By Janice Kleinschmidt
So maybe you’re not Nike (one of P2i’s customers) or a military agency (a major protective-fabric customer). You’re still important in the eyes of coating companies—and you can still benefit from their technologies.
“The main advantage for a small business would be to gain access to all of Duro’s technical knowledge derived from many years of U.S. military processing,” says Stephen Bodnar, director of marketing for Duro Textiles LLC. “Some products can be placed into processing with similar products, while others would need to go through our R & D team.”
Steven Wood, CEO of Vintex Inc., says that vertical integration (controlling everything from knitting to coating) allows Vintex to make custom products in very small order sizes, and in as few as five business days.
Buckeye and Excello will provide coating services for orders as small as 1,000 or even 500 yards (with a surcharge). “We can assist customers with quick service and smaller orders,” says president Kevin Lee.
Even P2i, whose clients include K-Swiss, Timberland, and Hi-Tec, as well as Nike, embraces small business owners. “Our business model is highly tailored to the needs of each customer,” says Stephen Coulson, chief technical officer. “Very simply, this will be a blend of machine price along with royalties per product processed, allowing P2i to do business with companies looking at low-volume, high added-value products in addition to high-volume products.” P2i also services one-off processing projects at its U.K. headquarters.
Though Alexium is already working with small companies, Susta foresees opportunities as more RTS systems are placed around the world. “There’s always someone to develop a product,” says Stefan Susta, company director. “Connecting [licensees] with buyers is a good thing for everyone.”