Continuing a decades-long tradition, American-grown Pima cotton marketing brand Supima is hosting a harvest event this fall, giving its licensees an exclusive firsthand look at cotton cultivation and processing. But this year’s event will look different due to Covid-19.
Diverging from the in-person harvest celebrations that have been held in the past, Supima has decided to take the 2020 edition of its gathering fully online to adhere to health and safety precautions. From Nov. 18-20, the company will gather its brand partners for three days of tours, panels, networking and educational workshops.
“The symposium is a crash course on all things Supima,” said Buxton Midyette, vice president of marketing and promotions at Supima. “Attendees get to see and hear firsthand from the farmers who grow Supima. They get to experience the ginning and classing methods for Supima cotton and the care that goes into each step in the process.”
In previous years, the in-person program had attendance limits due to physical capacity constraints, with last year’s event gathering 50 participants from 20 brands. This new virtual format was developed out of necessity, but it is enabling Supima to expand the guest list to all of its brand licensees. This allows attendees to tune in from anywhere around the globe. “Although it’s been a challenging process and difficult year, the one opportunity that has arisen from this is being able to bring all of our brand partners together at one time,” said Midyette.
The symposium is being presented by Supima in partnership with Cotton USA and the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. One of the key themes of the event will be sustainability, with a focus on how Supima is driving transparency in cotton production.
Each day will have two hours of programming from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET.
Day one will center on farming practices. The symposium will kick off with a keynote by Supima president and CEO Marc Lewkowitz followed by a tour of the family-owned Cauzza Growers farm in California. Rounding out the day is a panel featuring Cauzza Growers farmer Jake Cauzza, Kirk Gilkey from fellow family-owned cotton farm Gilkey Five and Supima’s brand development manager Jason Thompson.
The next day will focus on cotton processing, beginning with a gin tour hosted by Gilkey. Next participants will get an inside look at a USDA classing office with an opportunity for Q&A. The final event of the day is a panel on authenticity.
Marketing is the main theme for day three, with a series of sessions providing a masterclass on leveraging the premium properties of Supima cotton. Supima’s extra-long staple fibers create textiles that are softer, stronger and boast better color retention than conventional cotton.
“The symposium is another way for Supima to support its partner brands by providing them with a better understanding of Supima and its advantages,” said Midyette. “This information enables them to share the story with their customers and build appreciation for their own focus on quality.”
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