Hello Studioe Fans!
I am Scott Fortunoff, the new president and sales manager of Studioe Fabrics.
In light of my new role at Studioe, I wanted to start a new blog installment called “Tales of a Fourth Generation Textile Executive.” During the year, I plan to fill you in on a variety of subjects and tales related to the over-the-counter textile market. I hope that you will find the blog to be unique, insightful and interesting. Please feel free to ask questions and make comments. I will do my best to answer your questions in a timely fashion.
TALES OF A FOURTH GENERATION TEXTILE EXECUTIVE
Blog #1, Part A: Where Did This Fabric Come From?
PART 1: CHINA TO KOREA, KOREA TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK TO CHARLESTON
As I travel more and more with the Studioe sales reps showing the Studioe lines and meeting with quilt shop owners around the US, there are a couple of questions that I continue to hear over and over again:
“How far does the fabric travel to finally get onto my store shelf?”
“What does your warehouse look like?”
“How does the fabric get double and rolled onto the bolt?”
Wonder no more! In this blog, I will answer those questions and much more, as we follow the fabric along it’s path to your door.
In order to get the process going, you must have greige goods, actually pronounced “gray” (raw fabric before dyeing or bleaching). The greige goods come from many different mills, but one in particular that we often use is the Wei Chaw Mill near Shanghai, China (see map of Shanghai below).
MAP OF SHANGHAI AREA
The greige goods travel by boat in bale packing (see image below) and approximately 100,000 yards fit into a full container.
BALES OF COTTON
It takes about one week for the greige goods to reach the Pusan Port in Korea (see image below). Once reaching the port, the greige goods are unloaded from the containers and cleared through customs. The mills must pay a 10% duty in order for the greige goods to be released.
PORT OF PUSAN, KOREA
At this point, the greige goods are brought, by container truck, to the printing plant in Daegu, Korea (see map below). This takes approximately four hours. It’s now been about 7-10 days since the greige goods have been acquired and they finally arrive at the printing plant. First, the greige goods go through a bleaching process in order to get the fabric to a consistent form….all white and nice without any cotton seed or dirt or blemishes.
After the bleaching is complete, the goods dry and then they are prepared to be printed. The mill in Daegu uses both flat bed and rotary machine printing. There are too many details to go into, so take my word that this is an intense process of color matching, press alignment, and all the rest of the inner workings that goes on to make a great print. After printing, the goods are inspected, and any part of the fabric with design or thread flaws are cut out of the lot. The printed fabric then gets rolled on to larger tubes (a.k.a. rot or rolled on tubes). After the rolls are all prepared, they are placed in plastic bags and loaded on to the pallets (see photo below).
These rolls can range from 60-250 yards depending on the mill and customer requests. Our company prefers larger rolls because then we end up with fewer short pieces. For example, if the roll is 75 yards and we are cutting 15 yard pieces, we would hope to get 5 bolts. But if there is a seam that has to be cut out, we end up with 4 good/standard bolts and one odd sized, non-standard bolt. On the other hand, if the roll is 250 yards, we are much more likely to end up with around 16 standard bolts which is a much better result.
Now that the fabric is palletized, it needs to take the four hour trip back to the Port of Pusan, by container truck, and from there the container needs to be loaded on to a ship to the U.S. The quantity of fabric will determine how the goods are to be shipped. If we have about 70,000 yards or less to ship, the goods would have to travel LCL (less than a container load). If it is LCL, our goods may be mixed with another fabric vendor’s goods. On the other hand, if we have 80,000 yards to ship, that quantity can go by itself in our own 20 foot container. Moreover, if we have 130,000 to 140,000 yards, that can go in a 40 foot container (see below).
20 FOOT CONTAINER or 40 FOOT CONTAINER
We prefer to have a full container because that way we can control our own destiny, like the timing, port of entry, type of carrier and so on. However, with LCL, we are at the mercy of someone else. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that we have enough fabric to fill a full container, but we try our best as we like to have control.
All aboard to the U.S. of A.! Then, a mere 20-25 days later the boat arrives at the Port of New York. From the Port of New York, the goods can travel in any of the following ways to Charleston, South Carolina:
By boat to Charleston, by truck to Charleston, by boat to Atlanta and then Charleston, or by truck to Atlanta and then Charleston.
However the fabric gets to Charleston, it finally gets cleared through customs and then travels by truck to Seneca, South Carolina. Welcome to SNS SOUTH!
To be Continued…..