HFPA’s President, Keith Sorgeloos, Shares Ideas On Challenges To Come
Keith R. Sorgeloos, president/ceo, Home Source International, Inc. (404-247-9948, homesource-online.com), assumed the presidency of the Home Fashion Products Association (HFPA) on Jan. 1, 2012. Here are his views on issues facing the industry and what he hopes to accomplish during his two-year term as HFPA president.
Q: What are the greatest challenges
facing the home textiles industry?
“Home prices—values need to stabilize sooner rather than later. The worldwide economic challenges could crimp business, especially for home products. Disposable income gains are crucial for long-term growth, as well as the stability of home values, which need to come back to the levels of five years ago for consumers to regain confidence.
“The question is when will that occur: 5, 10, 15 years from now or when? Also, new, differentiated, unique and innovative home textile product must continue to be marketed.
“Challenging, yes; impossible, no.”
Q: What is the biggest change facing suppliers or retailers that is occurring now and may become more significant in the future?
“Pricing fluctuation from the ups and downs faced over the past year or so. Stability could evolve again or not. Time will tell.”
Q: What goals have you set as HFPA president?
“To bring additional members to the HFPA via soliciting international suppliers and overseas manufacturers to join. Any overseas supplier/manufacturer should want to be part of the HFPA. There is a lot to offer for all of ous to be a global family structured through the HFPA.”
Q: Will manufacturing make a big comeback in the U.S. or will the resurgence in “Made in the U.S.” focus on smaller factories and finishing of goods?
“I see smaller, more nimble cut-and-sew suppliers becoming more important in the U.S. I believe the American consumer and retailers are gravitating to U.S-made goods, especially if the quality/price relationship is evident showcasing value, particularly in ‘better goods’.
“Another potential development interesting to watch and see played out in the next five to 10 years is the growth of the middle to upper classes in India and China, and how that may stimulate more domestic production from Indian and Chinese suppliers as they produce more products for their own countries as consumption increases for consumer goods. Will that mean fewer exports from China and India? Will export prices rise further? Will Africa be the next offshore supply base/frontier in the next decade?”