Richloom eyes efficiency

Carole Sloan, March 8, 2004

Richloom Home Fashions, the rapidly growing division of Richloom Fabrics Group, has reorganized itself to become more operationally efficient as well as trend right.

Steve Markowitz has joined the company as business manager for the division, a post that Jim Richman, president of Richloom, said "will help us with one of the great challenges — efficiencies. And Steve ran one of the most efficient businesses, albeit at an opening price point level."

As Richman explained, "We are not an opening price point business, but we need to run our business today as operationally sound."

Markowitz earlier headed Max Kahn, the company founded by his grandfather, and for the past 18 months has developed his own sourcing business, Richman said. "He's the kind of person you want on your team with his knowledge in helping with the complexity of today's business."

While the division previously had been divided into a window and bedding business, under the new structure Andrew Riesel, executive vice president of Richloom, heads the RHF group. "We have a strong design team of Gopi Jariwala, Cathy Wilkerson and Kimberley Delaney who have top-notch strengths in window and bedding," Riesel remarked.

Going forward, Riesel explained, "We will have different offerings and tastes for different retailers."

In windows, there will be the basics like 192/2 ply antique satins to microfiber polyesters in faux suedes and jacquards. In bedding, fabrics will be the key, Riesel said, "With mixing and pieced looks and specialty fabrics. Prints and patterning will be used as accessories."

Design, Riesel emphasized "is certainly a key issue, and we will bring design to our customers as well as exclusivity. One of our great synergies is the relationship of our fabric business and our window and bedding business."

The design and planning team work together, Riesel explained, and, "We work with customers on a confined basis. And we design the products with specific customers in mind."

Richloom Home Fashions currently has its manufacturing and distribution facility in the old Clinton Mills 235,000-square-foot space in Clinton, S.C.

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