Fabric industry

Do you think the textile industry will change overnight? Not so fast

Vice-president of Fabricut David Klaristenfeld has spent two busy decades in the fabric industry, but 2019 could be the most eventful year yet. This summer, his company acquired the beloved designer label Clarence House, and Klaristenfeld is in the middle of a crash course to work at the top of the market, where fabrics cost hundreds of dollars a yard and bathrooms cost. multi-line exposure dominate the market. perch.

David KlaristenfeldCourtesy of Fabricut

“It’s a whole new world,” he told the host Dennis scully in the last episode of the Home affairs podcast (sponsored by Chairish and Google).

Acquisition involves many challenges, both practical and cultural. But Klaristenfeld was invigorated by the prospect of working on an iconic American brand and with a legendary Creative Director, Kazumi yoshida. In a high-profile conversation, he also discusses the general state of the fabric world, the difficult economics of sampling, and why he thinks, despite much noise, that the industry is not. not change as much as some might think.

Below, listen to the episode and check out some takeaways. If you like what you hear, subscribe (free) to the podcast on Apple podcasts.

EDITING IS THE KEY
When Klaristenfeld came to Fabricut 16 years ago, he found himself saying the same thing over and over again: “You put on too much damn product. He has worked on shrinking Fabricut lines over the years and has taken a similar approach to Clarence House, taking the collection from 7,500 SKUs to 1,700 SKUs. “We managed to piss off some people; we feel like we’re able to rebuild it in a much better place from that starting point. … We pay much more attention to the amount of product we take out, making sure there is a story behind what [we’re] bring out and why.

PARTNERSHIPS ARE EVERYTHING
One of Klaristenfeld’s first big decisions with Clarence House was to take down third-party websites that were selling to the public. The reason was that the brand was still a designer brand and would do their best through their traditional sales channels like multi-line showrooms. But the relationship between Fabricut and the Kneedler Reapers of the world took a long time, and there was some cultural confusion in the beginning. For example, Fabricut requires many of its customers to complete a credit application, which is not common in the world of high-end multi-lines. Rather than pushing the company’s line forward, Klaristenfeld has worked hard to make Fabricut’s process work for showrooms, and he sees a side benefit:

“Not only will this help us in our relations with [high-end multilines that stock Clarence House], this will help us in our relationship with all our agents across the country for Fabricut. … We are learning how to work better with agent showrooms through Clarence House, and I think that will help us with all of our other brands as well. We need them to stay in business. Otherwise, there is no other way for us to show our other fabrics in the rest of the country.

IT’S STILL 2008
We all know what can happen when a large textile company is struggling with debt. Klaristenfeld, a former bankruptcy lawyer, emphasizes how important it was for Fabricut to operate debt-free. The mindset at the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based business is this: Act like it’s a recession, all the time. “The people who survive are the ones who have run their businesses as if it was all in 2008,” he says. “You want to be slim and able to maneuver through tough times. … Managing your debt is huge – if you can’t make that payment to the bank, it doesn’t matter what your sales are.