For over 10 years, Copen Europe—a division of pocketing, waistbands and linings company Copen United—has worked toward innovative solutions to evolve its business, expand its offerings to the U.S. markets and more. However, with the company recently celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Copen Europe is looking to further its commitment to saving the planet, “one pocket at a time.”
Here, Kevin Bardsley, managing director of Copen Europe and board member of Copen United, discusses how the company plans to continue its growth by moving into new markets and product areas to widen its sales opportunities and expand into different areas of the textile/garment business—all while keeping sustainability at the core of its focus.
Sourcing Journal: What is Copen Europe and why was it created?
Kevin Bardsley: Copen Europe was established to serve the major clothing brands, retailers and garment producers in Europe. In conjunction with the already established supply chain locations of Copen United in the U.S. and Asia/Far East, we can claim Copen as a genuine and credible global supplier of pocketing, waistbands and linings in the textile sector.
Copen Europe recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. During the decade, what have been some of Copen Europe’s biggest accomplishments?
On Sept. 30, 2022, Copen Europe celebrated its 10th anniversary, and over the 10 years, there have been many achievements. Today, we can promote that Copen is a major supplier in the European market with a significant sales network and warehousing/administrational support on two continents—Copen Bulgaria (Europe) and Copen Tunisia (Africa)—in conjunction with a strong partnership in Spain with Preman S.L. As a result of these foundations, we are proud to be the supplier of many of the leading denim brands in Europe.
Copen Europe has also been established and certified under global recycled standard (GRS) and organic content standard (OCS). Additionally, Copen received accreditation from Repreve, a global leader in recycled performance fibers, regarding our achievements of taking more than 80 million bottles out of landfills to reuse in our pocketing and lining fabrics.
How does Copen Europe plan on continuing its growth?
Although we now have 10 years behind us, we are just getting started, and the continued growth of Copen Europe is always the main focus.
Product developments and innovations have always been a strong area for Copen—for example, our performance fabrics for sports and casual markets and our new seasonal pocketing and waistband collections aimed toward the formalwear suits business. We will continue to focus on this area.
Improved regional sourcing to reduce lead times and allow better flexibility to buyers will also be a vital part of our future growth. Furthermore, sustainability and traceability will become more important going forward, and we are well-positioned to ensure that Copen as a company can react to the market and global factors which affect our business.
What opportunities/benefits can Copen provide from its European presence and distribution locations to the U.S. market?
North Africa and Turkey are key production locations for many U.S. brands. Historically, the vendors in these countries would need to order products from Asia and would experience long lead times, additional freight costs and more. Today, we are supplying U.S. brands that are producing in these areas from our platforms in Europe and North Africa.
For example, Copen Bulgaria can service U.S. business in Turkey within 2 to 3 days, and Copen Tunisia—in some cases—can be the same day, which can significantly reduce lead times. Additionally, local duties considerations are handled by our regional teams, and most importantly, this improves the communication lines between brand, vendor and supplier.
People are dressing up and going out again, so that must be affecting business in a positive way. What’s next for Copen Europe?
We are currently working on several projects which relate to a bigger focus on the formalwear business. This will allow us to promote a package of products and utilize our full range of fabrics and services. We also plan on expanding our sales presence in Europe to ensure we offer a global service but with a local relationship. Lastly, sustainability will remain at the center of our focus, and we will continue to evolve our business around this subject as the world landscape changes to these challenges by working toward better traceability, biodegradable options and working with partners/suppliers with the same focus and objectives.
To learn more about Copen Europe and Copen United, click here.