Fine Cotton Factory targets mattress category for growth

TORONTO – It started with a request from a bedding producer.

Fine Cotton Factory, founded here in 1997 by Indian immigrant Harish Patel, was supplying fabrics to the apparel industry when a bedding producer familiar with the company asked for some help. The bedding producer was having a problem with a quilted organic cotton top panel. It had asked other companies for help, without success.

The team at Fine Cotton Factory, which included Harish Patel and his nephew, Biren, put a technical team together to tackle the problem, which it soon solved with an innovative approach to the issue.

Pleased, the bedding producer recommended that Fine Cotton Factory acquire knitting machines for mattress ticking. Harish and Biren Patel thought the idea sounded promising.

FineCotton FactoryAnd from those humble roots a mattress ticking business sprang forth.

Nowadays Fine Cotton Factory is targeting the mattress category for growth, both in Canada and in the United States, and it has backed its ambitious growth plans with a big expansion of its factory here.

The company doubled its footprint to 80,000 square feet to accommodate 70 knitting machines, including high speed decorative mattress ticking machines, and boosted its mattress ticking capacity to half a million yards per month. It also opened a 5,000-square-foot showroom, a sample room and a design studio.

“We rebuilt our entire factory to increase space and production capabilities and significantly enhanced our ability to produce high-quality fabrics for our U.S. customers,” said Skip Kann, the textile veteran who is director of special projects for the company.

Fine Cotton Factory, whose product line encompasses far more than just cotton fabrics, produces decorative ticking for every type of mattress, and uses a wide variety of yarns, designs, colors and performance finishes. The company’s technical staff helps the company’s customers sort through the numerous choices to find the fabrics best for their use.

Technical expertise has long been a hallmark of the company.

Biren Patel started as a knitting technician at age 22, and immediately began modifying the company’s knitting machines to make them more adaptable to the needs of the company’s customers. He brings his engineering know-how to his job as president of Fine Cotton Factory.

Today the company prides itself on its state-of-the-art technology and its deep knowledge of textiles.

Fine Cotton Factory got off to a fast start as a supplier to the textile industry, supplying fabrics to such well-known brands as Gap, Adidas, Reebok, Brooks and Nike.

The Patels said those clients made them better.

“We’ve been put to the test by Nike and Gap,” Biren Patel said.

Harish Patel, CEO, focused on apparel textiles in the early days of the business at Fine Cotton Factory. His skills in the areas of administration, sales, purchasing and financing helped put the business on a solid footing, and his extensive experience in the textile industry, gained at a knitting factory in Toronto, has been vital to Fine Cotton Factory’s success.

Biren Patel has made environmental stewardship a priority at the company. The company produces eco-friendly textiles and fabrics, recycles waste raw materials and fabrics, and operates “clean rooms” in his facility. The company uses a number of organic fabrics and organic, biodegradable dyes.

They work with Skip Kann, the consultant who is director of special projects and business development. He’s been in the textile industry for decades, and is an expert in dyeing, finishing, and textile performance and testing. In the early 1970s, he played a key role in the development of stonewashing for denim blue jeans while working with Lee Jeans.

Kann is spearheading the company’s growth push in the decorative mattress ticking market in the U.S.

The Patels and Kann form a close-knit team, one focused on helping the company grow its business around the world, in Canada and in the key U.S. market.

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