Brands and Retailers Comment on the AAPN Carolinas Mill Tour


At AAPN, we feel the Carolinas Mill Tour for 23 people from 9 brands and retailers two weeks ago was about perfect.

A total of 28 of us shared one bus, two hotels, 5 factories, 5 restaurants, 4 breakfasts, 2 states, 1 tent and 1 firepit over a 5 day period. We have never done anything like this before. We did not have a pre-event meeting. We did not have a written plan. We did not have scripts or prepared speeches. We simply trusted that we could put members together with members and make it work.

In the end, it was the toughest event we have ever planned yet the truest networking we have ever seen. For those of you who have been in the industry as long as us, you know the loss of talent has been staggering. Now we’re doing something about that – by raising the Apparel IQ of every member we can reach. Clearly, the focus on our Annual Conference next week will be to build on the strength of the amazing comments which follow:


We really appreciate you organizing such a successful event. We were all like sponges the whole week & appreciate the focus on making this educational! Between the factory tours and networking with the other attendees, our knowledge of the industry (especially with what’s going on domestically) grew exponentially. It’s the kind of knowledge you can’t gain from staring at the numbers and being at a desk – having the opportunity to see the equipment, feel the differences in the fabrics and threads, & see how a thread is dyed will allow us to succeed in our current roles as we can better understand the day-to-day operations of our counterparts.

Really liked the educational (fabric construction, etc) aspect and giveaways of this tour. Recommend touring sequentially as per product lifecycle process – ie, educational overview, then tour, then QC. Passion and hospitality of the companies came through. The giveaway bags distributed were thoughtfully put together.

Very impressive facility. Our tour guide was fantastic. The start to finish format really helped with retaining information and organizing all the information we received.

Itinerary worked out very well. Suggest adding a brainstorming workshop at the very end after final mill visit to tap into the inspiring ideas being exchanged between tour attendees. This will also allow for feedback, next steps, and opportunities for collaboration/involvement at the culmination of the tour.

This superbly organized event was an opportunity to collaborate with passionate professionals, gain a better understanding of our manufacturing backbones, and explore new ideas and partnerships. Organizations and professionals will most definitely benefit from this fantastic tour – I certainly have!

I wanted to get a better knowledge of the US mill community, what it was like to be in a “factory” and networking with other people in the same industry to learn about the textile industry and how it relates to my job.

I LOVED the education – it was so helpful, and you can really see the passion these guys have for yarn and their business. They were the best. Loved the workshops!!  So educational!

Wow was I surprised when we walk through the door, the automation was amazing. The tour was really educational, the guide was very informative and answered all question and never rushed us. Everyone in retail should see that place.

The facility and the tour were SUPER impressive. Made the day worth it. The whole team seemed very proud of what they do and seemed very happy to have us there. The CEO really could speak to what they were doing as a company to stay competitive. Felt the passion and commitment to excellence.

Very professional! This was one of my favorite because the color dyeing was so unique and I enjoyed how organized they were with having groups pre-organized and they had many tour guides to accommodate smaller groups

Exceeded expectations. Travel time was fine. The time on the bus and the lunches/dinners gave everyone the perfect amount of time to network and get to know each other.

The Tour was ABOVE my expectations! I thought the schedule and itinerary were great, it wasn’t too much, it was just right. I saw enough to really get a feel for the industry, I might have liked to spend more time at each one so that I could get more of their thoughts on how they would like to work with US retailers.

I thought for the first time doing this…this was GREAT.  It was fantastic and inspiring (being new to the industry) to network with people in my field and also meet these great companies that really have an expertise in the industry. I think 5 days was the perfect amount of time also. I will be looking out for another tour.

Thank you for putting together such an amazing tour.  Our team learned so much and expanded our network to include many fascinating people in the apparel industry. This tour was great, a wonderful experience that helped me grow professionally and learn so much about the industry. You pulled off an extremely successful week, and I think we all came away better for it.

As sourcing professionals, we are all charged with bringing value to our respective organizations.  Whether that be through lower costs, time, service, or quality.  Last week’s tours made it very plain that this region’s ability to bring products of exceptionally high-quality product with unparalleled service faster than any other region of the world.  We just have to continue to push ourselves and our US partners on costing.  The amazing thing about last week was that all of the mills and service providers were up for the challenge and just wanted the opportunity.   


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