Market Update | Friday, April 08, 2016
By Marc Lewkowitz
Spring has arrived and with it comes the excitement of planting a new American Pima crop along with other less prolific events like the annual ritual of spring cleaning. But this spring, there is something fresh in the air. Supima is re-launching our monthly newsletter featuring a new design and content that will provide a broader view of all that is happening and new in the world of Supima. The newsletter will be published at the beginning of each month and will provide an engaging and informative platform to update our readers with all that is new.
This month, there is already a lot to report on in our first edition. Market Week is a semi-annual event held every March and September in New York showcasing the best manufacturers and brands in the home textile industry. The recent event this past month highlighted renewed demand from the home industry for branded premium fibers with a focus on quality. The interest was broad-based coming from all avenues, both the traditional brick and mortar retailers, on-line and catalog sales, as well as new internet-based brands who are embracing the American Pima story.
One of Supima’s newest brand licensees, Banana Republic, recently launched their Supima dress shirts this spring in two styles incorporating a broad range of woven and print patterns. The shirts are untreated and constructed with fine 120 count yarns for a smooth and crisp feel. Brooks Brothers’ spring Supima campaign is also underway with a significant outdoor and online marketing and promotion effort featuring the tagline “Grown in America. Loved around the world.” The broad collection of Supima products were capped off with the re-launch of the iconic Original Polo® button-down oxford shirt that is cut and sewn proudly in the USA with a focus on details including real mother of pearl buttons; a classic and authentic shirt to make owners proud. Brooks Brothers is also celebrating an amazing milestone this year with 198 years of history. They have been a purveyor of fine clothing to almost every U.S. President and have recently launched a sophisticated women’s line crafted by the designer Zac Posen. From across the Pacific, Fast Retailing’s brand Uniqlo is awash with their spring collection saturated with numerous Supima products in fresh and new colors perfecting their lineup of premium quality basics. Lands’ End has been equally busy in their communications about Supima cotton over the last year with a video featuring Supima, stating “Better Clothing isn’t Sewn, It’s Grown.” Lands’ End emails and catalogs are full of Supima items and have been featuring the collaborative dress shirts and polos.
The story of quality and the focus of brands and retailers on a return to quality offerings is resonating with the consumer. Trends come and go faster than the seasons each year. The foundation of a business and the quality of the basics of their business provide the platform for success and customer satisfaction. An April 1, 2016 story in the Sourcing Journal, entitled “Zara Gap: Stop Fighting for Nickels, Start Collaborating for Dollars” was not an April Fool’s joke. It touched upon the launch of private label brands by Amazon and the research that had already been collected by selling other brands’ products. The data is pretty clear. What sold best were the basics. Basics accounted for 60% of sales, while seasonal items accounted for 30% and the remaining balance of 10% were trend specific products.
Authentication continues to be a major priority with our brand partners and generic labeled products in the marketplace. Supima is aggressively testing Pima and ELS cotton-labeled home and apparel products to continue to raise the level of accountability for those brands and retailers whose products do not correctly identify the content ingredients. This is done to ensure that authentic branded product supplied by reputable suppliers is provided a fair and equitable competition market.
Supima’s work to position American grown Pima cotton – SUPIMA®—as the best cotton fibers in the world has already been immensely successful, but there remains plenty of opportunity on the road ahead. By working with engaged brand partners who are looking for the best quality, we will ensure the return of quality and value to the entire Supima supply chain from the grower through to the final consumer.