Outdoor Retailer – January
Denver was as welcoming as ever with mild temperatures and dazzling sunshine. For a New Englander at the end of January, this area is always a pleasure to visit. With the snowcapped mountains in the distance, the mood was right for the third Winter Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show being held in this city. The Colorado Convention Center was packed full of venders on three levels eager to display the newest innovations in the outdoor garment and equipment industry. And we were there.
Tucked into our “usual” booth on the enormous main show floor amid much larger displays and flashier merchandise, there we were…highlighting wool. One of the oldest fibers used by man. The outdoor world continues to try to dream up fibers that insulate, absorb moisture, resist flame, and is durable, non-allergenic, and comfortable. Wool continues to pass the test of time, checking off all these boxes naturally. Fashionable, sustainable, affordable and easily sourced in the USA. Our booth highlighted our newest wool fabrics, both conventional knits and high pile knits, as well as our new color pallet developed for the wool line. Potential customers and browsers alike could not resist the urge to touch these inviting fabrics.
We also displayed some brand new 100% Shaniko wool fabrics made in partnership with The Shaniko Wool Company of Oregon (shanikowoolcompany.com). This collection of ranches has committed to a fully traceable and sustainable wool fiber brand that complies with the Responsible Wool Standard (responsiblewool.org). This is a voluntary standard that addresses the welfare of the sheep as well as the land they graze on. We currently have a limited supply of Shaniko wool samples. This legacy fiber is available upon request for any customer interested in pursuing this avenue of dedication in their products. The best part of our relationship with Shaniko? Its founder, Jeanne Carver. We had the pleasure of seeing her again at the show and she is as amazing and feisty as ever. Her passion for her ranch and her animals is beyond inspiring.
While there is always an interest in woolens, we had a full representation of all of Drapers’ knit capabilities on display. Bethany, our safety products manager, has been full steam ahead working with old and new customers developing custom blends using the newest protective fibers on the market. Kristin continues experimenting with new utilitarian products that develop the use of recycled fibers and natural fibers as well as industry staples. We even had some buffalo on our sample rack this year! While these shows can be big and splashy, there is plenty of business for quiet little mills. The fun is you never know what ideas visitors are going to present to you. And you never know just how you might address their fabric needs until you hear their story. And then the science and creativity begin.
The three-day show was a great success. We were a crew of 4 who spoke to hundreds of people and came home with the contacts of many established business and entrepreneurs asking for more information about Draper capabilities and requesting swatches. Two months after the show we continue working with very active partners requesting sample yardages, testing fabrics, developing prototypes, and even visiting our facility. It is an amazing amount of development.
The long hours and behind the scene show hassles are so worth the privilege of listening to peoples’ passions. Hearing the enthusiasm as they connect with the textures and colors of the fabrics in our booth. Exchanging information and promises to call and visit. This is the motivation behind the Draper development team to keep things fresh and relevant. Solving problems with fabric.
American Brush Manufacturer’s Association (ABMA) – March
The ABMA 2020 Convention in St. Petersburg, FL was another success!
We survived coronavirus and so far we are aware of no one being subsequently affected.
We had 172 registered delegates. Small but mighty!
ABMA has redesigned its Annual Meeting to incorporate Face 2 Face, instead of having a “booth” where there is the chance you miss people going by or you get visitors in fits and spurts, the Face 2 Face format allows you and your customers (and potential customers) a scheduled time to meet with you uninterrupted. It has been an overwhelming success!
ABMA is the industry place for networking
Mark your calendars now for the 104th ABMA 2021 Annual Convention
March 17-20, 2021
Hotel Del Coronado
Coronado (San Diego), CA
FDIC and NSC 2020
The Covid 19 outbreak, has made many changes to the trade show schedule, however, that was not the deciding factor for whether Bethany would attend FDIC or NSC this year. Even before the novel coronavirus forced the rescheduling of FDIC and so many other events, she wasn’t going to attend either of these shows in 2020. While she always enjoys seeing Draper’s customers and suppliers and the latest product introductions, it’s not possible to get to every relevant trade show in a calendar year. Draper’s approach has been and will continue to be, that one of us will walk shows like FDIC, NSC and other market specific trade shows on an every other or every 3 years basis. Of course, that doesn’t mean we aren’t keeping up with the innovations happening. We are always reviewing the latest technology being introduced for fibers, yarns, fabric constructions and finishing. As with many others in these market spaces, we’ve focused in the last year or so on transitioning the DWR we use to a fluorine free one. This was a collaboration with one of our customers in the Fire Service market and while it required a lot of trial and error, we are proud to say we found a solution that meets both our and the customer’s requirements.
Just because Bethany won’t be walking the aisles at these two shows, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to see you. We value the opportunity to sit down face to face with existing and new customers. We love having folks visit the mill and showing off all the capabilities we have under one roof. Or, she is happy to visit you in your location if that works better. Once the current situation related to the Coronavirus is better understood and life has begun to return to normal, please call or send Bethany an e-mail and we’ll get a meeting on the schedule. In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.