Decisions, decisions, decisions. If you only knew how many places fabric is manufactured. For our new Tehani pareo design we have several options to choose from. We decided to work with a company we used to print the Heiva Hibiscus pareos. It was a fairly easy decision as we work with the company all the time. There are competitors with comparable prices but it always helps to work with the same company for consistency. Building those relationships of trust is a key factor. From there you can also build a credit history with the company and work on terms that will benefit in the long run.
We have decided to use the 100% cotton broadcloth. This is a change from our Heiva Hibiscus fabric. It's lighter and drapes more freely. It has a feel between the high end rayon and our heavy duty cotton sheeting. Once we decided on the fabric, we had the option to pick where it would be printed. The fabric company has textile plants in Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Japan and specializes in Hawaiian and Polynesian prints. We were given samples of the cotton broadcloth from each of the plants and interestingly enough there were subtle differences in the feel of each. China seemed to be ever so slightly lighter in weight which might account for the lower price. Indonesia had prints that were a more softer feel. Malaysia seems to use more ink but that could be just the fabric sample we received. Which leaves Japan with a more nicer sheen on the end product.
So which one did we choose? We chose Japan. Although not quite as soft as Indonesia, it definitely competes. Quality is great and an added bonus is that we don't have to print as much yardage per color. The usual minimum is 1000 yards per color. The Japanese however only require 600 yards per color. This translates into more colors that we are able to offer. Another factor we considered is the chance of piracy. The other countries are notorious for piracy. Although we've never had that problem and the company we work with has strict control, you never know if it could happen. It seems less likely to happen in Japan.
All these factors played into our decision and we think it is in our best interest and our customers best interest to proceed with our fabric production in Japan. We'd love to print in the USA but costs seem prohibitive. Although, we admit we haven't researched it thoroughly. So if there is a competitive American fabric textile company out there, we'd love to explore the option.