Through strategic investments and new products, CT Nassau is dressing the entire mattress set — and now the bedroom, too
Long known for quality mattress tapes and ribbons, CT Nassau Corp. has evolved into a true one-stop shop for woven and knit sleep products fabrics of all types as it has expanded its offerings through new facilities, product lines and capabilities in recent years.
Founded in 1959, Nassau Tape and Webbing Mills changed its name to CT Nassau in 1991 after being bought by CT Continental Ticking GmbH of Kevelaer, Germany. CT Nassau operated as part of CT Continental until 2017, when Stellini Textile Group of Milan acquired a majority ownership stake.
Today, CT Nassau runs two fabric production facilities in the United States. The company’s 90,000-square-foot plant, located at its headquarters in Alamance, North Carolina, produces 6 million yards of tape and ribbon per week, or enough fabric to trim 350,000 mattresses. The second plant, a 46,000-square-foot facility in Burlington, North Carolina, produces yarn and more than 100,000 yards of woven and knit mattress fabrics each week using state-of-the-art European looms and knitters.
In addition, CT Nassau has made two strategic investments that have significantly expanded its zippered mattress cover business. In 2018, it acquired a majority ownership stake in Ideal Quilting, a longtime cut-and-sew service provider in North York, Ontario. It also established a partnership with Furniture for Living in Asheboro, North Carolina, creating a new cut-and-sew operation, Cover Contract Sewing, which it calls CCS.
CT Nassau employs 210 workers in North America, and the company accounts for about 25% of Stellini’s total sales volume worldwide.
Expanding global footprint
Under Stellini’s ownership, CT Nassau benefits from being part of a diverse, design-savvy company with an expanding global footprint. Stellini has been producing jacquard textiles since 1947. And, in 2003, the company opened a new plant in Magnago, Italy, where it also has a design and R&D center.
Through a series of production agreements, Stellini also has developed a network of weaving companies around the world. Along with its sites in Italy and the United States, the company has manufacturing facilities in Argentina, India, Russia and Thailand, and offices in Spain and Switzerland. The plants in Italy and Thailand provide panel fabrics to the U.S. market to complement North Carolina production in specific style and price niches.
“All of our plants are set up with the same types of equipment and systems so we can manufacture any product the same way anywhere in the world,” says Valentino Stellini, president and chief executive officer of CT Nassau and Stellini Textile Group. “We also use similar yarns, which enables us to control the quality and colors for each component of the bed with complete precision.”
Stellini’s facilities produce the majority of their own yarns. “And we even make our own machines that we use to make the yarns,” Valentino Stellini says. “As a result, whether our fabric is made in the U.S., Italy or Thailand, everything matches.”
The company’s ability to produce its own yarns also quickens speed to market, Valentino Stellini says, reducing lead times for just-in-time production. “With our network of plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia, we can support our global customers with the fabrics they require wherever and whenever they need them,” he says.
CT Nassau specializes in creating custom products, but it also offers an in-stock program of best-sellers from its warehouses in Canada and the United States. The company’s color-matching system allows it to dye both woven and knit fabrics to meet any design requirement, whether it involves a custom color created by CT Nassau or a color specification provided by a bed maker.
Building on a strong base
In the United States, the first point of exposure to the CT Nassau line for mattress producers historically has been its broad line of woven and knit ribbons, tapes and borders for mattresses. According to the company, it has been the leading producer of mattress tape in the country, supplying an estimated 65% share of the market.
Prior to opening its first North American ticking facility in Burlington in 1999, all of the ticking sold by CT Nassau was produced by the company’s associates in Europe. Since that time, CT Nassau has evolved into a full-line provider of woven and knit mattress fabrics, borders, tapes, handles and sewn panels. One of its recent top sellers is Fascia, a collection of engineered borders introduced at ISPA EXPO 2018 that look like intricate hand-sewn borders but come off the machine in a single piece.
CT Nassau also offers a wide assortment of performance finishes and constructions designed to optimize sleep. Its line includes Coolfeel polyester yarn with thermoregulation properties; Sanitized, which offers sanitizing functions; CuTEC, which uses copper fiber to reduce odor and improve hygiene; Coolissimo, a phase-change management application; Feranice, which offers thermoregulation and wicking; and Restore, which delivers far-infrared ray energy transfer.
Other products within the CT Nassau line include FR fabrics and fabrics with anti-pilling and water- and stain-resistant finishes. In addition, the company offers a full line of fabrics made from natural and plant-based fibers, including alpaca, bamboo, cashmere and Tencel.
“We are always looking for the latest technologies and materials that can improve sleep,” Valentino Stellini says. “Every bed producer wants a strong story to tell to attract business and spark sales. With our line, we try to focus on what’s proven and working rather than chasing every single fad that comes along.”
At A Glance
CT Nassau Corp.
Alamance, North Carolina, where it operates a 90,000-square-foot tape and ribbon plant. The company also has a 46,000-square-foot ticking plant in Burlington, North Carolina, and investment stakes in two cut-and-sew facilities in Asheboro, North Carolina, and North York, Ontario.
Woven and knit mattress fabrics, borders, tapes, handles and sewn panels.
Founded in 1959, Nassau Tape and Webbing Mills changed its name to CT Nassau in 1991 when the company was purchased by CT Continental Ticking GmbH.
Stellini Textile Group, which purchased a majority stake in CT Nassau from CT Continental in 2017. Based in Milan, Stellini also has production facilities in Argentina, India, Russia and Thailand, and offices in Spain and Switzerland.
This year, CT Nassau is taking another major step forward in its quest to become a go-to source for coordinated fabric packages. The company plans to introduce a new collection of decorative pillows, duvets, throws and area rugs that extends its presence in the bedroom. The addition adds another important element to CT Nassau’s product assortment, enabling producers and retailers to create a sophisticated design — and branding — statement with their displays.
“We are addressing the bedroom environment, not just the mattress,” Valentino Stellini says. “We’re leveraging all our skills in fabric production and printing, as well as cut-and-sew (operations), to provide our customers with a coordinated look in which the mattress, top-of-bed and other accents all act in harmony.”
Over time, CT Nassau plans to add other items, such as foot protectors, that enable manufacturers and retailers to create fully coordinated displays for their beds. To support the program, CT Nassau is likely to expand its U.S. production facilities.
“We’ve been growing at a double-digit rate in the U.S. for the past few years,” Valentino Stellini says. “Engineered borders and panels have been doing especially well, and our cut-and-sew capabilities have added an important new dimension to our business.”
According to Valentino Stellini, the company’s move into the cut-and-sew arena in 2018 was a natural progression of the company’s growing identity as a full-service fabric source. “Ideal Quilting has more than 20 years of industry experience with cut-and-sew products,” he says. “This investment, together with our strategic partnership with CCS, enables us to provide our customers with the quality sewn covers they need to keep up with the fast-growing demand for boxed mattresses.”
The surge in boxed bed sales has forced suppliers such as CT Nassau to take a more holistic view of bed design, Valentino Stellini says. “Rather than providing customers with just tapes or ribbons, we’re now working with them to create total bed statements that include panels, borders and every other fabric component they need to bring that bed to market,” he says. “It’s more of a composite, rather than an item, approach.”
According to Valentino Stellini, CT Nassau’s strength in tapes and borders gives it a competitive edge when it comes to serving the boxed bed market.
“Boxed beds are becoming more decorative as producers and retailers seek to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” he says. “They want colors that will catch the eye in their TV and print ads and in their online merchandising. The design aspect of these beds is becoming more of a distinguishing feature.”
Right now, CT Nassau is seeing growing interest in the use of bright colors, such as orange, yellow and tangerine, as well as fresh shades of blue, Valentino Stellini says. Texture also is playing a bigger role in tape design, adding an upholsterylike look that matches up well with today’s stylish panels and borders.
In addition to raising the bar on styling, CT Nassau has been working with manufacturers to enhance the performance of fabrics used on boxed beds. Recent introductions include BounCTex, a woven border that is laminated to a super-resilient foam that enhances the fabric with its bouncy properties and helps overcome the wrinkling that can occur when mattresses are compressed and boxed.
A powerful new tool
To help bed producers create unique, high-impact designs, Stellini has developed an app that enables customers to experiment with a nearly endless range of panel-border-tape combinations from the convenience of their computers or tablets. The app will make the product development process faster and more efficient, the company says, because customers won’t be dependent on obtaining physical swatches.
“The app allows a customer to instantly access our massive library of tapes, borders and foundation fabrics, pick the combinations they want to review and then apply them to a digital version of their mattress,” Valentino Stellini says. “They can get an immediate sense for what works and what doesn’t, saving a huge amount of time and energy.”
This year, CT Nassau will introduce four new collections of Italian designs. The collections represent the start of the company’s new fully coordinated approach to the bedroom category. At future trade shows, samples of each of the collections will be presented in a bedroom-type environment.
“We’re not just hanging up a bunch of swatches and asking customers to use their imaginations about how they’d look full scale,” Valentino Stellini says. “We’re taking a sophisticated approach, similar to fashion, so our customers can easily see how a jacket pairs with a shirt and a tie and a handkerchief.”
Going forward, CT Nassau also will be highlighting its transfer printing capabilities. Its booth at the 2019 Interzum fair featured mattress panels that looked like pop art posters and abstract modern canvases. The company’s new collection of area rugs, decorative pillows and top-of-bed items also includes some transfer printed designs.
As part of Stellini, CT Nassau draws on the expertise of its team of American and Italian designers “to create woven and knitted jacquards in luxurious constructions and vibrant colors with an Italian flair,” Valentino Stellini adds. “We are constantly looking for ways to innovate and reinvent to keep our line fresh and on trend with emerging fashion trends while also satisfying customers’ requirements for functional, cost-competitive fabrics.”
The design team is led by Valerie Hellebuyck, Stellini’s marketing manager who recently has taken on additional corporate design responsibilities. She joined Stellini in 2016, after more than 20 years in ticking design.
Being associated with an Italian design house provides CT Nassau with a unique design aesthetic, Valentino Stellini adds. “It’s a big plus to have this experience to draw on as we continue to elevate our products,” he says. “Our designers’ skill with color and yarn puts us in a great position to help producers as they seek to put even more fashion into the face of their beds.”
Italian flair, made in America
At the same time that Stellini has been expanding its presence in the U.S. market, U.S. tastes in ticking and other products have been leaning more toward Europe and other global influences, Valentino Stellini says. “We’re seeing a fusion of styles in apparel, food and music,” he says. “This trend is happening everywhere but especially in our industry.”
While CT Nassau is broadening its line to include more styles inspired by its Italian owner, the U.S. roots of the company remain firmly planted. “CT Nassau is an American producer with its own rich design heritage,” Valentino Stellini says. “We are being careful to protect and nurture that strength.”
As 2020 unfolds, CT Nassau will focus on maintaining the high level of service and quality for which it is known. “As we grow, we want to make sure we have the right systems in place to meet demand and satisfy our customers’ needs in a fast-changing market,” Valentino Stellini says, adding that CT Nassau’s workforce will be an important element in that process.
“We take a family approach to our business,” Valentino Stellini adds. “We have a very talented team that has been working together for a long time and cares deeply about this company, our customers and our mutual success.”