Business 'good' at Decosit, TIP

Carole Sloan, September 18, 2001

Brussels, Belgium — Until the impact of the terrorist attack on the United States took hold, exhibitors at both Decosit and Textiles d'Interieur Premiere (TIP) were reporting generally good business.

Business, most agreed, was good — not spectacular, but encouraging for the American segment in the face of the strong dollar.

And many in the American contingent re-emphasized the need to participate in international events, no matter what the currency rates, global economy or other factors.

At Decosit, many exhibitors pointed to a perceived slight drop in attendance at Decosit, although Patrick Geysels, Decosit's director, reported 2.5 percent more visitors.

At TIP9, Bill Davis, director, reported about a 20 percent increase in visitors, the result, he explained "of our reputation increasing as a venue."

At TIP9, Aileen Williams, co-owner of British-based Washington Design Co., said "We were here two years ago and just came back. TIP was very good for us. We got a very good reception from both old customers and acquired new [ones]."

Noting that the first day "was really very good, though it slowed a bit, we got nice inquiries and orders from the United States," said Jay Smith, marketing director for The Jay Smith Collection in South Africa.

On the other hand, Howard Sackelman, vp, U.S.-based Dukane Fabrics, called TIP9 "fair, primarily because of the basis of our business — seconds and closesouts — which are being pressured by off-shore suppliers' first quality goods."

Despite this, Sackelman noted, "traffic at TIP9 was better — more Americans and more Middle Easterners than last year. We're satisfied but we'd like to have our mill suppliers price their goods sharper."

At Decosit, Stan Fradin, president of Roc-Lon, said, "I'm satisfied. There's business to be written at anytime, despite the currency, if you have the product and service."

For Mike Shelton, president of Valdese, the "Decosit has changed for us in the last few years because of the strength of the dollar. We don't see the numbers of new customers that we used to, but it has become an important opportunity to see long-standing customers and spend time working with them."

The Mastercraft Group was "relatively pleased," said Pete Thompson, vp, international. "Our dollar sales are comparable to last year, but we sense a degree of hesitation and concern about the global economy."

"Our sales are ahead of last year," said Roger Gilmartin, executive vp, Covington Industries. "We're pleased. Activity was hectic, and we had a lot of requests for samples, samples, samples."

Gilmartin noted, there is a strong Scandinavian presence but very few companies from the Middle East.

"It was good, we have no complaints," said Al Rubin, president of Edgar Fabrics. "We picked up some new customers and saw an increase of buyers from Norway."

Calling Decosit less busy than last year, Larry Liebenow, president of Quaker Fabric, said, "We wrote substantial business, more than I expected and more in the upper end of Quaker and Whitaker than in Davol."

Calling the company's results better than expected, Lew Magrish, vp, Chris Stone, said, "It was very positive. We had good traffic, and there was a keen interest in what we were doing."

For British-based Anne & Robert Swaffer, this year's show was "the best in five years," according to Anne Swaffer, co-owner. "People are finally seeing prints again. And we've gone larger scale, more elegant and up market, plus we added a soft hand."

"Decosit was steady, more leisurely because traffic was down overall," said Roger Berkley, president of Weave. "There's less of a price concern, and the mood definitely was not negative."

"We were very encouraged by the diversity of the customers who came to our stand," said Loel Hoffmann, vp, international marketing for Blumenthal.

For the first time, Blumenthal launched a new collection, Villa Nola, at Decosit and "customers responded to the flexibility of the collection — more upscale and eclectic than our regular line," he said.

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