Featured Supplier – Tejidos Gulfer
Working out of Colombia, Tejidos Gulfer is always ahead of its competition, producing innovation technical fabrics for various performance markets. Despite this, the family owned and operated company still holds true to old-school traditions, prioritizing close relationships with clients and emphasizing the importance of social responsibility in all it does.
Ask anyone what first comes to mind when they think of Colombia, and the usual responses will include things like sprawling tropical landscapes, world-renowned coffee production, and a lively, colorful culture. What many don’t know is that this Latin American country also has a booming textile industry, often overlooked for its numerous other treasures. Tejidos Gulfer is at the forefront of this industry, leading the way in high-quality, high-performance fabric production for the activewear, shapewear, and swimwear markets.
Located in the heart of Colombia, in the thriving capital city of Bogota, Tejidos Gulfer runs its mid-sized factory with approximately 80-employees on board. The company began producing textiles nearly 50 years ago following the end of the Second World War. Now, decades later, this vertically integrated powerhouse is completely family-owned and operated, with a huge emphasis on innovation and sustainability.
“All aspects of production [at Tejidos Gulfer] – from spinning to finishing – are done in-house; there is no outsourcing,” describes Daniel Chalem proudly. Chalem works as president of Tejidos Gulfer, a position he has held since 2008. “We have our own spinning operation, so we get the yarns in big cakes and spin them ourselves into smaller manageable amounts that go into the various machines,” he continues.
Alongside in-house production and strict quality standards, Tejidos Gulfer maintains a socially responsible operation. Its finishing plant only uses solvents that are not harmful to the environment, and it cleans any water used in the dyeing process before returning it.
“The Colombian government is very strict on the water we throw back after dyeing,” explains Chalem. “It has to be the same or better than the quality that we got. You have to recycle it, you have to clean it.”
“In the world of fabrics, at the end of the day you can always source similar materials from suppliers. We innovate a ton, so all our materials are different,” says Chalem.
When it comes to innovative materials, Tejidos Gulfer is making serious strides. Its latest success comes in the form of a COOLMAX fabric made of nylon. COOLMAX, a technical fabric used primarily in sportswear, has moisture-wicking capabilities to keep the wearer dry and comfortable under strenuous exercise, for example. Although the technology has been around for nearly 30 years, Tejidos Gulfer is the first company to produce a nylon coolmax (as opposed to the polyester that it is normally made of) certified by Invista, the developers of the original polyester COOLMAX.
Beyond the company’s wholesome approach to production, and its focus on always creating and being one step ahead of the competition, is a true passion and loyalty to its customers. A family-run business from the start, Tejidos Gulfer still prioritizes great customer service in its day-to-day operations.
“What really sets us apart is the relationship we build with our clients,” Chalem says. “We’re not a huge factory, so most of the clients have direct access to me — to the decision maker. It’s really a one-on-one relationship.”
This practice has taken the company to great heights, ones Chalem hopes will open many more doors as Tejidos Gulfer works to expand into the North American market. With a new focus for the company – changing from being a fabric supplier to a full finished garment supplier to the US, everything vertically integrated – the mill is hard at work.
“My goal is to become a very important supplier of finished garments for important US companies, to become the ‘better fast food’ with better quality, and with quick turnaround times for our clients,” says Chalem.
In the end, it is all about customer satisfaction.
This article is courtesy of Le Souk, and written by Vanessa Zdesar