Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
By: Bruce S. Berton , July 2008


Consultants Corner News Consulting Fashion Manufacturing ClothingShoe Manufacturer  □



By:  Bruce S. Berton

By any definition, we are in difficult times globally.

Politics, Mother Nature, economic slowdowns, gloom and doom, terrorists, oil and food prices, environmentalist attitudes I could go ON and ON! Please take the time to "smell the roses".  Take inventory of what is positive, and enjoy life. I am not poet or anyone of great wisdom, but I see that the population of the world growing. As far as the textile/apparel industries go, most of the world's population is still wearing clothing so we are  in a growing industry and "the glass is half full!"

There is a story about a large shoe manufacturer who sends their top sales representative to Africa to sell their shoes. Immediately after arrival, the sales representative tells the home office that he is coming home because most of the population does not wear shoes.

Another shoe manufacturer sends their newest, un-experienced sales representative to Africa. He tells the home office to send a large inventory of shoes as soon as possible, because there are more people to sell shoes to than they can ever supply!

From which end of the telescope are you planning to conduct your business 

Are you able to see the forest through the trees? True, you must look inward to your own operations first, and review all aspects of your infrastructure.  Please careful not to cut off the so-called HEAD of the SNAKE, as SALES are the KEY to SUCCESS. You may desire to change the methodology to create sales, or to change the sales representatives themselves, but without sales and marketing you will have nothing.

Look to your focused market and see where it can be expanded in FASHION, NEW CONCEPTS, and CREATIVITY. Playing it safe and being ultra conservative will usually result in not staying the course. You must develop EXCITEMENT about your product at all levels, so that you create a demand and become recognized in the marketplace. Traditional methods may not be the answer.

Those of you private label manufacturers now must source new ideas and new fashion product ideas for your potential buyers to let them know you are up to date and are ready to assist in the styling as well as the manufacturing of their ideas.

You must sell not only your production capabilities but also your understanding of customer service, your comprehension of the buyers needs, your labor compliance programs, enhancing your relationships with the buyers directly, and much more. You must review your financial capabilities in order for you to be competitive in the global market.

We are now half way through 2008, with most firms ready to show their lines for Spring 2009 this August, September, and October for January, February, and March delivery. Will you be part of this production cycle?

My understanding is that the Indian government is allowing the importation of cotton, removing high tariffs, and people that source are looking for alternatives to China production.

In my book, these are all positives towards increasing India in textile/apparel export. Therefore, I say "The Glass is Half Full".

Good luck, and may your production be profitable.

Bruce S. Berton is a business and management consultant with Stonefield Josephson, Inc., a leading regional consulting and accounting firm with offices in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Mexico City. The information in this column is of a general nature.  Readers inquiries are welcome; and may be sent to Bruce Berton, at Stonefield Josephson, Inc., 2049 Century Park East Suite 400 Los Angeles, California 90067 310-432-7437 Direct
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