Friday, January 31, 2014

Time Machine in The Fabric Business

decorative fabric, High Point, Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, New York
Come with me on a time-machine journey of my adventures in the fabric business.  The hunt for wonderful decorative fabrics has taken me to textile expos in High Point, Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris.  Visits to weaving and printing plants in Finland, Sweden, Germany, India, China and Italy have been very inspiring.  In the early days of Wesco Fabrics almost all our suppliers were in New York City. Marla’s mother, Joline Weiss, gave me my first education on sourcing and negotiating with mills.

seamless sheer, Lake Como, Italy
We bought all our seamless sheer fabrics in Italy in the 70’s and 80’s and did a ton of business!  I’m with the girlfriend of a mill owner and her architect in Lake Como.

Muller Zell, Germany, jacquard
Muller Zell, a German jacquard weaving mill, was a favorite supplier.

Dick Gentry, Paris, textiles
Our early textile shows in Paris were always exciting and so creative!

Heimtextil, Frankfurt, Germany, textile expo
Heimtextil, in Frankfurt Germany, is the world’s largest textile expo, with over 2000+ exhibitors from 60+ countries. Suppliers held lavish receptions and dinners for their customers around the world.  Economic realities of the 21st century have diminished these affairs.

Steve Beard, Wesco Fabrics, Heimtex, sales
We brought Steve Beard with us to Frankfurt one year. Steve is still selling our line in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama after 48 years with Wesco Fabrics!

embroidered matka silk, India, Depend On Me, Spice
A rustic embroidered matka silk from one of our Indian mills was a favorite of Marla’s. The pattern is “Depend On Me”, color Spice.

Bangkok, Thailand, weaving mill, Wesco Fabrics
Bangkok has one of the world’s most advance weaving facilities. We hosted a trip with Wesco Fabrics customers to Thailand and were able to tour the amazing facility.

Shanghai, China, textiles, Wesco Fabrics
From Shanghai we took a high speed train to Hangzhou China to work on new designs with a supplier.  We purchased many fabulous designs on this trip.

textile show, Brussels, Belgium, Marla Gentry, chocolate
I am blessed to work with a wife who loves the business as much as I do! Thank you Marla! After working a textile show in Brussels all day we always looked forward to sampling great Belgium chocolates!

Ray Decker, Wesco Fabrics, Showtime Textile Market, High Point, North Carolina
My son-in-law, Ray Decker, joined me this year for the Showtime Textile Market in High Point, North Carolina.  Ray, apart from having very good taste and ideas, sells Wesco Fabrics in Colorado!

Radiant Orchid, Wesco Fabrics
Dick Gentry, Wesco Fabrics
I hope you enjoyed my little time-travel trip in the world of textiles. 

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