Valdese Launches V.I.P. Division

Jesse Burkhart, Carole Sloan, December 19, 2005

Valdese, N.C. — Valdese Weavers is launching a new business, Valdese International Products (V.I.P.), a two-pronged effort: one that is focused on designing and developing fabrics to be sourced off-shore; the other, an imported piece goods program featuring all-silk fabrics.

In the off-shore program “we will design and develop the fabrics in the United States using our design and product development skills,” said Mike Shelton, president of Valdese. “We will then source the fabrics off-shore with specific mills that we work with for customers that already have cut-and-sew capabilities abroad.”

While other countries can be involved, V.I.P. is referring to the program as China-to-China and will adjust production specifications to the capabilities of the off-shore mills. “Not everything we use in this country is available around the world,” Shelton observed. “We will be designing to those requirements.”

A key plus, Shelton emphasized, is that “V.I.P. has a quality control and logistics agency in China that will follow the progress of each production order, ensure on-time delivery, and perform a 100-percent quality inspection before shipping.”

The fabrics will be priced ex-factory in China “at significantly less cost” than American production, and will have a six-week production time. Designs are primarily archival ones that can be translated into Chinese constructions. The designs will carry U.S. copyrights as designs owned by Valdese Weavers.

At the same time, V.I.P. is launching an import piece goods program, Silk Road, initially offering two styles: Charmeuse and Copland. “This is the beginning of a new program and fabric category that complements our core line,” Shelton said.

Charmeuse in 36 colors is a heavy weight Dupioni at 105 grams/square meter, which will be available by the roll in 50- to 60-yard pieces, as a cut yardage program with a surcharge, and with a knit backing at a surcharge.

Copland is an up-the-roll stripe featuring a lustrous satin stripe against a matte ground. In six colors, it also is offered in the same ways as Charmeuse. By the piece, Charmeuse is $8.95, Copland is $16.95.

Joel Crisp, director of global operations, is in charge of the program; Mark Moss, international product manager, will interface with the quality and supply chain agency in China.

The China-to-China program is designed primarily for furniture but also bedding.

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