Suppliers Walk Heimtextil to Gauge Design, Market
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 1/12/2009 12:00:00 AM
Frankfurt, Germany —
Working with suppliers from around the world and walking the show with key retailers are the prime objectives of American suppliers attending Heimtexil here this week.
For some companies, it is just the business side of Heimtextil that is the lure, while others consider that there still is value in looking at design and trend directions here. As Keith Sorgeloos, ceo of Home Source related, "We work really close with our suppliers at all levels. We see this as an opportunity for planning and finalizing product throughout the year."
Home Source takes its key customers to its suppliers "so we can work on product development together," Sorgeloos explained.
Eight people will be in the Croscill group visiting Heimtextil, according to Carl Legreca, chief merchandising officer. Legreca, who had not been at the show for a few years, will have seven designers along with him.
Meeting with existing suppliers is key to the visit. "I know many of them and some I have yet to meet," having just last year assumed the merchandising role for the entire company, beyond his previous realm in the bath area.
Legreca added, "I'm also looking forward to meeting potential new suppliers during the show."
"I'm scheduled to go — it's always a last-minute thing. But it's basically a show where you say hello to your vendors," remarked Budd Goldman, ceo of Ellery Homestyles. Where Heimtextil previously was a show where supplier and retailer worked the event together, there aren't that many U.S. retailers going. "It's now a business show for us," Goldman said. In earlier years, he noted, "it was a place to see new fabrications and styling. Now it is a place to se suppliers."
Despite the changes in market environment, Goldman also considers it an important venue for working with Kas of Australia, which it represents in the United States.
For Larry Queen, ceo of Intellatex and AQ, Heimtextil represents a quadruple opportunity — shopping suppliers to instigate interest in licensing deals; working with existing suppliers in China, India and Pakistan; analyzing the pricing tempo of the market; and meeting with retailers. But he noted, "A number of suppliers that typically show here from China, India and Pakistan will not be here this year."
On the decorative fabric side, Michael Day, vp of Textile Fabric Associates and Swavelle/Mill Creek noted, "We will be two this time, down from six in '08. Jeff [Thomases, principal of the companies] is a true believer in looking to buy art and sourcing and seeing our Turkish, Chinese and Indian mills. He always wants to look at product for ideas, construction — and just see what's out there. We have 20 appointments, not including art studios."
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