• Cecile Corral

Home Made

USA manufacturing of home textiles expanding

MohawkMohawk Home is increasing its investments in domestic production with state-of-the-art machinery for its various rug products, including tufting.
The home textiles industry is experiencing a renaissance in domestic production that manufacturers are banking will endure long-term.

Broadly speaking, the U.S. textile industry invested $17.9 billion in new plants and equipment from 2006 to 2015, according to the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).

More recently, U.S. manufacturers have opened new facilities throughout the textile production chain.

And U.S. textile mills have increased productivity by 52% since 2000.

“Competing against low-labor cost, often heavily subsidized Asian producers, is not easy,” Auggie Tantillo, president of NCTO, told H&TT. “But U.S. companies are continually adapting by investing in research and development, new equipment, and top-notch people. Couple that with world-class innovation, efficiency, and quick turn-around times on orders, and you have a work-able business model to re-shore production, for many different items, including home textiles.”

Take hospitality. Marriott announced in spring 2016 its plan to switch to all U.S.-manufactured towels and bath mats, made of U.S.-grown cotton. The nearly 3,000-unit hotel chain is making the transition and plans to have it fully rolled out next year.

Marriott had not domestically sourced all of its guestroom towels since the 1990s, “when U.S. manufacturing began to fade away,” noted J.W. Marriott, executive chairman and chairman.

He added: “We think our customers will appreciate knowing that an item they use every day in our hotels represents progress for the U.S. economy as well as for the environment.”

CuddledownCuddledown is launching two sub-brands for its wholesale division to court younger shoppers keen on traceability and sustainability.
Unexpected and yet impactful: traceability. Front and center among suppliers and retailers since last year when many mislabeled products were pulled off store shelves, the issue has forced companies to authenticate their goods.

One way to quantify this: 27.5 million, the number of pounds of U.S. cotton for which Applied DNA Sciences has received DNA order tags for the 2017-2018 ginning season.

Mohawk Home calls U.S. manufacturing “our core tenant,” noted Bart Hill, svp, product and operations. The company makes 95% of its area rugs and 65% of its doormats and bath rugs domestically.

“We abide by all [Federal Trade Commission] and NAFTA standards,” Hill said. “And we welcome that because it is absolutely a core focus of what we do and who we are as a company.”

Mohawk Home, the nation’s second largest home textiles company with $618 million in sales in 2016, is making deeper manufacturing investments.

“We’ve invested $850 million company-wide, and rugs is getting a good portion of that,” he continued. “We’ve made significant investments in the latest weaving, printing and tufting technologies because we want to control our own destiny and the only way to do that is to invest in product and process innovation.”

Celebrating its 45th anniversary next year as a domestic producer and retailer of luxury down bedding, Cuddledown is building on its legacy to court a younger, “aspirational” demographic that appreciates sustainability and traceability.

Starting this fall, Cuddledown will roll out two new sub-brands of affordably priced USA-made pillows and comforters, director of sales development Todd Cox told H&TT.

“There is a push back to things made here and products that are handcrafted, and every thing we carry is finished here by hand. Hands are all over our products,” he said. “Nothing is mass produced by a robot or machine. And it’s because there is real value in Made in the USA.”

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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HTT Cover October 2017

See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!