NUANCE: NEW FIRM, GLOBAL PUSH

Byline: M. McN.

NEW YORK — The partners of Nuance Textiles Inc. — which already derives about 60 percent of its business through fabrics produced offshore — have formed a new company, Nuance Textiles International (NTI), a firm that will be totally devoted to sourcing and finishing fabrics in emerging foreign production areas.
NTI will be headed by Sidney Weinberg, former chairman of S. Shamash & Sons, an international silk fabric supplier. Weinberg, as reported, left the firm Nov. 18 to join Nuance, a three-year-old, $20 million print converter.
Nuance’s three partners — Barney Kelley, Ralph Annibale Jr. and Samy Nimroody — along with Weinberg, are partners in NTI. Weinberg will be president, with Annibale handling the bulk of the design duties.
Weinberg said he hopes to integrate Nuance’s current styling into new base fabrications for NTI, including linen, silk and various yarn-dyed fabrics, and set up production for those fabrics in such areas as the former Soviet Union, eastern Europe, Mexico and Asia.
Nuance currently imports fabrics primarily from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
Kelley and Weinberg said they are confident NTI can hit between $5 million and $10 million in first-year sales. Shipments of the fabrics, which will be aimed at the moderate-to-better sportswear and dress markets, are slated for the first quarter of 1995.
“We feel that the business is turning into a global one,” said Kelley, citing the North American Free Trade Agreement and the new GATT worldwide pact for liberalized trade.
“In order to expand, we need to be able to do business in all parts of the world,” said Kelley, who with Weinberg, outlined NTI’s plans in a recent interview here.
The executives said that for now, NTI will operate from Nuance’s office at 148 West 37th St. and use Nuance’s sales force.
“As we grow, we’ll maybe add some people and then, perhaps, get our own space,” said the 66-year-old Weinberg, who spent 16 years with Shamash. “Something like this takes time to develop, but we think we can make an immediate impact.”
As an added service, Weinberg will also work with NTI and Nuance customers, helping them find places to cut and sew in those emerging areas.
“We are running this as a separate company, and while we think we can sell to our current customer base, we also believe we can open up some new doors with new products,” Kelley said.

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