Kemin Textiles Auxiliaries, through the brand Garmon Chemicals, is a leader in the R&D and marketing of total chemical solutions, innovation and creativity for the denim and apparel industry. The company is internationally recognized as symbol of pioneering evolution in the name of a better tomorrow. Kimberly Nelson was appointed by Kemin, as President of the Kemin Textile Auxiliaries business unit in July 2019. Kimberly Nelson received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in 2012, and a master’s degree in Luxury and Fashion Management from Savannah College of Fashion and Design. Before joining Kemin, she worked in marketing in Hong Kong for five years. Recently Textile Focus editor M A Islam Riyadh talked with Kimberly Nelson regarding their latest innovation and products specially “Smart Foam’. Key points of the discussion are mentioned here for our readers-
Q. How are you operating business in the pandemic situation?
Kimberly: As with all companies in our industry, we have had to modify our normal business practices to accommodate all the regulations surrounding the pandemic. Luckily, none of Kemin Group’s manufacturing facilities globally has ever had to shut down, so we have been able to supply products to our customers throughout it all. Probably the hardest part for all of us is not being able to visit our customers and partners, many of whom are like friends and family to us. We are of course holding webinars, digital meetings and lots of video calls, but we are all looking forward to the day when we can jump on a plane and see one another face-to-face again.
Q. Can you brief on your new development, “Smart Foam”?
Kimberly: Through an innovative, patent-pending technology, Smart Foam has the goal of revolutionizing garment finishing. The system is designed to minimize natural resource consumption, making sustainable garment production easy and accessible. Garmon has many years’ experience from around the world to understand the positives, and the drawbacks, of all new machine technologies in our industry. Learning and improving on those direct findings, we prioritized creating a user-friendly system that can be a reality for bulk production garment finishing, while keeping all our sustainable goals in mind.
Q. What are the main benefits of using “Smart Foam”?
Kimberly: We like to discuss the three main pillars of Smart Foam – innovative, sustainable and easy – as the benefits to our technology:
- INNOVATIVE – Smart Foam is a patent-pending technology, a result of a collaboration from three leading companies across the garment finishing market, ensuring all aspects of day-to-day work have been considered.
- SUSTAINABLE – Compared to traditional washing processes, the application of Garmon products through Smart Foam allows savings of up to 80% of water. All the treatments are performed at room temperature, therefore reducing the energy required.
- EASY – Compared to nebulization systems, Smart Foam is up to 3 times faster to load chemicals in the washing machine, and it doesn’t require a sealed equipment, allowing technicians to interrupt finishing treatments and check garments with safety and ease.
Q. How does “Smart Foam” add value to the garments?
Kimberly: In terms of adding value, we think that there are both tangible and intangible measurements that can be found. First, we can measure water, energy and time saving steps, while also eliminating all types of hazardous chemicals and accessories, such as pumice stones. We can also craft interesting marketing appeal to these garments for our brands and end-users. Consumers today understand water is a big concern for the fashion industry and utilizing Foam as a replacement is an easy to understand aspect for the conscious customer. We have already started projects with many large international brands who feel that this story is something new and exciting, giving a great value to garments created with Smart Foam.
Q. What is the feedback you are getting from the production factories?
Kimberly: The feedback from our customers has been overwhelming! When we were launching Smart Foam, we were confident of our technology and the results that were achievable, but with customer trials and seeing their reactions, it has solidified that we have truly discovered something revolutionary. It has been interesting to see the interest has immediately been for bulk production machines, not just research and development machines. This insight is pointing us towards the fact that this really a technology that can be used at scale.
Q. Any other plans for further research and development?
Kimberly: Our Garmon R&D teams have been working on some very exciting new things in the past months. For Smart Foam, we are continuously expanding the range of chemicals and different types of applications possible with the technology. We will be presenting our latest collection to customers in the next weeks for those Smart Foam developments. In terms of new products, coming soon we have a new fashion application to inspire some new, creative looks for our customers. We also have a new, problem-solving chemical that has amazing performance. Early next year we also have a big announcement coming that will truly differentiate some of our products from the rest.
Q. How your company is considering the Bangladesh market, and your observations about this market?
Kimberly: The Bangladesh market has always been one of historical importance for Garmon and now Kemin Textiles. The country proved itself against the pandemic, with one of the quickest recoveries we have seen globally. We are also inspired at so many initiatives our Bangladesh customers have introduced in this difficult time – from supporting PPE production, to supporting their workforce with philanthropic actions – we know this market is resilient. Because of its strategic importance, Kemin Textiles will be further investing in Bangladesh in 2021 to increase our physical presence to best support the needs of our customers.
Q. Any special message you want to convey to our readers and the textile industry of Bangladesh?
Kimberly: I want to give a message of positive hope in these trying times – more than ever I have seen this industry coming together to support each other and innovate to improve the situation for everyone. The potential within Bangladesh is staggering, and I speak with people from across the country every day who are innovating and creating and inspiring. Kemin Textiles and our Garmon brand are committed to standing by the sides of our customers and partners to provide the highest quality products, technology and service so that we will all make it to the other side of this pandemic as stronger, better companies.