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Crypton makes new push in home furnishings fabrics

HIGH POINT - Performance fabric supplier Crypton will visit several High Point Market showrooms this month for a show-and-tell of its patented, eco-friendly process that encapsulates fibers with permanent stain, order, mold, mildew and bacterial resistance.
     The company will have its high-tech protective treatments on products in showrooms including Century, Henredon, Lazar, Jessica Charles/Hancock & Moore, American Leather, Comfort Designs, Thayer Coggin and Taylor King. The product is called Crypton at Home.
     The company is big in industries that include hospitality, contract, health care, bedding, pet products - selling thousands of pet beds - and consumer sales, with 30% of the business through partnerships with retailers like Jo-Ann Fabrics. And while it will make a big launch at the market here and later at Showtime, Crypton has been involved with upholstery manufacturers for several years, said President Randy Rubin.
     "We've been in residential but out of the radar," she said, supplying brands like Robert Allen, Kravet and others, "and all of a sudden, they're showing very high percentages of residential sales."
     Crypton is a West Bloomfield, Mich.-based branding and technology company with 17 global patents, which it protects religiously.
     Its technology involves a process that provides a barrier that allows nothing to penetrate the fabric, and an integrated stain, water, bacterial, mold, mildew and odor-resistant system.
     The company's 120,000-square-foot finishing facility is in Kings Mountain, N.C.
     Rubin said the company, which has produced over 80 million yards for global distribution, pushed four years ago for large-scale penetration in the residential upholstery market but met resistance from manufacturers who associated Crypton with other markets.
Crypton’s performanceCrypton’s performance fabrics cover a wide range of products, including chairs and pet beds.
     Factories told her, "I know it performs well but it's contract, contract, contract," she said.
     Contract remains the strongest part of the business and has expanded from seating fabric to leather, wall, carpeting and other extensions - but Rubin would like to duplicate that success in residential.
     "What I know is we want to be on furniture frames," she said. "My goal from day one has been to make Crypton a household name. It's the mantra of every single person in the company - from the worker in the factory to the floor sweeper to me."
     To expedite the effort, Crypton hired Jack Egar, a textile veteran and former executive at Craftex and the Victor Group. In addition, Crypton has hired a marketing team in New York headed by Deborah Burns, former vice president and publisher at Metropolitan Home and vice president and chief innovation officer at Elle Décor.
     Crypton has been using focus groups to finesse its marketing plan and plans to make a big push to bring in consumers.
     "So all of a sudden Crypton Home is going to be all over the market," Rubin said, noting that consumers have been buying Crypton at retail outlets like Jo-Ann's and providing it COM to manufacturers.
     Rubin said the Crypton product is "basically cost neutral" with other fabrics but has added benefits.
     "If somebody is going to buy, they're looking for value," she said. "They're going to think about it, they're going to research it and know they're buying the best for the dollars they have. And why wouldn't you, for the same dollars, buy something that has stain and microbial protection over something that doesn't?"

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