The Road Warrior in Textile Product Development

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Mike Sweeney defines me as the road warrior of MTI USA and it sounds like a Hollywood hero. But in reality, I enjoy traveling the world and discover new business opportunities in textile product development or garment production.

I'm now on my way to China with my partner Said Dib, relaxing on a 15 hours flight and trying to think about my next meetings and strategy for the next 9 days. Normally, this kind of trips are quite intense as it's a very limited sleep and plenty of meetings daily with people that may have no idea what MTI USA is about or what the US market requires as standards to do business. In addition, there are some extra worries like bird's flu (the 6th person died yesterday in China) and a possible nuclear war between the 2 Korea! Anyway, MTI USA follows the fashion trends and where it is possible to develop them at a competitive price.

Our first stop is in Shanghai just for 2 days and we'll meet 3 fabrics suppliers and 2 sweater garment factories. 2 of the 3 fabric suppliers are already part of our business (Alfatex and +86), but there is a new one that impressed me during my last trip to China: Mr Chen, a 50 year old Chinese, "cool" dressed (Yogi Yamamoto style) from Fujian province, that showed me the most beautiful textile collection I have ever seen in China. Thanks to the translation by his young daughter, I had the impression that he studied in the USA and has a very western mentality, but he didn't! I'm looking forward to seeing his new headquarter in Wuxi and starting selling his collection on the US market.

After Shanghai, we plan to visit our great leather factory, Twincity, located in Guangzhou (not far from Hong Kong). Tommy is the owner and always smiles, probably because business is good and he can buy a new expensive car every time we come to visit him. Carey, Johenere and Candy are the senior management in Twincity and really great people to work with. We are now working actively with top accounts like Coach, M Kors, A+O, Alexander Wang, Vince, Nannette Lepore and Tibi. A new entry since 4 months ago is a cute and sweet Korean Lady, Jessica Lee. We are going to visit her in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, and see her 2 garment factories (Hyunjin apparel) specialized in constructed garments like jackets, suits and outerwear. She is the niece of Mr Jones Lee, owner of the company. YS Kim, owner of Alfatex, established a joint venture with Hyunjin Apparel to offer a really competitive full package with the additional "know how" of Alfatex in fabric developments. We are already close to receive orders from CK, Anthropologie, Free People, Polo and M Kors.

We'll end our 9-day trip with a visit to our Hong Kong customers like Ann Taylor, Banana, Gap, M Kors, AX and Swiss Army. Hopefully, it will be a successful trip and I'm sure I will learn a lot of new things and enjoy the company of Said, YS, Tommy, Jessica and all the people we'll share our time with.

Mike, you are welcome to join Said and myself on the next trip but we don't travel business or 5 star hotels and we may have to eat something that moves in the plate... still interested?

About the author


A native of Florence Italy, I moved to New York in 1995 after founding M.T.I USA, a consulting company that specialized in fashion and marketing services. In the fashion business, I have offered my services and expertise to the top 200 companies in the US and Canada, helping them to…

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