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American Pacific goes global

American Pacific Home

San Francisco

Ceo: Jeff Block

Principal businesses: bedding & bath products: quilts, sheets, comforters and duvets

American Pacific was founded in 1984 as a trading company importing market commodities, and in 1990 made the big switch to fashion goods, said Jeff Block, ceo.

Now, the company is so involved in global sourcing, it maintains an office in China, and brings in goods from India and Pakistan as well. All three countries provide all of the products American Pacific markets in the United States. "We frequently double-source the goods," he said.

While all of the raw materials and most of the finished products are produced abroad, the company does some cut-and-sew work domestically, said Block.

While labor costs are low in China, Pakistan, India and elsewhere, "this is not the panacea a lot of people, including the big mills, seem to think it is," Block said. "There are certain cost advantages, but there's also a lot of risk involved — especially the long lead times and the short lifetime of some fashion looks. This is not a business that allows you a quick in and out."

Block adds, "A lot of people do think this is the answer, but they don't understand the pitfalls. And lead time is everything. That's a tough one to get around, and we really work hard to strategize that."

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