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Hometex provides new venue

Turkish Hometex New York emerged as a third venue for buyers during the spring New York Home Textiles Market.

About 30 small to mid-sized producers of fabrics and finished products showed their goods at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street for two days during market. It was their opportunity to eyeball the U.S. market and for U.S. buyers to shop new sources, said organizer Ali Bulut, managing director, CNR Overseas International Trade Fairs (also the organizer of the giant Evteks show May 19-23 in Istanbul).

"These are not the biggest companies, but these are the ones that want to show they are serious about the U.S. market," Bulut said. "(Most) don't already have serious connections to the U.S. market — they are looking to make those connections."

It was also an opportunity to offer American buyers a small taste of Evteks that, with 900 exhibiting companies, is billed as the world's second largest home textiles fair, he said. "We decided to have the road shows followed by Evteks in Istanbul," Bulut explained.

The Turkish Hometex New York show was preceded with a flourish of advance publicity. "It's not a matter of cost," CNR's Bulut said. "It's a matter of marketing. We are not short-term minded; we look at the long term."

The exhibiting companies were varied, ranging from fabrics to finished products, from no U.S. contacts to a few claiming some large U.S. retailers among their customers. Most companies, while exporting heavily, have been doing the bulk of their business in Europe. And, most seemed keenly aware of the impending impact of much greater competition from China.

Towel and bathrobe supplier MaxxSoft exports about $20 million into the United States annually according to M. Nuri Serbest, export manager. The company's other key export countries are Italy and Germany, he said.

Already doing some business in the mass market, Serbest said he was seeking additional and more upscale U.S. placements. "We're very oriented to a Donna Karan-style of product," he explained. "We mostly compete in a higher segment of the market."

Window coverings supplier Bersan Tekstil, already doing limited business with a New York fabrics house, was seeking new customers and a stronger presence in the United States, said Alyn Ozturk, export manager. Bersan also makes shower curtains, and tablecloths. This was its first time exhibiting in the United States.

Bursa-based Any Tekstil operates 90 looms, along with four embroidery and 40 twist machines, according to representative Selahattin Tavas. In addition to a variety of fabrics, the company makes ready-made curtains, bedding, and table coverings. It's been exporting mostly to Europe and the Middle East, said Tavas.

On the fabrics side, most exhibitors were small producers with up to 25 looms, many double width. Chenille yarns, and jacquard and dobby weaves were the primary constructions in heavier weights, with sheers also offered.

Ekart Tekstil, for example, specializes in upholstery fabrics in 140 centimeter widths using both polyester and viscose fibers, according to Ifron Alyaz, sales representative.

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