The quest to become a textile manufacturer requires having an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a broad knowledge of fabric and weaving. It is necessary to know about traditional natural fabrics, such as wool and cotton; synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyester; and the developing market of eco-friendly synthetics, such as those made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. Knowing different types of weaves and yarn varieties, such as alpaca and cashmere, is another key factor in being able to purchase the most cost-effective looms for making these textiles.
This broad knowledge of basic textiles and textile markets is essential to become a textile manufacturer. The ability to make textiles requires being able to make complex decisions for evaluating textile types, supplier sources of raw materials, equipment and labor needs, and plans for marketing textile products. For example, deciding to produce only knitted or woven fabrics also requires deciding on production techniques, such as braiding or bonding, and the raw materials to use, such as plant, animal, or synthetic sources.
An important step to become a textile manufacturer traditionally has been to create a strategy for producing and selling textiles to market buyers, such as a textile supplier, a textile exporter, or a textile importer. The manufacturing process has become heavily computerized, though, and such technology controls almost all phases of textile production. Managing textile production now requires also knowing how to manage robotics machinery, the high costs of obtaining and repairing this equipment, and the added labor costs of acquiring the highly trained workers needed to operate this machinery.
Courses in mathematics and engineering can help a person become a textile manufacturer by training his or her basic ability for analysis, and courses in economics can help to develop an insight into market forces. Supervising the production of textile products from raw materials also requires adroit negotiation and communication skills. These skills can be improved by working within a textile production environment. Being a skilled negotiator is essential, because this can affect profitable discussions in other major manufacturing areas, such as in the marketing of textile products, procuring manufacturing equipment, and managing employees.
The ability to manufacture textiles that spur significant market demand requires adaptability and an aptitude for analyzing, planning, and thinking innovatively. Being adept at putting innovative ideas into practice is another attribute necessary for managing textile production. In conjunction with these attributes, a person needs to have a knack for making sound business decisions, such as where to set up shop. For example, in the U.S., where mills are heavily concentrated in the Southeastern states, cost-effective supply routes for raw materials are already established. Similarly, the manufacturer needs to accurately identify and analyze regional, national, and international textile markets.
Another key factor for one who wants to become a textile manufacturer is the ability to obtain adequate funding for starting the manufacturing business. Building financial source networks is one way to look for funding. A good credit history is essential, both for obtaining startup funding from banks or investors, as well as in managing ongoing production costs after the business has started. For example, mills in other segments of the manufacturing chain, such as yarn manufacturers, may give special rates or extended credit terms to new factories with good credit. Established distribution channels may also be willing to help new industries achieve a more solid market presence by giving initial discounts or allowing time payments for the costs of raw materials.