Thursday, December 9, 2010
The High Cost of Cotton
Thought as quilters, you might be interested in the following excerpt from a recent Marcus Brothers newsletter. A friend of mine forwarded this on and I checked to see about passing the info on to you. This newsletter is sent out to retail shop owners so I believe it would be okay to share. If I find out differently, it will be removed immediately. As a quilt shop owner in another life, I remember the days when cotton was $6.00 a yard and we were very nervous about how customers would react. In 2010 the price on the end of that beautiful fabric bolt has risen to $10.00 and beyond. A quality spool of 100% cotton thread is now $7 and up. Where are we headed as quilters in 2011? Read on...
" What is causing the price increases? First, there is a worldwide cotton shortage, now in its second year. The situation was significantly compounded by the flooding in Pakistan, which decimated the local cotton crops. Cotton prices are up over 100% from this time last year. Additionally, there are labor shortages, dollar devaluations and a list of global economic conditions in general; together, these affect the pricing on all products coming out of China. Not only has this created a shortage of greige goods for printing in China, but adversely affected the cost of the greige goods available worldwide. While we do print in Korea, the majority of the greige comes from China.
Looking ahead, what can we expect? We have experienced shortages in the past, but this particular set of conditions is like no other we have ever experienced in our 100-year history. In addition, greed and corruption are fueling extreme price fluctuations, as greige goods producers hold out for the best price. This cannot last forever, and hopefully the market will stabilize in the first quarter of 2011. The good news is that we are just now hearing that the cost of cotton is going down. However, these lower prices will likely not be reflected in the market for another six to nine months; as with any commodity, cotton costs rise faster than they fall. The challenge is that we must produce goods at today's pricing. It will be a difficult 2011 for all of us, both within the industry and beyond." (Marcus Brothers Fabrics)
One of my first thoughts upon reading this was...as exquisite as our quilting fabrics are that come from overseas - and those countries do a fabulous job in quality cotton for quilting...what is holding the US back in reestablishing their own market? Most of our long ago cotton plantations no longer exist and our mills shut down quite a while back. Yes, we still grow cotton in this country, but with all the improved technology at our fingertips, why not increase cotton field production, reopen some of those mills with improved machinery and working conditions and put our people back to work. I don't know about you, but even my clothing preference has always been for 100% cotton items and I have very strong feelings about shopping for my quilt fabric - it must come from those hardworking, creative independent quilt shops. Maybe by the Fall 2011 Quilt Market in Houston, we can hope to see a friendlier price trend. Making a quilt now requires much more additional planning and budgeting. Remember those old Cotton Industry commericals? For quilters, Cotton is the Fabric of Our Lives!
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Have a good weekend.
And keep on quilting.