I Went to New York Textiles Market
May 5, 2011,
Warren Shoulberg PUBLISHER/EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Looking back, here are some of the things I saw at market:
1. OK, We Get It. Six months ago when vendors said they had to raise prices because of all the cost increases in blah, blah, blah, the buyers just looked at them as if they were talking in tongues and told them where to put their price increases.
This time around, when vendors said the same spiel, buyers said, "Look, we hate this, but we understand. What are we going to do about it?" It was a huge difference and one that marked a turning point in the legendary supplier-buyer partnership that we all know is the very foundation of the industry ... that and the Easter Bunny.
2. Polly Want Some Poly? Not sure about you, but I haven't seen so much polyester - excuse me, microfiber - in the marketplace since the stuff was invented a couple of million years ago. And while synthetic fibers have their place - not to mention their fans - it sure seemed as if the market spent way too much time looking for poly in all the wrong places.
I'm not at all sure the world is ready for 100% polyester towels or heavy cotton-poor sheet blends when the industry has spent the past 30 years telling the customer that cotton was king. If there were ever a time for alternative fibers like Modal and silk and bamboo and whatever else grows anyplace but at an Exxon station, this is it.
3. A Penney For Your Buyers. While it was a market that featured just about every major retailing concern in the country in attendance - not always something you can say - there was one big store obvious by its omission: J.C. Penney. Penney shopped the New York market the week before and while any store can pick whenever the hell it wants to do its buying (and vendors will woefully capitulate), the urban legend was that the Plano posse came in early so the merchandising staff would be home in time to spend the week with their kids, who were off from school during what was market week.
Have no idea if that is true or not, but if so, that's just wrong. I'm all for family values, but this industry is tough enough to get right, and to make everyone bend to this sort of thing is not only unfair, it's also detrimental to the buying process. Any retailer that does not come into market at market is doing a disservice to itself, no matter what the circumstances.
4. Market Looked Better. Not sure if you were paying much attention to it, but the showrooms and market buildings in town just looked better than they had in some time. I hate to name names, but the sprucing up at the 295 Fifth Avenue showroom building was quite noticeable and a good number of showrooms, both old and new, looked like they had spent a few bucks making themselves pretty. We haven't seen a whole lot of that recently.
5. Like Many, I Missed My Friend Carole Sloan. It just wasn't the same without her.