By David Gill
NEW YORK–Revman has been a home-textiles standard setter in several respects—one of which is in its use of overseas manufacturers to produce its branded ensembles.
Not that the company was the first to adopt this model: Companies such as Brentwood, Hollander and others in basic bedding were sourcing either products or raw materials for finished goods from a variety of overseas locations.
But Revman was among the first to bring in branded fashion products on a large scale from China, India and Pakistan, according to Richard Yee, chairman, president and chief executive officer of China-based Mytex, one of Revman’s suppliers. From its facilities in Wuxi and other areas of China, Mytex supplies sheets, comforters, decorative pillows, pillow shams, window treatments and bedskirts for all of Revman’s license programs. Just recently, Mytex began producing the quilts under Revman’s Antiques Roadshow license program, which launched earlier this year.
Laifai Cheung, an executive with Dragonhead International, also a Revman supplier and also based in China, echoed Yee’s observation of Revman’s pioneer status in terms of its sourcing-only model of doing business. What also makes Revman stand out, Cheung said, is the way the company “skillfully puts the fashion together. Revman’s products are very special in terms of fashion, with designs like those on modern garments and arts-and-crafts products.”
Mytex began its relationship with Revman in 2000, after Yee met Rich Roman, Revman’s president, through a mutual acquaintance in the home-textiles industry. Before becoming head of Mytex, Yee had worked for Pillowtex in Hong Kong, in charge of that company’s worldwide sourcing operations. Roman then visited Mytex’s facilities, during which Yee took him on “a grand tour” of Mytex’s greige and cut-and-sew facilities.
Both Yee and Cheung praised Revman for its quality control, which has been a crucial element in Revman’s business model. “I think one of the challenges (of this model) is that you have to have very good quality control to manufacture Revman’s products,” Yee said. “There has to be consistency, and there has to be monitoring by people you can trust.”
And Revman provides exactly that, he added. “From the beginning, Revman brought in very stringent quality control and strict requirements for compliance because of its licenses,” Yee said. “Our factories go through strict audits because their licensors insist on that.”
“They have a strong team with specially high experience,” Cheung said. “They have a very experienced quality-control team with very good logistics management, along with an excellent creative-design team.” Cheung cited Revman’s vendor report card, which includes the results of the company’s quality checks in terms of both the merchandise and the vendors’ ability to deliver on time.
Yee added that Revman is the only vendor Mytex works with that uses a vendor report card. “They drive us nuts in terms of meeting their standards, but I appreciate it because it makes us a more competitive and better company,” he said.
Aside from quality control, Revman also strives to continually build on its relationships with these vendors. Cheung said the company has forged strong links between its own departments and the vendors and their factories.
“Our understanding is that they see (these links) as an important factor to their business,” she said, and that it’s a basic element to their standing in the U.S. market. Monthly and yearly training provided by Revman is another element in maintaining and strengthening these links, she said.
While China is the country that provides most of Revman’s products, the company also has sourcing relationships with companies based in India and Pakistan. Revman also has a facility in Mexico, in which the company has weaving, printing and quilting operations. Roman said this location accounts for 22 percent of its total production.
Quality control is just one of the challenges Revman’s overseas sourcing model presents. Current global economic conditions are an ongoing situation that the company must deal with.
Many consumer-product suppliers are struggling with the world’s currency fluctuations. But, Yee said, “You’ll have this no matter what country you source from. The weak dollar is on a global basis. China’s renminbi has been fluctuating, but India and Pakistan have the same problems. I think the currency will stabilize soon between China and the U.S.”
Rising costs, which stem in part from the fluttering in the currencies, are a more daunting challenge. In an interview with HFN earlier this year, Roman said, “Rising costs will affect us inevitably, coming from the currency situation and rising transportation and fuel-related costs.”
“Rising costs are always a challenge,” Yee said. “We try our best to reduce our costs, but costs are relative to sales. We have increased our selling prices to the market. These costs are part of the pains of the ups and downs in the market. But again, it’s another issue affecting everybody, not just us.”
Cheung said Revman has worked to meet the problems presented by these macroeconomic factors and to minimize their impact. “We think the challenges regarding currency fluctuations, local politics and rising costs for raw materials and labor have not had too much of an impact on Revman,” she said. “We are confident with whatever Revman presents to the U.S. market.”