Let's Talk About It

Carole Sloan, Staff Staff, March 2, 2009

Given the dire state of the world economy, and the home textiles world in particular, it would seem that the next few weeks with a major market as the centerpiece could be a kickoff for new ideas.

This space has long championed doing things differently from the long-time norms. And the current environment certainly offers more than a minimal opportunity for change, new thinking and new product development.

One of the more interesting new concepts is the one being put forth by Avanti's Arthur Tauber, who is attempting to build a consortium of United States suppliers to sell globally.

Not a radical idea, but one that is eminently doable. It also is loaded with the hangover of past years of American home textiles producers waffling vis a vis the domestic vs. global economic conditions.

The U.S. industry has long been known for pushing export when times are tough here, and dropping the concept like a hot potato when things get better.

On the list of interested players are a few that have a long-term commitment to export — in times good and bad. They should be given a major voice, letting them describe the good and the bad to the rest of the group, for like any other business activity, there will be both, as well as in-between situations.

From another perspective, there are suppliers that are attempting to move beyond their “normal” business strategies — looking for new markets, fresh ways of developing and bringing product to market and getting away from the same old, same old practices that have dominated this business for decades.

Home, and especially home textiles' piece of the home business, is under challenge from both suppliers and customers.

Open and positive dialogue could help put this business back on the growth track.

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