In the coming months, I will be blogging about sustainability in the textile and apparel industries, sharing my thoughts on what works, what doesn’t, and what I believe is possible. I’ll also share my experiences from turning around a company most in the textile industry thought was heading for bankruptcy as recently as 10 years ago. I hope you will enjoy reading them, gain some positive insight, and respond with your thoughts and comments.
As the Chairman and CEO of Unifi Inc., a publicly traded, Greensboro NC based synthetic yarn producer, I led a turnaround from years of losses to growing earnings over the course of my 8-1/2 year tenure. We achieved this in a shrinking US textile market and in the face of low-priced Asian competitors.
The primary drivers of our success were a disciplined and focused management process, and the introduction and growth of Repreve(r). Repreve(r) is a sustainably produced recycled polyester yarn that saw explosive growth. As we engineered our turnaround, my team and I gained experience in change management and in the value and drivers of textile and apparel sustainability. We took calculated risks, learned from missteps, and ultimately succeeded where previous Unifi management and other textile companies had come up short.
Bill Jasper is President of Two-Eleven Associates, a management and sustainability consulting firm headquartered in Washington D.C. He splits his time between Kiawah Island S.C. and Washington, which one may say is a little like living in both Heaven and Hell.