Global demand for cotton and cotton products is experiencing an upturn, along with a need to refill fiber and textile pipelines worldwide. It’s a fact that the world needs more cotton fiber, particularly in rapidly developing economies like China and India. Cotton Council International (CCI) is committed to working with its partners and licensees throughout the supply chain to continue strengthening demand for cotton and U.S. cotton products worldwide.
Nearly 450 leaders from throughout the global cotton industry converged in California for the 6th biennial Sourcing USA Summit.
The first step to increasing overall demand for U.S. cotton is to instill in spinners an understanding of the benefits of sourcing cotton fiber from the United States, and to increase demand for U.S. cotton throughout the textile and apparel supply chain. CCI conducted several key events to illustrate the benefits of sourcing U.S. cotton fiber:
Nearly 450 leaders from throughout the global cotton industry converged in California for the sixth biennial Sourcing USA Summit. It provided a unique platform for executives in the cotton production, textile and export industries to build relationships and exchange information.
- The third COTTON USA Cotton School in China gathered mills and manufacturers in China’s textile and apparel industry to learn about a wide variety of topics on U.S. cotton. The exit survey indicated most attendees planned to purchase more U.S. cotton. Export sales numbers support this sales uptick.
- Japanese retailers and trading companies toured the U.S. Cotton Belt to learn about the benefits of U.S. cotton fiber in finished apparel during the COTTON USA Fiber Education Tour.
- The COTTON USA Special Trade Mission from Bangladesh and Pakistan brought a delegation to meet key industry officials across the U.S. Cotton Belt.
U.S.-Made Textile Promotions
At the next step in the supply chain, CCI promotes U.S. cotton yarns and textiles through its COTTON USA Sourcing Program. That Program develops business relationships throughout the cotton textile and apparel chain with the objective of increasing exports to the Western Hemisphere. Eleven U.S. mills participated in the Sourcing Program in 2010. Among highlights:
- The COTTON USA Western Hemisphere Trade Fair in Mexico increased business for U.S. cotton yarn and fabric exports. More than 700 individual meetings were arranged between buyers and sellers in the U.S.-Central America-Andean textile and apparel supply chain.
- Eight U.S. cotton producers joined a COTTON USA delegation to Latin America to reinforce the U.S. cotton industry’s commitment to supplying this region with quality cotton fiber and value added products.
- A Sourcing Program delegation visited Korea to enhance relationships between U.S. mills and Korean garment manufacturers with operations in Central America.
- At trade shows including Colombiatex, Colombiamoda and Peru Moda, CCI highlighted the benefits of U.S. cotton and cotton products and featured product samples from U.S. mills.
- Nine U.S. textile mills were showcased as part of the Apparel Sourcing Show in Guatemala City. CCI also conducted an event with Korean textile and garment makers in an effort to strengthen the relationships between U.S. mills and the Korean business community in Central America.
- Textile/garment manufacturers from Mexico, the United States, Colombia and Peru exhibited their woven/knit fabrics and garments to domestic buyers at the Cotton Forum in Mexico City.
At trade shows, including this Colombiatex event in Colombia, South America, CCI highlighted the benefits of U.S. cotton and cotton products.
Supply Chain Marketing
The COTTON USA Supply Chain Marketing (SCM) program works forward from the spinner/weaver to facilitate business relationships and information exchange between the U.S. cotton-rich textile industry and garment manufacturing companies worldwide. The SCM Program sponsors a variety of activities to increase awareness of COTTON USA suppliers and build closer relationships between the textile and apparel businesses. Among examples in 2010 were:
- The fifth COTTON USA Buyers Tour to China enabled brands and retailers to conveniently explore the advantages of sourcing U.S. cotton-rich garments from the strong textile economies across China and greater Asia.
- International buyers traveled to Bangladesh to meet COTTON USAleading Bangladeshi suppliers of U.S. cotton-rich garments. Participating brands and retailers met with 17 COTTON USA licensees and visited six factories.
- COTTON USA promoted U.S. cotton at trade shows across Europe, including Heimtextil, Texworld, Premiere Vision and EVTEKS.
- A diverse crowd of companies visited CCI’s booth at the Intertextile Shanghai home and apparel shows to inquire about the COTTON USA licensing program.
- At the COTTON USA Yarn Buyers Tour to Thailand, 14 of that country’s leading spinning companies that are key customers of U.S. cotton welcomed yarn buyers from across Asia to Thailand in a networking event aimed at creating new markets for U.S. cotton-rich yarns.
Cotton USA Mark Licensing and Promotion
At the crucial endpoint of the supply chain, consumer demand helps pull more U.S. cotton through the system. CCI’s COTTON USA Mark licensing and promotion program favorably positions U.S. cotton with consumers and counts 510 companies as licensees. Some key COTTON USA promotional events during 2010 were:
CCI President Wally Darneille spoke at CCI-sponsored Cotton Day celebrations in Northeast Asia and Thailand that highlighted the benefits of the world’s favorite fiber.
- CCI China & Hong Kong’s “Naturally in Love” campaign promoted fashionable, natural U.S. cotton and engaged consumers, COTTON USA licensee brands and the media
- CCI sponsored Cotton Day celebrations across Northeast Asia as well as Thailand. The consumer and trade events highlighted the benefits of the world’s favorite fiber through COTTON USA Mark branded consumer events and executive interviews.
- COTTON USA garnered attention from the sponsorship of two popular fashion designers during London Fashion Week: Richard Nicoll and Louise Gray.
- The COTTON USA Design Challenge in Thailand created awareness among young designers that 100 percent cotton fabrics can be used as a raw material for fashion apparel. The winning dresses were to be featured on the cover and in a 20-page fashion spread of Praew magazine.
- A COTTON USA promotion in Colombia with Amacenes Exito led to sales of U.S. cotton children’s wear representing 7,300 bales of U.S. cotton.
- CCI Japan showcased the benefits of the COTTON USA Mark and U.S. cotton in a variety of media and had 250 million consumer impressions.
- CCI Taiwan sponsored the 21st Golden Melody Awards in Taipei. Consumers received tickets to the show by purchasing COTTON USA products.
Generic Cotton Promotion
In addition to COTTON USA-branded promotions, CCI conducted several generic promotions of cotton to instill a preference in consumers:
- Season 2 of the televised “Let’s Design” fashion competition in India was part of CCI’s “Cool with Cotton,” a campaign that generates awareness about cotton/uses benefits in India.
- The Cotton-Beyond Your Imagination campaign in China included “A Cool Life with Cotton” cotton field exhibition in Guangzhou and a cotton diary contest to encourage consumer interaction with cotton.
- A generic promotion in Seoul strengthened awareness of high quality U.S. cotton by encouraging Korean consumers to find the COTTON USA Mark in advertising, retail, point-of-purchase displays and licensed products.
The variety of promotions, events and advertising that CCI carries out on an ongoing basis calls attention to the positive qualities of U.S. cotton. Building demand and increasing exports of U.S. cotton and cotton products mandate a continuation of these targeted promotion efforts.
CCI continued to receive support from: the National Cotton Council; Cotton Incorporated; the American Cotton Shippers Association; the American Cotton Marketing Cooperatives; the Committee for Cotton Research; the Cotton Foundation; the National Cottonseed Products Association; ICE Futures U.S.; Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.; San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association; Southern Cotton Growers, Inc.; Supima; USDA; U.S. cotton yarn and textile manufacturers; and COTTON USA Mark licensees around the world.