Note: Each edition of our newsletter, SEAMS features one of our esteemed members. In this edition of SEAMS Member Spotlight, California Textile Group is highlighted. Aimee Alparce, the company’s production manager with more than 25 years in the textile industry, answers our questions. This came out June 2022 edition.

Company headquarters: Los Angeles

Year founded: 2008

Primary specialties: Circular knits made in USA

Number of employees / locations: Eight at Corporate Office, 60-100 subcontractors at knitting and dye facility in Los Angeles

Countries served: U.S., Mexico, Canada, China, Vietnam, Turkey

Company’s history and current ownership: “California Textile Group is a second-generation, family-owned textile company with experience working with the highest requirements of customers and industries, including Costco, Macy's, Walmart, government programs and high-end brands. We are a woman-owned small business headed by Dalia Omrany, President, who also is in charge of finances. Bobby Omrany is Vice President and is in charge of sales and day-to-day operations. While other textile companies did not survive the Great Recession and pandemic, California Textile Group’s success is due to its creativity, quality and customer loyalty.”

Current challenges and opportunities: “Current challenges are that the market is not stable. Yarn prices have gone up so much due to limited supply, so to the price of fabric has increased dramatically. Labor costs and material costs in knitting and dyeing also increased, which translated to higher pricing. For imports, longer delivery due to port delays continue to plague the market. “Opportunities opened up for Made in USA fabrics due to faster and reliable turnaround time. The shift to made in USA fabric is evident as people saw the value of having it manufactured locally. Because of the pandemic, buyers are making a conscious effort to try to end dependency on imported fabric.”

Company’s differentiators – internally and externally: “The company culture is family oriented. We have a sense of family since our employees have been working for us for over 20 years. We saw each other’s children grow before our eyes and we celebrate each other’s birthdays. We promote work/home balance, and everyone is able to enjoy their family after work. Everyone feels secure in their job. “Customer satisfaction is one of the key factors and differentiators to our longevity in the market. We are a customer-centered company and boast of a quick response time. Customer retention and referrals are testaments to our success. We have longstanding relationship with our manufacturing EMPOWERING THE MADE IN AMERICA MOVEMENT partners/suppliers. We expect first quality in fabric we produce, and they share the same core values we have. “All lots that we ship are inspected. We back our fabric so if there are quality issues, we work with customers after sale.”

How your company transitioned products and services during the pandemic” During the pandemic, while people were quarantined at home, we were able to provide fabrics to customers who wanted to make face masks and PPE. We also produced face masks and opened a company LAMADEMASK to make masks accessible to all. We also were a subcontractor for DOW for the DLA and made Level 2 isolation gowns.”

Biggest challenges and lessons learned during the COVID-19 crisis” “The biggest challenge was the price of cotton increased a lot, and eventually all yarn prices became very expensive. Customers were not used to the pricing we were offering. Port delays were also a challenge leading to fabric delivery delays for imports. Trucking also was limited and cost was higher. “We learned during COVID-19 that textiles has an important role and contribution to the world. Textiles is not just fashion but offers protection and function. We learned that we are an essential business and what we do matters.”

The pandemic aside, how the company adapted over the last few years to remain competitive, especially as a lot of textile/apparel/sewn production moved offshore: “Because we are an order-based company, we didn’t have excess inventory, so our company stayed healthy. We saw an increased desire to open new businesses that are Made in USA and made of sustainable material. To remain competitive, we started importing yarn ourselves so that we can lower pricing to customers. We already know customer satisfaction is the key to our success, so we just have to continue what we are doing and become better.”

Thoughts on the Made-in-America movement and strategy to remain competitive in the U.S. and this hemisphere? “Made in America is good for manufacturing since it will create more jobs in USA. Unfortunately, we are still dependent on imported raw materials so we cannot really be 100% made in USA. Our strategy has always been to listen to what the customer needs. Because we are an order-based company, we ask customers if they want domestic or imported fabric and we are able to cater to their request. We remain flexible and open to market trends.”

Biggest challenges and opportunities for manufacturing in the USA as well as the Western hemisphere? “The biggest challenge still is supply chain issues and pricing. If yarn is affordable and readily available, we can knit and dye and turn around in two to three weeks. Our challenge is the customers right now are shocked with the prices and no one really knows what will happen.”

Business outlook for the company for the foreseeable future: “The business outlook is good. We have survived pandemics, and things can only be better. EMPOWERING THE MADE IN AMERICA MOVEMENT And as long as we continue to make quality fabrics and build new production lines, we will be successful.

Your opinion on business conditions, the health of the apparel/textile/sewn products industry markets you serve and what will make the company successful in this environment: “No one really knows, and every day is a new day. The health of the textile/apparel industry, although fragile, will bounce back. What we offer is an essential product. We offer fabrics for health and for fashion. “California Textile Group also offers sustainable fabrics aside from our regular line. Our proposition is buy Made in USA, and buy sustainable – good for the environment and good for the country.”

What attracted you to join SEAMS? “We are a Made in USA company, and we want buyers to know we exist – that there is a textile company in Los Angeles that can produce custom fabrics, and SEAMS raises our profile.