Industry Views - February 2012

Will Textile Manufacturing
Return To The U.S.?


“The global environment is trending in a manner that will likely make it much more feasible to support a broader range of textile manufacturing in the U.S. With labor rates rising quickly in China and their younger generation less interested in working in textile factories, it presents opportunities to return some of those manufacturing jobs to the U.S.”—Donna McLin, general manager, Down Inc.

“I would like to say ‘yes’, but it’s hard to see why someone would invest capital here in a manufacturing facility when there will be a constant battle with overseas manufacturers on the commodity products that have to drive a business. It doesn’t appear that many overseas manufacturers are making money in this business, so it’s hard to imagine that a company can be successful here with the additional costs and regulations that U.S. manufacturing brings. I don’t think the world needs more sheet and towel capacity.”—Jeff Kaufman, president/coo, Avanti Linens

“I think there is going to be more specialization, and smaller niches catering to particular groups. That seems to favor small-scale manufacturing, which, in turn, could favor U.S. companies.”—Kevin O’Brien, owner, Kevin O’Brien Studio

“There may be some increases, but I do not see huge steps in that direction. I think there will be some shifting of manufacturing out of China to other countries across the globe. Most textile manufacturing went overseas long before other home products. With U.S. mills and equipment sold, it would be more of a challenge for textiles to make a broad comeback. Fortunately, there are many companies who have found ways to keep most or all of their production here and we are pleased to work with several of them.”—Sharon Kepley, licensing manager—home furnishings, Woolrich Home

“I do see a business model based on a hybrid technique similar to what has transpired in the automobile industry. There are many advantages for doing so, but the American people are ready and wanting to buy American where it makes sense and it can create American jobs. I have been very imporessed with the youth of our society leading the way in this regard. If handled properly, it will be here to stay, particularly based on what is happening off shore that will provide the ingredients for making U.S. home textile manufacturing a viable entity now and for the future.”—Keith Sorgeloos, president/ceo, Home Source International

“We want to dream and believe. It’s an election year, we need more manufacturing in the U.S. and we all keep talking about jobs. There are also environmental concerns and with increases in the costs of energy resources, it’s so expensive to import goods.”—Michelle Harrison, chief managing officer, Royal River Trading, wholesaler of Cuddledown

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