Espalma by Cobra shows biggest Brazilian collection yet


Espalma by Cobra shows biggest Brazilian collection yet

New York - With the Brazilian real and the U.S. dollar more closely aligned on the exchange rate than they have been in a long time, Espalma by Cobra is bringing back its signature Brazilian towel offerings in a bigger way than ever.

True to Brazilian style, the collection spans a vibrant spectrum of colors for both solid and patterned bath towel ensembles and beach towels as well as a program of terry bath robes.

Espalma by Cobra managing director Kurt Hamburger is considered by some in the industry as a pioneer in the Brazilian towel business in the U.S., arguably importing the first jacquard beach towel collection from Brazil.

Two years into founding his company, Hamburger made his first excursion to Brazil for business in 1969 looking to work with the country's top towel manufacturers. Conveniently for Hamburger, who at the time could not speak Portuguese but was fluent in German, the Southern town of Blumenau had been established as the country's textiles capital with the help of post World War II exiles from Germany setting up their own textiles businesses there.

Since then, he has religiously maintained close ties with the South American country's home textiles manufacturers and continually imported their products here, marketing the goods to the mid to upper retail tiers.

That is how the "Cobra" part of the name came about - Co for Company and Bra for Brazil.

In recent years, unfavorable currency exchange rates and a weak U.S. economy prompted Espalma by Cobra to focus on sources elsewhere, namely India and Pakistan. But with a new equilibrium in the two economies inching closer to reality, the company jumped back into Brazil full force.

"Brazil has been making towels for decades and they have the best equipment and the best technicians, " Hamburger told HTT.

Rae Ellen Blum, the company's vp of sales and marketing, described Brazilian towels as being "so much more of glamorous, and having so much more of a perceived value, an overall superior quality" versus like products from other parts of the world. "Even the water is better in Brazil," she added, "And we don't have problems with power outages and other issues. They are the best."

During this week's market, Espalma by Cobra is introducing 12 new collections from Brazil.

The bath towel ensembles are largely jacquard, "what we are known for," Blum said. The offering includes solid colored jacs, velour, zero twist, woven jacs and "some innovative pattern looks," Blum continued.

Retails run from $19.99 and up, as the collection is designed for department stores and better specialty shops.

A robe assortment comprises combed cotton-made styles, many of them with special details like eyelet

All of the products for the company new Brazil line are being sourced from Buddemeyer.

Hamburger is expecting a strong response from his retail customers.

"We've already had previews with some of our more important clients, and one of them is interested in buying five 40 foot containers," he said. "I think that we are now ready to re-introduce Brazilian towels in the U.S. market in a big way."


Home Textiles Today Staff | News & Commentary

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See the November 2017 issue of Home Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at Complex Colors, Complex Times--Trend forecasters and interior designers weigh in on 2018 palettes and motifs.  Other articles include: Data: Exclusive HTT soft window research; Innovation: Material Changes conference preview; Country report: India invests in the future and Fabrics: Showtime preview.  See details!