A dazzling duo: indoor fabrics and lighting

January 1, 2019

Fabrics have always been an essential component in commercial interior spaces. But, historically, their inclusion has been limited to more conventional roles, such as draperies and curtains, or flexible room dividers. With some exceptions, fabrics were not intended to serve as a focus in and of themselves. That has changed—decidedly. Fabrics are now looked to …

The development of the membrane structure industry in China

In past decades, with the rapid development of the Chinese economy, noticeable progress has been made for both theoretical research and practical applications of spatial structures in China. New forms of shell and spatial structures have been used in sports facilities, convention and exhibition centers, hangars, manufacturing plants and warehouses. Membrane structures, with the unique …

2018 OFPANZ Awards for Excellence winners

Twelve projects were recognized as winners of the 2018 Awards for Excellence competition hosted by The Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ). The Awards for Excellence offers OFPANZ members a chance to showcase design excellence, technical skills and innovation to other members and the industry. Entries are judged by appearance/workmanship, complexity, design/innovation, and …

Seeing is believing: make sure your website and social media strategies are smart, engaging, informative, and visually appealing

December 1, 2018

Perhaps your company relies on good old-fashioned word-of-mouth publicity and steers clear of social media. Maybe your marketing efforts emphasize trade shows and real-world connections, quite successfully, rather than online communications. But you did just update your website … five years ago. Things have changed. Now your customers all have a phone in their hands, …

Fringe benefits benefit employers and employees

Whether it’s a result of a booming economy, tighter immigration laws or an educational system gone astray, finding qualified job applicants has become increasingly more difficult for those in the specialty fabrics industry. How can small businesses compete for badly needed, qualified workers? Thanks to our unique tax laws, every business can afford to offer …

Growth in the inflatables market is coming from safety and protection

Everybody knows about inflatables. They’re the bouncy houses rented for kids’ birthday parties, or the big blow-up gorilla that the local car dealership uses to attract customers. The real growth in the use of inflatable technology, however, is in much more serious (and practical) applications—even if they aren’t nearly as visible to most of us. …

A faster path to market through industry dialogue and profitable partnerships

If innovation is a key to growth and profitability because of the differentiation it can offer in our broadly commoditized industrial fabrics industry—one that for decades has been under strong pricing pressure from low-cost imports—then R&D is an essential component of a company’s toolbox for financial success. My experience, however, coincides with the observation of …

Strategies for how and when to grow your company

November 1, 2018

They’re called “growing pains” for a reason. You’ve put in the blood, sweat and tears (and a few bucks) necessary to make your business a success. You’ve made your customers happy, and they’ve told their friends. There’s never been enough time in the day, but now … it’s getting tough to manage it all. It’s …

To sew or to seal: expanding the toolbox

To sew or to seal is a question that some fabricators have answered by gearing their offerings toward products that utilize either the former or the latter, but not both. While this kind of specialization can be a viable and lucrative strategy, expanding the toolbox to incorporate both sewing and sealing can often prove even …

Safety Components puts its business acumen to work for charity

Following the events of 9/11, Joey Underwood, senior vice president of Safety Components in Greenville, S.C., witnessed several neighborhood efforts to raise money for families of the fallen firefighters in New York City. “I remember driving past a bake sale and thinking, ‘We’re in that business—we should do something, too,” he says. Safety Components develops …