Showtime for Showtime
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 7/11/2005 12:00:00 AM
It will be interesting observing the semi-annual Showtime fabric exhibition this week in High Point.
What with the offshore sourcing surge, the dilemma facing cut-and-sew American suppliers about how and with whom to do business — here and abroad — and the vagaries about safeguards and the like, many of the exhibitors and customers are certain to be just a bit uncertain of near-term business strategies.
From a design and product introduction perspective, this Showtime looks to be one with lots of new, exciting stuff. And the interesting thing is that, while it is coming mostly from domestic suppliers, a number of Asian companies that we have previewed have some highly creative and innovative products being launch at Showtime.
On another level, however, there is the question of who will be welcome in whose showrooms. This is an issue that already has confronted the cut-and-sew suppliers in the home textiles world. There are retailers — of significant dollar clout — who basically are not welcomed into certain showrooms during the New York Home Textile Market. Some for obvious reasons, others for reasons less obvious.
It seems that this challenge to suppliers is moving to the fabric world.
Showtime is offering the services of an expert on intellectual property issues during this week's event. It obviously would not be necessary if exhibitors felt comfortable about their fellow exhibitors.
There are those exhibitor companies with affiliates that market manufactured product. Should they be allowed in other fabric showrooms? There are other market shoppers with known ties to Asian suppliers that will be shopping fabric lines.
And then there are the decorative jobbers and the furniture manufacturers — many, if not most of whom, are sourcing directly — that will be going from showroom to showroom in search of the newest and the best at Showtime.
How they will be handled as customers/competitors will be interesting to watch.
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