Business

The Future of Textiles: Cotton Board Teams With Sourcing Startup

In a move that could help clothing makers easily find a U.S. raw material suppliers, Cotton Incorporated has launched a partnership with Maker's Row, a startup that simplifies the process of sourcing.

In a move that could help clothing makers easily find U.S. raw material suppliers, Cotton Incorporated has launched a partnership with Maker’s Row, a startup that simplifies the process of sourcing.

Sure, we have social networks for people. But what about social networks for companies looking to manufacture something?

That’s the thinking behind Maker’s Row, a startup that connects product designers with U.S.-based companies that produce raw materials at all stages of the manufacturing process. The concept has picked up some steam since its 2012 launch (including a $1 million funding round last year), but it’s the company’s newest partner that’s got people talking.

Cotton Incorporated—a trade group known for using celebrities such as actress Hayden Panettiere of ABC’s Nashville to promote U.S.-made cotton products—recently partnered with the startup to promote sourcing options. It’s a move Maker’s Row CEO Matthew Burnett called “a natural choice.”

“This partnership provides brands with a deeper understanding of one of the principal materials used in apparel today,” Burnett said in a statement. “With that understanding, brands have a greater opportunity to push the boundaries of their own products with our manufacturers on Maker’s Row.”

The initiative includes more than 20 cotton manufacturers that cover all stages of the process, from raw materials to sample-making to production. It could prove beneficial to both the young company and the U.S. cotton industry—which is the world’s third-largest, employing 10,000 farmers nationwide.

Say It With Video

One aspect of the company’s approach that’s worth keeping an eye on is the way that it uses video. In the case of Cotton Incorporated, Maker’s Row created documentary-style videos featuring cotton farmers:

“What we loved about the Maker’s Row team is their passion and enthusiasm for American manufacturing coupled with the fact that they are great storytellers through their video documentaries,” David Earley, Cotton Incorporated’s senior director of supply chain marketing, said of the initiative in a statement.

Other groups that have collaborated with the company include the city of Newark, New Jersey, and the American Sheep Industry Association, which represents wool producers.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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