Douglas, its diverse office in Lucerne, Switzerland. The portfolio of brands and the steadGroup is comprised of 136 compa- fast leadership of the Sonnenberg nies with 47 manufacturing and 89 family over three generations. We assembly operations in more than are honored to be partnering with 100 countries. Hunter Douglas says the Sonnenberg family and to work it employs about 23,000 people and with Hunter Douglas’ management had sales in the first nine months of team on the company’s next phase 2021 of USD 3.4 billion. of global expansion,” said Daniel The common shares of Hunter Schwartz, Co-Managing Partner Douglas N.V. are traded on and Alex Behring, Co-Founder Amsterdam’s Euronext and the and Co-Managing Partner of 3G Frankfurter Börse. Capital. “Our team at 3G Capital Under the new agreement with has deep experience building con3G, the Sonnenberg Family will sumer branded businesses over a retain a 25% interest in Hunter long-term horizon, and we look Douglas, for the new capital struc- forward to investing in Hunter ture. The Board of Directors of Douglas to continue to strengthen Hunter Douglas, represented only its brands and further its expanby its independent directors, unan- sion. Hunter Douglas’ strong marimously supports the transaction, ket position is the product of its and has entered into a separate (continued on Page 8) agreement with 3G C a p i t a l and Ralph Sonnenberg to facilitate and secure a cash exit for all minority shareholders based on the same price per ordinary share. Marko, Ralph and David Sonnenberg of Hunter Douglas
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Lasek Leaves Textiles for Mirror Business F&FI News Network
OMMERCE, CA — Stefan Lasek has been named vice president, sales for Mirror Image Hospitality. His previous post was vice president, contract for Scalamandre and prior to that, he was national sales manager for JF Fabrics. Mirror Image is a custom manufacturer of mirrors for hotels and multi family buildings. Stefan Lasek
Coulisse Expands Miami Base to 50,000 Square Feet F&FI News Network
IAMI — While the world ringed its hands over Covid, North American Managing Director Jop Vos found a way to nearly double sales in North and South America for Coulisse window treatments. He reports the biggest move in sales will continue to be in motor-operated window treatments. The Dutch-born Jop found time to have a third child, develop plans for a new house, and still expand his business to a 50,000 square foot warehouse and office
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Hunter Douglas specialized expertise built over the past century. We are committed to preserving this expertise by empowering and supporting Hunter Douglas’ leadership and partnering closely with Hunter Douglas’ exceptional team of founders and entrepreneurial managers and unrivaled network of dealers and fabricators.” Current Hunter Douglas Group Co-President and Co-CEO, David Sonnenberg, will transition to Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hunter Douglas Group after the closing of the transaction and will continue to be highly involved in the day-to-day business and business strategy, tapping into his 30 years of knowledge and active experience in the company. “We look forward to partnering with 3G Capital in the next chapter of Hunter Douglas’ history. As owner-operators with a long-term investment horizon and significant experience operating global branded businesses alongside founding families, 3G Capital is a dynamic steward to continue the legacy of Hunter Douglas,” David Sonnenberg said. “As a private enterJoão Castro-Neves 8 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
prise, Hunter Douglas will have the opportunity to advance and expand our business while preserving the family-led culture and strong relationships with stakeholders which have been core to our success.” João Castro Neves, a Senior Partner at 3G Capital, is expected to serve as Hunter Douglas Group CEO upon completion of the transaction. João Castro Neves has significant experience in consumer-facing companies growing global and local brands in both emerging and developed markets and working closely with a network of independent wholesalers to better serve customers and consumers, including as CEO of Anheuser-Busch and North America Zone President of Anheuser-Busch InBev from January 2015 to December 2017. João Castro Neves is a Board Member of Kraft Heinz and Restaurant Brands International. “3G Capital and Hunter Douglas share a strong belief in durable value creation through operational excellence, entrepreneurship and a culture of meritocracy,” said João Castro Neves, 3G Capital. “I look forward to working closely with David Sonnenberg and the Hunter Douglas man-
with 25 people. Importantly, he kept everyone safe in the process, especially his employees He offered financial incentives to employees to get vaccinated and sent one of the managers on a trip in the USA for winning a raffle! “Covid stimulated home sales and window treatment sales as a result. However, the current supply chain crunch forced us to keep a higher level of inventory to maintain a steady supply of window components to our customers; reliability is everything to Coulisse,” he says.
agement team as we accelerate Hunter Douglas’ growth in partnership with our remarkable founders, managers and business partners.” It is expected that the block trade and the asset sale will close in the first quarter of 2022. In the announcement about this deal, HD went on to say: In Q4 2021, consumer confidence and trading conditions remained constructive, and Hunter Douglas expects sales to be in line with Q3. Q4 EBITDA is expected to be between USD 195 – 205 million. An HD spokesman said: The outlook for 2022 is positive, but uncertainties remain as to when consumer discretionary spending will normalize. Hunter Douglas continues to be in a strong position. Assuming continuation of current market conditions, management anticipates delivering full-year 2022 sales and EBITDA growth of mid-single digits percent versus full-year 2021, excluding the impact from acquisitions and divestments, with an EBITDA margin in excess of 18%.
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DiNole Continues Editor Focus, Applauds Flexibility, Employees F&FI News Network
OLE, IT — “Flexibility, which in business is usually called “resiliency”, seems to be the secret to overcame problems even when such difficulties were even impossible to imagine,” says Luca Ferrari, Principal of DiNole Velvets. “During the last two challenging years we did invest twice as much as our average investment budget in each of our production sectors: warping, weaving, dying, finishing and even packaging. We are now even more flexible in production and each production area is 100 percent integrated in our informatic production system which allows all our customers to follow each single piece they order to us from the date of order to the delivery through our web site. As said DINOLE® is a full 100% inte-
grated textile so we’re not planning to add any external skill to our organization so far In December 2021, our exclusive cotton velvet finishing which is called “imperfix®” has been recognized by the Italian Government as an “Historical Trademark of National Interest” which will allow us a higher protection and the opportunity to use a specific “logo” to certify everything is made in Italy (Nole Torino in our case.) He says Dinole is a fully vertical textile Company. “Since 1913 we produce all of the product offered to the most exclusive International textile editors worldwide in-house in our 33,000 square meters plant in Nole Torino. This characteristic, which nowadays is unique in Europe, has given us the capacity to adapt our production to the level of service our customers were asking us in the past 24 months.”
“One more time, the most important strength of Dinole has been proved to be the people who do the work here. “In 2020 we did our first “ESG Report”,(stands for environmental,social,corporate governance) which can be downloaded in our web-site, which did allow us to put in figures what we always knew: Dinole community is what makes us not only an ESG Company but a‘resilient’company too. Up to 60 percent of the people who are (continued on Page 21)
Importers Say Textile Shipping Rates Spiral Out of Control, No End in Sight F&FI News Network
IAMI BEACH, FL—In the past 12 months, Freight container prices from China have skyrocketed from $2,700 to as much as $27,000 according to some textile importers. For example, 4-pass blackout fabrics from China are being sold for a $1 more per yard due to freight cost,” says John Sofka, principal of Sof-Tex, a textile importer based in the Los Angeles area. One can ask why this is happening. Freight costs have increased seven-fold in the last 12 months the highest I have seen is $18,000; But very large companies negotiate much more favorable contracts,” he adds. “We absorbed the increases for several months last year, but in the end, we had to pass most of the increase along to clients,” Henao explains. “Freight used to be around 5% of cost. It became 30+%. That is Impossible to absorb alone.” “About the transportation within China, there are about 100 areas in the country designated by the government as middle to high risk. These areas get partially closed when Covid cases are detected. Once an area falls in this category, the transit in and out becomes limited, trucks included.” “Several of these areas are industrial zones. 12 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
Therefore, labor and equipment have become limited, and costs have risen here as well breaking the supply chain at origin; short supply, John Sofka David Marx Rolando Henao high prices.” Henao further says “nobody knows where well. Some were taken out of service prior the next area to be closed down will be. to the pandemic. Demand just wasn’t there This uncertainty, I believe, has pushed some prior to the pandemic when the ships were companies to stop production well ahead of removed from service,” he says. the Chinese New Year holiday meaning even Marx says customers are paying the price longer delivery times now,” Henao concludes. for the increased freight charges which means “There is an overwhelming shortage of everything will go up in value. “That’s part of labor; major carriers do not have enough the inflation spiral in the USA right now,” he people to move the goods,” says David Marx, adds. principal of Express Air Freight, a specialist Marx says there will be no short-term in textile imports for many years. It’s a ques- relief. Also, shipping space is tight, but it may tion of supply and demand,” he says. ease up. Marx says he tries to book drivers two to “Part of the problem is that port unloading three weeks in advance. “Freight forwarders is 70-100 ships behind due to a labor shortare getting a good workout from all of these age. There are also not enough drivers to extra problems,” he says. deliver the containers,” he says. “We try to protect the customers’ interests. “You cannot leave the containers called We have people and staff doing their best,” gensets—at port for more than three days Marx says. or you pay storage charges,” Marx explains. He adds that Express Air Freight has tri- “These containers must be removed, or you pled its business since 2018 and his “people pay $100 a day in storage fees. People have are at their maximum capacity. We are mov- had to put containers in private storage yards ing more textiles than ever before in spite of to avoid these charges. There are just not the extra problems.” enough drivers to remove the containers, “There’s been a great deal of consolidation especially in Charleston, Los Angeles and among the airlines and code sharing. There Seattle.” is a shrinking supply of vessels for freight as
Kravet Opens Expanded Showroom Next to New Corporate Headquarters F&FI News Network
OODBURY, NY — Kravet Inc. has opened a new showroom here alongside its new corporate headquarters. The new showroom is triple the size of the previous Bethpage, NY space. “My family and our team at Kravet are thrilled to be in our new state of the art headquarters,” says Cary Kravet, President. “While the square footage is substantially larger than where we were previously, the environment feels much warmer and more inviting. It is analogous to a new, well designed, and decorated home. It just feels right,” he says. The new construction was done with the company’s important focus in mind sustainability - including the installation of solar panels and energy efficient lighting. The Woodbury showroom includes fabric, wallcovering, furniture, trim, decor across Kravet, Lee Jofa, Brunschwig & Fils, GP & J Baker, Donghia, CuratedKravet, Kravet Contract and all of the company’s distributed brands, such as Clarke & Clarke, Cole
& Son, Blithfield, Winfield Thybony and Metaphores. This showroom features a vast assortment of furniture across all levels of luxury, as well as carpet, wallcovering and branded boutiques. Designers can work with their clients or the Kravet staff in private designer studios in the showroom, offering a professional and productive environment. Intended to cater to a customer’s needs, the new showroom will include a Kravet Workspace, where fabrics are sorted by color for easy scheming. Customers can also use the showroom’s digital peg board to easily browse products by scanning a barcode and seeing similar items that may be related to their search. Customers can also print out digital tear sheets for pricing and record keeping. The Shade Store at Kravet is a new introduction to the Long Island market. It is a shop-in-shop where designers can create custom window treatments with a 10% discount when selecting a Kravet fabric. Adjacent to this new showroom stands (continued on Page 21)
Swavelle Ends Direct Sales to Hospitality Trade F&FI News Network
EW YORK—Swavelle Fabrics a major converter and mill owner, has decided to stop selling contract fabrics directly to the A&D community including hospitality designers, specifiers and purchasing agents. Instead, Swavelle will work through its network of 30 plus contract wholesalers who now service the hospitality community. This network includes ArcCom, Carnegie, Maharam and Kravet. In a statement on its website, Swavelle said it will honor all open orders or pending quotes for hospitality jobs. The move was effective as of October 1 and the announcement is posted on the Swavelle website. Swavelle has been in business since 1982 and is a major converter and mill owner. Jeff Thomases, the founder stepped back in 2020 as CEO, making way for the next generation of the Thomases family to run the business, namely Greg Thomases CEO and David Thomases, Jeff’s two sons. Jeff continues as Founder and Chairman but is not involved in day-today business activity. Swavelle executives were not available for further comment.
Jeff and Greg Thomases Showroom
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New Major American Blackout Player ABC Emerges Appoints ‘TexSquare’ Exclusive Sales Agency F&FI News Network
ANCHO MIRAGE, CA—TexSquare has signed an exclusive sales agreement to represent American Blackout Company (ABC), a newly formed division of Chinatex Oriental USA, an active supplier of fabrics to major retailers in the USA, based in New York. ABC has warehouses in Bentonville, Arkansas, Ontario, California, and China. Terry Hou is the CEO of ABC and leads the team in the USA and China. Darren Fradin, the former President of Rockland Mills has joined TexSquare as a consultant and is part of the executive team leading the ABC effort. Keeton forecasts a $50 million business in blackout in the years ahead. “Rockland Mills was doing at least that amount in its
heyday,” Keeton noted. Keeton, serving as North American sales coordinator is partners with Dirk DeWilde. Dirk will serve as manager of the international sales for this venture, is based in Colombia, South America. DeWilde was export manager for Escolys, a Belgian jacquard mill and traveled the world for over 25 years. Focusing on the major contract and hospitality markets in the USA will be the first priority for the team. “TexSquare will look to the American converters, jobbers, and manufacturers to scale the availability of sample books and cards, memos and immediate delivery of blackout to meet all needs,” Keeton says. At the same time, Keeton says, “ABC
expects demand from all over the world, as a result of the stock supported lines in China. TexSquare has 1,800 window clients in 45 countries that the TexSquare platform serves virtually with promotions and offers on a regular basis. Most of the buyers prefer to buy from stock unless the order is for a high-volume property request. ABC will be able to meet all demands.” International clients will be served from the China warehouse, and the USA sales will be served from the local warehouse stock. ABC expects stock to be available in the USA in March. ABC is also in dialogue with domestic factories to manufacture a line of blackout in the USA, as well.
Redelman Business Up, Plans Showroom Expansion F&FI News Network
YDNEY, AU— Australia’s long lockdown due to covid benefited the fabric industry as consumers developed a renewed interJeff Redelman est in home decorating, according to Geoff Redelman, third generation principal of the 85-year-old Redelman Fabrics. (His great grandfather Isaac, was the founder.) The Redelman business is up double digits in 2021 with a similar expectation for sales in 2022, he says. Redelman has branches in Melbourne 14 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
and Brisbane and stocks a 200,000-yard inventory. Redelman’s latest project is to expand its Sydney showroom from 2,500 square feet to 5,000 as soon as a suitable location can be found. “There was a long lockdown in Australia, as much as 18 months on and off for over two years in various states. Since 90 percent of the Australian population is now vaccinated, Redelman feels the lockdowns worked to slow down the virus. “People stayed at home and upgraded their houses,” he says. “We serve high end designers, about 80 percent of our business for special projects and we’re doing well,” says Redelman. Price
levels are between $40-$150 Australian dollars. Redelman buys product from 15 different countries including the USA, in Europe and Asia. Redelman also buys some high-end Chinese goods. “We buy all that is beautiful and continue to seek out new mills based on design, price and quality. Our customers like to see the actual fabrics—not a small sample.” “The Australian market also favors bright colors, but the bright sunlight renders outdoor fabrics more like indoor/outdoor fabrics,” Redelman explains. “People want to sit out all of the time but there are no outdoor fabrics that can stand that kind of sunlight,” he adds.
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Dorothy Cosonas Leaves Knoll; Mary Murphy Takes Over Design for Knoll & Maharam In July, Herman Miller and Knoll Announced New Name: MillerKnoll F&FI News Network
IAMI—It didn’t take very long for chief Knoll designer Dorothy Cosonas to leave the newly created MillerKnoll, the new name of the merged companies of Herman Miller and Knoll. The merger was fait accompli July 19 and Cosonas left around Thanksgiving, around four months after the merger. In 2005, Dorothy Cosonas came to Knoll as the Creative Director of both KnollTextiles and KnollLuxe. She is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with dual degrees in fine art and textile design.
Her collections can still be seen on the Knoll website. Her next move is not known. Mary Murphy was the Senior Vice President of Design at Maharam, which she joined in 1992 after a stint at Herman Miller. New York based contract jobber Maharam was acquired by Herman Miller in 2013. Murphy graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design’s master’s program and went on to become an interior designer where she gained her knowledge about textiles. She has guided the Maharam Design Studio’s development of commercial and
residential textiles. So, this is a big move up for Murphy. The contract/hospitality business has been hard hit so its’ no surprise that this merger occurred. Economies of scale always rules so one design head is better than two! Zeeland, Mich based Herman Miller (NASDAQ: MLHR) completed the acquisition of Knoll, Inc. (“Knoll”), on July 19, 2021, and Casonas left MillerKnoll around Thanksgiving.
Movelta Group Wrestles With Costs, Stays True to Existing Customers F&FI News Network
EERLIJK BE—”Our strategy is to continue working like before,” says Olivier Hellyn, CEO of Movelta Group, one of the larger weavers in Europe. “We didn’t stop the developments; we only looked how to lower our cost of production. We had a big cost increase in raw material, energy, salaries, water, and dyestuff,” he says. “Our sales in 2021 were more than in 2020 but still less than 2019 in terms of meters. We do believe sales will so up strongly in 2022 due to nice developments but we also see less producers in the business. Some of our items can no longer be produced in Europe.” Hellyn expects to show during Proposte in an outside showroom. “We do sell in Italy… perhaps we are too much in competition with some Italian velvet weavers. We produce about 30% cheaper than them and this could be the problem that they do not allow us in the Proposte fair. They don’t like competition. In Belgium we have competition, but we have good relationship and work together. For example, the more competitors/ colleagues we have at the fair Decosit the better. Clients come to see producers. The client decides where to buy and if he finds 18 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
all producers at the fair it is easier for the client to buy/ to compare. In Decosit he will find the producers together but in Proposte the buyer will have to walk all over the city to find them. So, he will never visit them all. The Movelta Group includes Tavelmo, Devantex and Waesland. The company is run by the third family generation. The Movelta Group is a fully integrated textile group of companies with its own preparation, weaving, dyeing and finishing plants located in the center of Europe including a 60,000 square meter factory. “Waesland is our division in piece dyeing for high-end customers and produces only on demand. Waesland doesn’t work with agents but directly with the editors and above all, works on a 100% worldwide exclusivity on demand,” Hellyn says. In 2021, Movelta bought some new machines to make different items “but unfortunately, we cannot show the new items to our clients,” Hellyn says. He explains how difficult it is to travel to visit customers, a problem everyone is facing today. “Our focus is on the European market as before, but we still sell in over 50 countries world-wide. We didn’t change anything, the only problem we had during covid was how to show our new fabrics to the clients. As we do not work with
agents, we c o u l d n ’t show the fabrics l o c a l l y. ” “Because we have no agents and traveling to the USA or Olivier Hellyn to Asia was almost impossible. Visiting UK was possible for a few months only but even then, it was difficult.” Hellyn says Movelta Group decided not to invest in internet sales as “we are producers and not wholesalers/editors or shops. We keep on working with our existing clients. We stay with our normal business (weaving-finishing- dyeing) and just try to make it good. Working with our existing clients … that is the most important thing.” “If a mill has agents, they can send samples to them and they can travel in their country and show the new fabrics. We couldn’t do that as we don’t have agents.” “Our last acquisition was Devantex and it was successful. Devantex makes our highend collection and we added now even a flatwoven collection from Devantex.” Hellyn is open to making other textile acquisitions.
Regal Masters China’s Longer Lead-Times, Builds Warehouse, Digital Prints, New Brand ‘Kindred’ CEO Kahan cites Pandemic for business boost F&FI News Network
IDDLETON, MASS—In the past two years, Regal purchased the upholstery division of Diversitex, a U.S. based converter, started its own digital printing operation with 30 base cloths and completed construction of its 95,000 square foot warehouse and offices here, according to Steven Kahan, CEO. He credits his 40 employees for Regal’s success. This includes his sister Ronda Kahan Wilson, COO; Alan Krigsfeld, director of logistics; Sue Patrolia, director of product development; Anne Hood, director of merchandising. Kahan also depends on his two sons: Andy who has developed zoom presentations and Regal’s virtual showroom and Scott who focuses on development of non-furniture markets as well as sales for the new brand ‘Kindred’ and Diversitex. The converter/importer’s latest development is the creation of a new, permanent, and standing middle market collection to be known as ‘Kindred.’ This brand converts either sustainable or natural fibers for fabrics in the $8 plus range which is a higher price point for the company than ever before, Kahan confirms. Most of the volume body cloths sell for under $6. Strange as it may seem, Kahan Regal Fabrics also partially credits the Pandemic for solid growth results in the last two years. “People are staying home and buying new furniture,” he explains. Regal serves the upholstered furniture
manufacturer and jobber in the USA. While its primary source is China, Regal has had to diversify its supply chain to now include the USA (through Diversitex), India and Indonesia. However, about 75 percent of the fabric Regal imports still comes from China, Kahan confirms. “There have been some disruptions in the supply from China and this had led to longer lead-times. Containers are four to six weeks later than previously but we have been able to provide in-stock capability for the best-selling fabrics or at least know when they are on the way. “We are able to match customer usage to minimize longer lead-times,” he says. Kahan says his best sellers are stocked to the tune of 20,000 yards. (The customer recently voted Regal as ‘The Best Fabrics Supplier’ in a survey conducted by Furniture Today.) “China is still our main fabric source, but the tariffs are terrible and here to stay,” he adds. “In China, the local government has created disruption to production in certain areas, but we have managed to steer clear of the problems created. It hasn’t affected Regal.” However, he says air freight charges have skyrocketed to $10 a yard and Regal is selling $6 a yard fabric so there is a loss here which Regal must absorb to satisfy the customer. “Container prices are also high,” Kahan says. To offset these problems with supply, Regal is designing its lines 18 months in
Andy Kahan Regal Warehouse
advance of introduction. The company produces inexpensive body cloths in 100 percent polyester and matches it up with jacquards, prints, embroideries, and velvets. Due to the new Regal inventory digital print operation, Regal can make prints in the USA or in China depending on the size of the order. “Vietnam is also gaining steam in upholstered furniture manufacturing,” Kahan remarks. Regal can ship fabric to Vietnam from China to serve the furniture manufacturer there but there is little in the way of fabric production in Vietnam today, says Kahan who has travelled to Vietnam to search out possible sources and see customers’ factories.
Rockland Files Ch. 11 F&FI News Network
ALTIMORE, MD—Rockland Industries Inc., parent of Rockland Mills, filed for Chapter 11 protection in the district of South Carolina October 5 after unsuccessfully trying to sell the assets of the company. The company was in business since 1832 and was a leader in manufacturing blackout linings. The bankruptcy petition states funds will be available to the 100 plus Unsecured Creditors. 20 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
Some feel that Rockland will be more successful selling its bankrupt assets at two forthcoming auction sales. The assets include a factory in Bamberg, SC and a coating line used by the blackout lining producer. An inspection of the paperwork submitted by the company to the bankruptcy court includes tax returns showing sales of $33.8 million in 2018 and sales of $19.2 million in 2019. Losses in both years were recorded. Informed sources say that Rockland had sales of
$40 plus million within the last five years. What led to its rapid sales and profit decline is not obvious. Roc-lon® built the lining business over the years and it was a solid company. Some feel a buyer will still emerge at this late stage of the game.
Neutex Gains OceanSafe, CradletoCradle License F&FI News Network
UNCHBERG, GERMANY—Neutex Home Deco will launch new products with the CradletoCradle Gold and Ocean Safe certification in the first half of 2022, according to Joseph Wheeler, managing director, sales & marketing for Neutex. Prior to getting this license, Wheeler says Neutex underwent a rigorous audit of its weaving facilities in Munchberg and yarn dyeing in Selbitz and Targu Mures, Romania. This audit included an examination of Neutex’s material health, closed-loop capability, water management, renewable energy
and even social justice, Wheeler explains. Ocean Safe is a technology company for recyclable, biodegradable, and toxin-free textiles. Ocean Safe supplies the synthetic fibers and yarns for these products which are eventually recycled through industrial composting, the company says. Neutex says it produces 4.5 million square meters of decorative textiles in Munchberg each year and over one million readymade cushions, curtain and accessories in Romania. Neutex is a member of the Hoftex Group and a regular exhibitor at Heimtextil and Proposte.
Dubai Goes Vegas
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DiNole Continues Editor Focus, Applauds Flexibility, Employees
F&FI News Network
AS VEGAS, NV—This gambling entertainment mecca doing about $1 billion in gambling revenues a month, will be replicated in Dubai very shortly according to textile veteran Jay Dash who represents Sealy Furniture, Flukso Fabrics and Rizzy Rugs to the hospitality trade. As a result of this transformation, Jay Dash will be making many trips to Dubai after a 20-year hiatus, he says. Dash worked on hotel interiors with the Maktoum ruling family in Dubai 20 years ago. “Dubai is the new Macau,” Dash explains. He says that Macau generates three times the gambling revenues of Las Vegas. Dash also transformed himself from a location in Miami to his current home in Las Vegas where he recently celebrated his fifth wedding anniversary with interior designer Sandi Brown. (The pair were recently spotted in Lake Las Vegas.) “MGM is putting up 1,400 rooms and Wynn is doing the same thing, in Dubai” he points out. “Both companies bought islands in the Persian Gulf for this reason,” Dash says.
Jay Dash with wife Sandi Brown
He also points out that Japan just declared gambling legal so this will provide even more opportunities for the textile business.
working at Dinole do have one or more (up to twelve) relatives working, or who did work, in our plant and 43 percent of them do live not farther than two kilometers from the plant (75 percent within 5 km), basically they are manly living in the village of Nole. In 2021 financial year, sales have been ahead 60 percent in comparison to 2020 and eight percent ahead of 2019. We’re looking to 2022, in a very positive way and with a fresh spirit, ready to celebrate our 110th anniversary as soon as we’ll turn in the 2023.” “As said, Dinole does supply only highend international textile editors worldwide. It is a very small market, and we’ll keep doing what we always do which is to concentrate in what we do best: give continuity to our customers collection; continuity in quality, production, service, and exclusivity.
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Kravet Opens Expanded Showroom the Kravet archive, visible to designers through a glass divider where they can see Kravet product developers at work preserving the many documents stored. The archive is home to one of the largest collections of original documents in the interior design industry with more than 32,000 designs. The new state of the art facility organizes its documents by design period, construction and country of origin.
Kravet’s Woodbury Showroom Spring 2022 • www.FandFI.com • 21
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Silvera Prospers With Double Digit Growth was still open.) “We expect to participate in Deco-Off in France with Fabricut which has a temporary space. His big push for 2022 will be his own in-house sample books featuring mid-priced Italian brands, no more than one supplier per book to ensure three-year continuity. “I’m in a very competitive marketplace with the likes of Fischbacher, Romo and many other major wholesalers in my own backyard,” he says. His ‘backyard’ is composed 125 million consumers; 100 million in the Germanspeaking area, countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and 25 million people in Benelux region. Silvera also has a partner in Norway. “If I can’t make a living in this densely populated market, then where can I go from here,” he laughs. “We’re in a highly localized market where the service expectation is extreme, two-day delivery—no more than that,” he says. Silvera’s 5,000 square foot showroom, 20 km from the city center— is just eight hours to Milan and 3.5 hours to Frankfurt. Silver is
currently supplying upholstery to an 80-shop chain in Germany. He specializes in American and English fabric brands. His largest vendor is Fabricut from Tulsa, Oklahoma where he works closely with David Klaristenfeld, Vice President of Fabricut. Silbernberg’s English lines include Kai from Ashley Wilde and Design Archives. About 75 percent of his business is with American brands and the balance with European brands. Silvera also features York Wallcoverings from the USA. “Brexit created problems in getting the English goods, but I see a time when this problem will be resolved—it’s strictly political. Now, we’re lucky to get a shipment from England. It’s a real mess nobody thought about in advance You don’t have this problem in the USA where there is free trade between states.” Aside from fabrics, Silvera has a small but growing furniture business which drives fabric sales. “The margins in furniture are smaller for us since we are traders—not manufacturers but it is still growing.”
Aquaclean Reports Sales Increase F&FI News Network
URO DEL ALCOY, SP—Aquaclean reports increasing sales for 2022, ahead of 2021 which was also a growth year according to company President Rafa Pascual. “Last year, we consolidated our upholstery fabrics under Interfabrics reaching close to US$68 million in sales, and in 2022 we have merged our subsidiaries to create a totally vertical manufacturing company with about 300 people,” he says. “We are focused on self-sufficient vertical operations with a minimum dependency on Asia for raw materials,” he adds. For the future, Pascual would like to acquire a company in the USA and another in Japan. “Further, from a production standpoint, we emphasize eco-friendly operations in terms of CO2 and water reduction, eco-design in products: a full line of 100% of solution dyed recycled polyester.” “He says there is further emphasis on functionalities but without harmful chemicals like PFCs or Biocides.” In terms of new products, Pascual points to “all pile products in general working well in all of the company’s 70 markets, and now boucles are very trendy.” Rafael Pascual
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Romo Group Passes 100 Million Pound Mark something we’re extremely proud of.” Romo is entering the fifth generation of family leadership under directors Felicity, Emily, and Jordan Mould. (These are the children of current CEO Jonathan Mould.) Felicity is responsible as director of people, culture & communications; Jordan is director of strategy, sales & innovation. Emily says they recently announced how they are developing their roles as directors by taking on wider responsibilities across
the business. “Our new roles align with our individual passions and strengths, providing the necessary framework for future growth.” This will allow the current CEO Jonathan Mould to begin to gradually reduce his duties, she adds. “At Romo, we feel extremely fortunate to be part of the interior design industry. While we acknowledge that sales were initially difficult, a renewed interest and importance placed on home environments led to an incredible growth in sales and the company setting new records.” “It is a remarkable achievement that despite the challenges brought on by Covid, we have continued to launch inspiring new products, produce beautiful pattern books and sampling, and process a huge volume of orders daily, meeting customer demand and exceeding expectations,” she says. “We adapted quickly to new technologies, holding innovative forms of meetings, and virtual events to present our new fabrics and wallcoverings while maintaining and developing relationships with our customers.” “With generations of experience and a dedicated team of loyal employees, our business continues to go from strength to strength. “ “Staying at the forefront of design and innovation, our latest launches from Romo, Zinc Textile and Kirkby Design are performing exceptionally well. Combining natural materials with luxury design, Mark Alexander’s new wallcoverings have also seen a remarkable uptake in sales.” Mould mentions the completion of Romo Group’s new headquarters and warehouse in Nottingham in 2020 as a major milestone. “The culmination of a clear vision and years of planning led to the creation of this architecturally outstanding building that combines a state of the art, highly automated warehouse, three beautifully lit design studios and an inspiring office environment, housing more than 350 employees.” “Our consistent strategy for organic growth while continuing to innovate and progress as a business, ensures we remain at the forefront of our industry. The future is what matters, focusing on quality and excellence, prioritizing the welfare of our staff, and taking positive steps towards a more sustainable way of working.”
Jordan Mould Spring 2022 • www.FandFI.com • 23
Emmanuel Lelievre Forges Ahead Increases Sales, Efficiencies, Service F&FI queried French editeurs just prior to Deco Off 2022 by asking the following five questions:
1. 2. 3. 4.
What strategies are you using to compete in the marketplace in the face of the Covid Pandemic? Are sales ahead, even or behind last year at this time? What new products or new geographic markets are successful for you? What changes have you made in facilities—warehouses, main offices, branch offices or key personnel?
Have you merged or made acquisitions of other companies in the textile field?
F&FI News Network
ARIS — Lelievre,one of the better known European editeurs still in family hands, reports “sales are up, and new projects are still building up for the coming year,” according to Emmanuel LELIEVRE Directeur Général / C.E.O. Emmanuel Lelièvre represents the 4th generation of the family. Henri Lelièvre, the founder of Maison Lelièvre, established the company in 1914 after acquiring the Maison Piquéé and Logerot on 36 rue des Petits Champs in the second arrondissement of Paris. Lelièvre is distributed worldwide, with 4 subsidiaries (Germany, Italy, Dubai, United Kingdom) and a distribution network covering China, Russia and the United States. “Strong markets are getting stronger. Europe and US are leading the path,” Emmanuel adds. The French editeur is leveraging its assets, including Tassinari & Chatel, the 300-year-old Lyon based silk mill purchased by Lelievre in 1997. The mill gives Lelievre the ability to produce any pattern in the 300-year-old archive or any other version desired by the customer. “On the industrial side (mill), we
invested in new looms and other machines in order to be less dependent and more reactive.” Pressed by the Pandemic, Lelievre is also “setting up a stronger digital strategy in order to stay visible despite complicated travel possibilities,” Lelievre says. In other areas, he has tried to increase efficiencies. “We set up a specific organization in our logistic center in order to send memos & cuttings even quicker than before. This is key for your clients who cannot visit our showrooms or see our sales reps. This is our ‘Uber’ generation.”
Kravet Names Kimberly Fasting-Berg Chief Marketing Officer F&FI News Network
EW YORK, NY — Kravet Inc.has named Kimberly FastingBerg Chief Marketing Officer a new position for the 103 year old company. As the newest member of the executive team, she reports to Cary Kravet, President and Principal. Kim brings more than two decades of strategy, branding and marketing experience to Kravet from Condé Nast, the magazine publisher. “We are excited to welcome Kim to Kravet,” says Cary Kravet,. “I believe that now, in order to be most effective, marketing needs to have an expansive role which reaches deeply and connects consistently into almost every area of the company. We set out to find someone that had experience across multiple luxury industries that could help guide our growth Kimberly Fasting-Berg 24 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
and capitalize on the unique learnings that we have accumulated over the last few years. Kim’s background in luxury media with deep connections and insight into high end fashion across multiple storied fashion brands makes her particularly well suited for this new position. As CMO, she will be responsible for the expanded role of marketing by uniting traditional and digital marketing to help make data driven decisions that communicate compelling stories to the right audiences at the right times.” At Condé Nast, Kim led marketing, innovation, and brand transformation for many of the world’s leading brands. Most recently she served as Head of Marketing for Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and Allure as well as the company’s leading categories of fashion, luxury, beauty and fashion retail. “I’m thrilled to join Kravet, especially at a time when marketing, innovation and storytelling are critical to delivering business value, driving cultural conversations and inspiring and engaging customers and the industry. I feel honored to contribute my experience to an already dynamic legacy and to help lead our company and our brands into an exciting new chapter. I look forward to working with Beth Greene and the talented marketing team to define and lead our next phase of creativity and connection,” adds Fasting-Berg.
25 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
Heimtextil, Salone Del Mobile, Proposte Show Dates Change for 2022 F&FI News Network
RANKFURT, GERMANY—Messe Frankfurt is planning Heimtextil, 2022 for the dates of June 21-24 after cancelling the original event this January. Proposte show dates have also changed from April 2-4 to April 26-28. The move was prompted by the Omicron variant sweeping through Europe. As a result, Heimtextil will follow Proposte on the calendar this year for the first time. The cancellation of Heimtextil in
January was prompted by stricter German government regulation regarding Covid and large business gatherings. Potential exhibitors are being asked to register for the new show dates at this time. Salone del Mobile, the Italian furniture fair in Milan has also changed its dates. The new dates are June 7-12. Normally, the
Proposte show is held right after Salon Del Mobile but this has also changed.
Aaron Feuerstein, 95
ROOKLINE, MA— Aaron Feuerstein, 95, succumbed to injuries from an October 25 fall and passed away December 2. He was best known for continuing to pay salaries for three months to his 1,400 employees after a fire burned down the Malden Mills factory in Lawrence, MA. In 1995. Feuerstein’s grandfather started the textile mill in 1906. At one time, Malden was an upholstery fabric maker utilizing flock technology. The company stopped making upholstery in 1997. Feuerstein subsequently rebuilt the factory on the same site instead of moving the business to the South or offshore. Malden Mills went into bankruptcy in 2001, eventually recovered and was later sold to a private equity firm and finally sold to Milliken & Co. Feuerstein is survived by two sons Daniel and Raphael; a sister and six grandchildren. 26 • www.FandFI.com • Spring 2022
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