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Tough issues but the Show(time) goes on

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, January 13, 2003

Well, it was one of the more interesting Showtimes over its 10 year run!

First there was the timing displacement — not just for the folks in the home fashions world who are gearing up for a market that is probably the earliest in contemporary history that begins in March — but also for the folks in furnitureland who are having perhaps the earliest High Point market in memory.

A double whammy for the fabric suppliers both here and off-shore in terms of timing.

What that has done to planning, sampling, ordering and the shopping at Showtime could fill a major document.

Talk about whining and hanky tearing. There was enough at Showtime to take care of the year's upcoming Hollywood tearjerkers. Why won't some people who consider themselves players look at a calendar every now and then?

Then there was a new element — cut and sew from China — and again, it wasn't just limited to upholstered furniture where it started. It also moved in on such things as pillow covers for both upholstered furniture and home fashions, futon covers, duvet covers, and on and on.

It seems a lot of fabric folk are using cut and sew operations in China, as an element to enhance joint ventures in fabric products. It's a big move to accommodate domestic customers while providing them with that market's goods in cut and sew operations; this market's design and marketing at that market's prices.

And finally, there was the widely divergent reaction to current business — both Showtime sample writings, December sample orders and real, for real orders.

Normally, one can pick up a trend — either good or bad — but last week's viewpoints were so diverse no real conclusion could be drawn.

Another issue for some of the fabric firms was focus. Some at the better goods stratum began to slide down into market price/quality goods — even using their signature looks. Somehow it doesn't seem that will work. Their lower segment of the customer base is looking for the market price/construction, and if the design is passable, they'll buy. They are not the market for signature looks.

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