How The Textile and Apparel Industry Has Activated To Combat the COVI-19 Crisis

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This short piece is our tribute to the hundreds of mostly small companies in the textile/apparel supply chain, to the owners, to the leaders who rose to the challenge of redirecting their production to the medical community during the coronavirus crisis.

As background, the AAPN is more than an industry network, it's family. When the virus hit, we literally knew thousands of friends who would be hurt, not to mention their associates, customers and above all else their suppliers. We understood these dire circumstances, it's personal.

That's why we mobilized that first weekend, activated the SOURCING CENTER on our website and opened it to members of every association we could find in our industry. Within 8 hours of starting on a Sunday morning, 800 had logged on. Now, two weeks later, we're nearing 14,000 views.

We've expanded our hours to monitor the CENTER 7 days a week, in real time. We know that what you're looking to buy is exactly what someone else is trying to sell. So, when our exchange exploded from business as usual to extreme levels of unusual, we didn't miss a beat.

We will provide every participating company during this battle with the same services of matchmaking, information, broadcasts, networking, 'learning forward' and raising our 'Apparel IQ' as we have done for nearly 40 years. This crisis again proved our core belief that 'none of us are as smart as all of us'.

What we are learning from this experience is a new value of the network – the discussions, exchanges and range of topics. We didn't expect this. It's important and exciting. No, we're not Facebook, but then again Facebook isn't a network. It's a water cooler. You have been using a NETWORK.

We're tackling the future, estimating timelines for recovery of the market, exploring new kinds of networking. We're perfectly positioned to explore change because we believe WE need to be the change we want to see.

This coming new age won't be more big game hunting, bagging prize accounts, chasing trophy sales, alone, all by yourself. It will be like our model of collective farming, cultivating relationships over time, harvesting knowledge from suppliers, planting friendships with respect and honesty.

This crisis shot us to new altitudes, above and beyond anything we've done before, even above the storm of this crisis itself. With you, we're watching the new normal unfold before our eyes. We thank each one of you for your selfless commitment. Stay safe…

Mike and Sue