Give 'em the ol' Razzle-Dazzle
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 1/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
Well — another Heimtextil has come and gone. And as in recent years, changes are quite evident.
First and foremost is the dramatically declining American presence — both from a quantity and quality perspective.
From the quantity side of the coin — with only two companies officially part of the U.S. Pavilion for decorative fabrics and six in the manufactured product side, the American presence in the Department of Commerce-sponsored space has hit an all-time low.
Yes, there were a few more scattered through the rest of the show on the fabric side, but hardly enough to make an impact. And unofficial rumbles have one of these long-timers abandoning Heimtex for Maison et Objet next year.
And on the back side of the fabric pavilion was a new exhibitor — a supplier of all Chinese-made product sporting a USA logo — not the official one — but close.
Now to the quality issue. The one comment most frequently heard by Americans — visitors or exhibitors — was: "Can you believe what our Pavilions look like!"
Somehow, somewhere, there should be a modest amount of funding available for an official American presence at trade shows to help those companies attempting to build their export businesses at a level that would make the players and observers proud to participate.
As things stand now, our official visual impact ranks low among other countries' efforts. The exhibitors in both U.S. pavilions also believe that the Department of Commerce needs to exert more influence with the Messe Frankfurt officials in bringing the American presence at the pavilions to a more forward position in each of their halls, as well as limiting the heights of some of the stands of other exhibitors that have now become virtual walls.
Overall, the changing marketplace, with sourcing versus manufacturing, is forcing some suppliers to rethink the potential opportunities in export.
It doesn't have to be a U.S.-to-abroad shipment to expand the American home textiles impact on the global market.
There is a growing cadre of American suppliers that is figuring out the logistics of "Made in China" or "Made in India" as a viable shipping kickoff to global business.
It's a developing new business model for the 21st century.
We would love your feedback!