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Soaring Costs of Textile Raw Material; How Are You Dealing?

soaring cost of cottonWhenever I get a call from someone looking for fabric, one of the first things they ask is “How much?”…how much do I have to order, how much time until I can get the fabric, how much money to buy the fabric… Lately, the hardest “how much” to answer is the one about money.

When you’re dealing with importing goods, it used to be that you would get a call, you would ask the mill, you would make the sale. Most designers don’t even like to entertain the notion of using a particular fabric without knowing the price first, for fear of falling in love and having their heart broken. But in today’s climate, the fluctuating cost of raw materials like silk and cotton make it almost impossible quote a price for goods on Monday and stick with that quote on Thursday. I can’t figure out how business is supposed to be done this way. Add to that the staggering weakness of the dollar and you’ve got yourself a negative profit margin.

I recently read an article on the soaring cost of cotton, was reminded of the difficulties in the industry and am just curious how you’re adapting. Care to share?

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About Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder and CEO of StartUp FASHION and has been critical in the launch of hundreds of independent designers’ successful fashion businesses. Prior to StartUp FASHION, she founded a private label accessories brand, led operations for an international textile distributor, and assisted with the raw materials sourcing for labels including Jill Stuart, Prabal Gurung, and Isaac Mizrahi.

One comment

  1. You are correct about prices not holding.

    We are a manufactures of home textiles, linens and other haberdasheries. We have recently decided to outsource some of our production, but we cannot even get quotations from mills that last 24 hours. Factories, shall we say are “scared” to offer quotations for fear prices will rise by close of day. They simply refuse to quote for some simple items like curtains, bedding and other soft goods.

    We thought that we could solve this problem by moving orders to less volatile fabrics like polyesters and other man made fibers, however its the same problem.

    As Cotton prices soar, giant retailers are shifting focus on to less expensive fabrics, and as more and more orders shift, supply runs out quick.

    Lucky we carry a 3 month supply of material to tie us over.

    I will be back in 90 days with an update, gulp.

    Ricky