FENNCCO’S U.S. MOVES
Byline: Alice Welsh
NEW YORK — Fenncco Cashmere Inc., which began deliveries of moderate-priced cashmere apparel in the U.S. in October, expects to do $13 million in volume here this year.
Its branded line, Fenco, and its private label sweaters are produced through a joint venture with Tianjin Wing-Hong Spinning & Weaving Co. in China and Janson Trading Inc. in Hong Kong. Janson operates as a buying office and shipping agent.
Tianjin Wing-Hong is a major supplier of fiber, yarn and finished goods to Europe and Japan, according to Michael Glaubman, vice president of sales of Fenncco. Through Fenncco, based at 1441 Broadway here, the company has begun to take on the U.S. market.
Fenncco expected to do $3 million in the fourth quarter of 1994 and, for 1995, projects it will generate $10 million in women’s and $3 million in men’s, which will be introduced later this year.
Tianjin Wing-Hong has evolved over the last 20 years into a vertically integrated company. Initially, the company supplied only the cashmere fiber to manufacturers; then, after acquiring its own spinning factories, it supplied the yarn. In 1989, Tianjin Wing-Hong purchased a knitting factory and produced its first cashmere sweaters as well as continuing to sell both the cashmere fiber and yarn.
Today, Tianjin Wing-Hong owns three spinning factories with capacity in 1995 of 550 tons of cashmere and 1,400 tons of silk, according to Glaubman.
It has one knitting factory and has purchased a 166-acre site to build a second. It has access to 50 knitting factories with capacity for 1995 estimated at 2.5 million sweaters, said Glaubman.
“We shipped 800,000 units to Europe and Japan in 1994,” said Glaubman. “We are more or less a direct supplier, which is the way of the future in cashmere. We can 99.9 percent guarantee delivery. Given the dynamics of the cashmere market, just being able to deliver is a part of your pitch.”
Fenncco’s first U.S. delivery was in October, primarily replacements for mislabeled and unshipped cashmere orders from other manufacturers.
“A lot of companies weren’t able to ship the stores their private label cashmere,” said Glaubman. “Domestic manufacturers who booked programs were not able to bring the product to market, so we stepped in to meet the stores’ needs with only a three-to-four-week lead time.”
Fenncco delivered approximately 100,000 units in October to stores such as Lord & Taylor, Dayton Hudson, The Broadway and Woodward & Lothrop.
Due to the price increases for cashmere, the company is offering various blends of cashmere, wool, cotton and silk to the U.S. market for 1995.
“By introducing blends, retailers with price-conscious programs will have an alternative to pure cashmere. Cashmere prices are escalating like crazy,” said Glaubman. “Cashmere and merino wool blends are up to one-third less expensive than 100 percent cashmere. The opening price point for a wool-cashmere blend turtleneck is $46.”
Two-ply cashmere is the company’s most common yarn, but one-ply will be introduced for 1995. Besides basics, Fenncco also offers such fashion styles as ribs, baby cable and color-blocked sweaters.
For 1995, prices for traditional cashmere bodies range from $62 for a crewneck and $68 for a turtleneck up to $74 for a cardigan. Fenncco offers 60 colors and will dye yarn to match a store’s color story.