‘New’ sewn products group aims to lead MADE IN AMERICA movement
Posted December 7, 2017
By Devin Steele (DSteele@eTextileCommunications.com)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Officially under new management for the first time in nearly 20 years, SEAMS, the Association and Voice for the U.S. Sewn Products Industry, held its annual Fall Networking Conference here recently as it continued its 50th anniversary celebration
During the event, Will Duncan of Will Duncan and Associates (WDA), whose group has assumed daily management and operations of the not-for-profit organization, laid out his made-in-America vision and growth agenda for the association. He, along with SEAMS’ new marketing associate, Jerry Inman of Demand Worldwide, NYC, also offered a peek at and value proposition of SEAMS’ newly revamped website and visual brand identity, which was subsequently launched and announced to the trades.
Members also heard a number of compelling, meaningful presentations by industry thought leaders and took advantage of several networking opportunities during the gathering, held under the theme “Empowering the MADE IN AMERICA Movement.”
“But the biggest reason this conference was special to me was that we had the opportunity to celebrate a person that for more than 20 years has been the driving force behind this association,” said Duncan, SEAMS’ executive director.
That would be Sarah Friedman, who announced her retirement as the group’s executive director last year, before WDA was voted by the board to manage the association beginning this fall. To honor her devotion and service, Friedman was presented the newly established SEAMS Lifetime Achievement Award – a surprise to her and many association members until the announcement was made during a dinner presentation. Going forward, SEAMS’ Person of the Year Award will be named in her honor, Duncan announced.
“Sarah has been a special person to me and thousands more as she has worked tirelessly to serve our membership with grace, dignity and integrity,” Duncan said. “Thank you, Sarah!”
Visibly moved, Friedman thanked membership after being feted with the award by SEAMS President Jeremy Wootten, president of HomTex, Inc., Vinemont, Ala.
Under Friedman’s leadership, SEAMS transformed itself from a small, regional apparel manufacturing group into the widely recognized National Association for the Sewn Products Industry. With more than 200 member companies, SEAMS today consists of America’s foremost fashion brands, retailers, manufacturers and textile providers.
In addition to managing more than 30 industry networking events and conferences, Friedman oversaw the development of the Supply Chain USA pavilion that has become a key destination for attendees to the biennial Texprocess Americas trade show. Her business matchmaking efforts brought immeasurable value to SEAMS members and sourcing professionals worldwide, Wootten noted.
During the group’s board meeting, Matt Poovey, president of Champion Thread, Gastonia, N.C., was elected president to succeed Wootten for a two-year term.
“This is a very exciting time for our industry, and it’s a very exciting time for the SEAMS association,” Poovey, who will officially take the reins on January 1, told attendees. “We talked today about building a bridge and we are right at the point of doing that. The global supply chain has changed, and SEAMS is in perfect position to take advantage of all the changes in the supply chain.
“I’m a third-generation in my family in the textile business and the second in my family’s business,” he continued. “When I got into the business, opportunities were pretty bleak, but things have changed so much. I thought things eventually would change, but I didn’t think it would change so fast. Our business today is as good as it’s ever been, and I think a lot of people in here feel that way, as well. I think we can all thrive in it together if we stay together. It’s about getting out of these siloes and getting rid of vendor and customer relationship – you truly collaborate, and that’s how we’ll all succeed.”
Revamped website, visual brand identity
SEAMS’ newly redesigned website offers quick and easy access to essential information for the resurgence and growth of made in America initiatives, according to Inman. The new visual branding and logo “elevate the company’s corporate identity while preserving its rich heritage and supports its unique network of manufacturers, suppliers, vendors and retailers/brands,” according to a SEAMS’ announcement.
As explained during the meeting, the website also delivers stronger brand storytelling for the new digital world with a comprehensive member search, extensive resource section, news and events and industry educational best practices.
“We are excited about the launch of our updated brand, new website and the robust information it provides the industry,” Wootten said. “SEAMS is dedicated to promoting sound economic growth for our members and leading the resurgence of ‘MADE IN AMERICA’ on the world stage. We believe that this new site will allow our visitors to have a very informative experience as we continue to grow and increase our member’s market presence.
“This fresh new look for the association with its mobile-responsiveness and easy-to-navigate design, improved design features and educational resourcefulness, really adds business value for our membership and sewn products industry at large,” he added.
The new site features the industry’s only “Make Something / Source Something Power Search” to quickly find its U.S. member base, Duncan added.
“And the new brand reflects who we are as an association and giving back, the market we serve, and the innovation that comes from the members,” Duncan said.
The new brand identity also came with a new boilerplate, along with a new SEAMS’ tagline: “The Association and Voice for the U.S. Sewn Products Industry.”
“We want to the voice in the MADE IN AMERICA category,” Inman said while giving an overview of the changes. “And we have an opportunity because nobody really owns that term, ‘the voice.’ We’re going to own it.”
Inman further explained the changes, made to help SEAMS be at the forefront of the reshoring movement.
“We’ve made some really progressive changes to conquer the connected customer, who are all of our customers,” he said. “We’re the most well-informed, go-to resource shaping the growth and resurgence of made in America, providing the access, the people, processes and products to move production back to the U.S.”
He continued: “Being a member now is more important than ever. Why? Because you’re at the epicenter of making ‘MADE IN AMERICA a reality. You’re thought leaders, you’re influencers, you’re innovators and you’re really experienced people. And you’re people who want to work together – and hard to come by today, so that’s a huge advantage, having that collaborative, personal touch.”