Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - 46

[ MARKETS ] PRODUCT TRENDS
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other considerations like sustainability
have begun to draw attention once
again, with each company taking a
different approach to how they are
addressed. While some concentrate
their efforts on using recycled
materials or participating in upcycling
programs, Mills says his company
is focused on what happens to the
product at the very end of its life cycle.
" We're not a big believer in using
recycled polyester yarn for soft signage, "
says Mills. " The reason is, so much of
the soft signage market is one-and-done
with retail or trade shows. It may have
last season's or last year's information,
so the signage still finds its way to the
landfill, even if it's recycled. "
Instead, according to Mills, Beaver
Paper has started using a technology
called CiCLO®, a sustainable textiles
ingredient in the form of an additive
that is combined with polyester during
melt extrusion at the very beginning of
the fiber-making process.
" CiCLO creates millions of
biodegradable spots in the matrix
of the plastic, where microbes that
naturally exist in certain environments
can break down the materials just like
they do with natural fibers, " explains
Mills. " This additive allows microbes
in the ground to biodegrade the
polyester fabric at an accelerated rate of
five years, instead of the 60 or so years
it would otherwise take for virgin or
recycled polyester fabrics. That's huge,
and we're developing several different
fabrics using this technology, the first
being TexStyles® NatureSeries™ Soft
Knit dye-sub fabric. "
Markets change, sales fundamentals, not so much.
What's it take to successfully sell signage? As the industry grows and
evolves-with vinyl going away, and fabric taking its place-it's more
important than ever to stay on top of what's going on in the industry.
At the same time, according to industry veteran Bill Farquharson, sales
coach, author and owner of an educational platform called the Sales Vault
for those in the graphic arts, it's wise not to forget sales fundamentals.
" Here's two words that are important: how's business? " says
Farquharson. " It's one of the best selling tools you can have. Everyone
wants to talk about themselves. Everybody wants to tell you their story.
'So, how's business?' If you start there and keep the conversation on
their side of the fence, the more you learn. That's a huge part of it. "
" The other part is to mentally shift what you think you do, " he adds.
" If you sell printing or you sell signage, then you will always be in a
priced-based conversation. I had a client who put it this way: we help
our customers find their customers. Those words are gold right there.
It stimulates the conversation. That's Dale Carnegie right there-it's
been around 85 years, but people don't know it. "
Life cycles
Just as there are cycles to life, from
birth through growth and ultimately
to death, industry veterans know there
are cycles to all businesses, and they
spend their careers trying to position
themselves favorably for both feast
and famine. COVID was the rare
global downturn for which there was
no warning and no time to prepare,
referred to in the investing world as
a " black swan event. " And while the
worst of the pandemic is (hopefully)
behind us, its impacts on everything
from the supply chain to the labor
market will continue to ripple through
global markets for years to come,
creating challenges and opportunities
across all industries.
But while much of this industry
seems to be changing all of the time,
some things never do. That company
Farquharson met with a decade ago?
" They're still killing it, " he says.
Jeff Moravec is a freelance writer based
in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
46 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / July 2022
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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022

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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - Cover2
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