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Paige Mullis
Paige Mullis
Director of Concept Development

Interview with Paige Mullis

Infrastructure to handle demands of techtextile production slowly improving in India

Paige Mullis discusses the expansion plans of Glen Raven Inc in India, and India as a manufacturing hub with Mary Christine Joy. Glen Raven Inc is one of the leading global providers of high performance fabrics across a wide variety of residential, commercial, and industrial applications. It is renowned for its high performance fabrics for various industries including automotive, petrochemicals, construction, mining, logistics, geosynthetics, filtration and protective fabrics. It serves professionals ranging from the police officers, military personnel, fire fighters, etc. The company's manufacturing facilities are spread across three continents, including North America, Europe, and Asia. It sells products in over 100 countries. Its brands such as Sunbrella and Dickson fabrics are used for residential and commercial awnings, upholstery, outdoor furniture, and boating. Paige Mullis has been serving as the director of concept development for Glen Raven Inc since 2011. It has been almost 3 years and a half years now, and her role has remained creative as well as intellectual in the company. She was promoted to the current position from a junior position in the company gradually during the initial stages of her career. She has over 20 years of experience in the textile industry, and is renowned in the industry circle for her market knowledge.

TT: What are the limitations that the country currently faces in terms of sourcing manufacturing work for technical textiles from the eyes of a foreign investor?

Obviously, there are many challenges to doing business in India as a foreigner. We have had a very successful experience with our joint venture partners in Strata Geosystems India, which is the leading manufacturer of geosynthetics in India dealing with soil reinforcement in roadway and retaining wall applications. We started this company from a zero base in 2004, and it is now an industry powerhouse. We not only manufacture and install our products and designs throughout India, we are also exporting to more than a dozen countries on 5 continents. So we see many future possibilities for enjoying similar success with other technical textiles. It is just a matter of timing.

TT: Glen Raven Inc is planning to expand its operations in India. Can you explain a bit about your expansion plans?

We are only exploring the technical textile market in India at this time, and bringing our portable Concept Gallery to Mumbai for a few days through our subsidiary Strata Geo systems India Pvt Ltd. The purpose of this is to explore the potential for collaboration and innovation with a combination of many products and processes that we are involved with globally. Let the creative juices flow!

TT: How is the country's performance fabrics industry?

We think it is at a nascent stage, with many application driven opportunities to consider. Producing high performance fabrics is a challenging endeavour, but finding the correct marketing plan, distribution network, inventory management system, and long range vision is even more daunting. Glen Raven has gone through this process multiple times during our 134 year history in a number of different countries, and we are actively engaged in this evaluation for the Indian market.

TT: Do you see the manufacturing sector of technical textiles developing in India?

This will happen for sure. But it is a very different mindset from the commodity textile industry, and requires significant investment and foresight to capture the technical and premium values that are being added. To be candid, it is not for the faint hearted.

TT: With the launch of the Make in India campaign, do you foresee any difference in opportunities in the manufacturing sector of the country?

Yes, we certainly do. India's focus on "Make in India" is certainly aligned to our mainstay statement - "Let Endless Opportunities Begin".

TT: In India, technical textiles form just 10 to 15 percent of the textile market as per your observation. But you do not see that as a hindrance, rather you see it as an opportunity. Isn't it? Can you explain?

By their very nature, technical textiles will always be a smaller volume segment of the whole textile industry. However, it is a space that offers many opportunities to market specialised value added products, and capture a significant market share.

TT: Is the country technologically advanced enough to support a huge amount of foreign investments in the manufacturing sector, or is there further room for improvement?

India has a world class pool of highly competent technical employees and an improving infrastructure albeit, slowly developing, to handle the demands of technical textile production. What seems to be lacking, is the understanding of the demand applications and the need for extremely high quality production and advanced marketing in this sector. But it will come.

TT: Do you suppose that India can compete with China in the manufacturing sector and be a success in the global textile and apparel industry?

We do not participate in these commodity markets, so we have no position on this.

Published on: 03/11/2014

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.


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