Culp has begun a strategic marketing initiative to establish manufacturing and distribution operations in China. The company says its strategy is to link the company’s customer service operations, design expertise and production technology with low–cost fabric manufacturers in China.
“We are very excited about the potential growth opportunity that our China platform represents for Culp,” said Robert G. Culp III, chairman and CEO. “This strategic initiative will enable us to integrate China–sourced goods with our domestic line and will allow us to expand our business with middle– to high–end fabrics.”
Culp says production in China will complement, not replace, its other facilities. A plant in China will offer finishing to fabrics that are designed by Culp and sourced from Chinese manufacturers.
Culp has formed a separate U.S.–based design group for the fabrics that will be produced in China. The facility also will provide on–site quality control testing and fabric inspection that meets U.S. standards. The company has leased a 65,000–square–foot manufacturing and distribution facility near Shanghai.
Culp plans to start production in November with 30 employees, growing to 150 employees once the plant is running at full capacity. Michael Messer has been appointed vice president and general manager of the China operation. He has been with Culp for 21 years, most recently serving as vice president of manufacturing for the Culp Decorative Fabrics division.
Thomas Sibley Jr. has been named product manager and will serve as a liaison between the company’s design group and its customers. He also will coordinate sales of the China–sourced product through Culp’s current sales force.