How YOU can change the industry in 2020 – 6 Examples of Those Who Already Did!!


The exclusive feature of the AAPN brand is that we never do anything another industry organization is doing. As a result, our history is one of unique innovations, often the creative ideas of individual members.

Our driving motto is from Coach Bill Parcells, “Expect Nothing; Blame Nobody; Do Something”. We challenge all of our members to do something, to be ‘the next one up’ in 2020; to bring us ideas that change the industry; raise the ‘Apparel IQ’ of its leaders; and further empower the next generation.

To inspire you, here are six examples of ‘business as unusual‘ where we were approached by one or more members who wanted us to help them solve a problem:

REPORT CARD: At our 2012 Annual Conference, we openly discussed the Americas versus Asia. It became spirited. Eventually John Strasburger, then of VF, offered to get us an answer.

John created the 31 question AAPN ASIA/AMERICAS REPORT CARD survey. He sent it a number of veteran sourcing executives who had been actively sourcing in Asia and the Americas for at least 3 years.

The resulting scores and comments were so powerful it forced us to create a new meeting, the AAPN Leadership Forum. VF hosted the first one in late 2012 in Panama. We ran the Report Card survey again in 2016 and will do so again in 2020. Some 250 people came to our five Leadership Forums.

REGIONAL CONFERENCES: At a meeting in Dallas at Haggar in 2016 with Tony Anzovino, Laura Guthrie and Paulina Loyo of Haggar, and Kevin Williams, then of Coville, Tony challenged us to bring the industry content of our Annual Conferences to those people too low in our member organizations to be sent to Miami every May.

His goal was to do what he was doing at Haggar, raise the ‘Apparel IQ‘ of his young professionals by giving them content. Tony hosted our first regional at Haggar in Dallas. Jill Coleman, then of Avery Dennison, hosted the second Regional Conference in Los Angeles. Today, nearly 1,000 people have attended our 10 Regional Conferences.

CAROLINA MILL TOUR: In 2017, Ron Roach and Alex Whitley of Contempora Fabrics approached us about educating textile sourcing staff on how textiles were produced. Their frustration was that many decision makers were young and only understood price.

Together, we created a bus tour in 2018 with 5 stops – yarn, fabric, finishing and thread. 24 people from a dozen brands/retailers were with us in 2018 and again in 2019. At Contempora, Ron and Alex created 3 intense classes plus a detailed tour. We have never received stronger testimonials from anything we have ever done than this tour. This has become an annual event.

WOMEN PROFESSIONALS: In 2018, Hebe Schecter of Kaltex hosted a Regional Conference in her Empire State Building offices in New York. She blew us away with her talk.

That, in turn, inspired Sue Strickland of AAPN and Jill Coleman to begin discussing formation of what is now called AAPN(Women), consisting of a broadcast group of 250 women.

Today, AAPN(Women) meet separately at virtually every AAPN event and are also actively mentoring one another online. This was their private reception at our 2019 Annual Conference at the Faena in Miami.

HONDURAS SUMMIT: At our 2016 Annual Conference, Chuy Canahuati of Elcatex in Honduras presented his country’s five year plan called Honduras2020.

In 2017, Chuy spearheaded a joint investment project in Honduras to build a new $80 million 150,000 square foot synthetic yarn spinning mill called Utexa. When it became clear it would open in late 2018, Chuy approached AAPN about wrapping an event around the new operation. By this time, AAPN veteran member Joe Cuervo was on the staff of Honduras2020.

With his help, plus Chuy and Juan Zighelboim, we created the Apparel Summit of the Americas in late November 2018 hosting 250 people over three days, the largest industry event in the history of the Region.

MEXICO FORUM: in 2018, Jorge DeLeon Zamora, VP, Sales & Service Latin America for Gerber Technology, offered to host a Leadership Forum in Mexico City. We had never had an event specific for members and the industry in Mexico.

We created an Annual Conference level full day agenda that drew over 70 industry leaders. It was a new one-of-a-kind hybrid event, a combination of a forum, a conference and a regional that was singularly the idea of one member – Jorge.