Vietnam’s biggest private sector company has built its success on high quality.
Many manufacturers dream of having their own fashion brand. Few have successfully achieved this.
Vietnam’s Thien Nam Spinning is one of the few who have. And much of their success comes down to understanding the value of bringing higher quality throughout the entire supply chain.
“We are mainly a spinner and about 60 percent of our yarn is cotton yarn, greige, spun yarn, said Tran Yen Linh, sales director.
Established in 2000, Thien Nam has five factories each specializing in a different kind of yarn, including cotton cone and carded, compact and non-compact, and also cotton blends.
“Our most popular yarn at the moment is actually the cotton compact yarn, yarn counts from 30 to 40, that’s made from 100% machine-picked cotton, the majority coming from the U.S. We also are the only Vietnamese mill that has the capacity to produce fine yarn counts up to 100/2 from Supima cotton, so that's something setting us apart.” said Ms. Linh.
Thien Nam is truly a force in the market with production of 2,500 metric yarns per month.
“Our quality is considered one of the best in the market, in the local market as well as in the international market,” said Ms. Linh. About 70 percent of Thien Nam’s yarn is exported to neighboring Asian textile producing nations, as well as to Central America.
Thien Nam’s yarn is used in garments for leading brands including Nike, Under Armor, Macy’s, Target, and many others.
“One thing that set us apart is that our yarn can be used for both knit and woven fabrics. Woven fabrics require strong yarn, therefore better cotton to start with. Knit on the other hands, requires less neps, and do not focus much on the yarn strength. Each technique requires slightly different standards in raw materials and only the best quality cotton can satisfy both standards!
“Because we use high quality cotton throughout our entire production, our yarns can be used for both knits and wovens,” said Ms. Linh.
“Recently we’ve been primarily buying Memphis cotton. We pay a premium for Memphis because we feel that the quality is worth the higher price,” she said.
What makes it better is the way that it’s ginned. “Picker” ginning technique , there’s less damage to the cotton and there are fewer short fibers. It’s slightly more leafy than cotton from other regions, but its also less neppy and it’s stronger. So we think Memphis cotton is, overall, better than other cotton.
We also buy some cotton from South Texas and California, as well as a little bit from other countries. However in recent years we’ve focused solely on this type of cotton.
Many people don’t think that fiber quality is that important, however it becomes very evident when you go more downstream.
Competitive Advantage of Quality
In today’s price-driven retail market it’s easy to end up compromising on quality in order to achieve lower prices.
However, mills like Thein Nam are finding that actually quality has become a key competitive advantage.
“In terms of quality there certainly is a competitive advantage. Fabric buyers have very difficult standards if don’t use the right quality of yarn you won’t be able to sell to better fabric buyers who will pay more for the fabric.
“There’s a lot of price pressure because people are used to getting very low prices from China. So we have to offer something better to justify our prices,” explained Ms. Linh.
“We just started our own weaving mill and garment manufacturing factory. So we will start consuming some of our own yarn.
“Because the Memphis cotton from the US cotton is has less contamination it will give higher fabric quality. So we intend to increase the usage to higher percentage and maybe even using 100 percent machine picked cotton in the future, primarily sourced from the U.S., with a little bit from Australia and Brazil,” Ms. Linh said.
Since Thien Nam’s spinning mill is in Souther of Vietnam and its garment factory is in the North, the company is considering establishing an additional mill in the North, just to supply its own weaving facility.
A Fashionable Step Forward
“Our latest news is that we’ve just launched our own apparel brand. It’s called SansBorne Saigon, which means limitless Saigon. It’s a high street women’s brand, focusing on career and smart casual, and based on using quality fabrics, quality trims, rock chic styles.
The brand also focuses on the concept: “ Buy less, use more” to reduce the impact we have on the environmental. By putting this concept to practice, the brands create beautiful, timeless high quality items. Women can mix and match the pieces to create their own personal style, and the items will become their favorite for many years to come” explained Ms. Linh.
“Part of the brand story is that we select the fiber, make the yarn and the fabric, and then create the garment. We love what we make, and we want to transfer that love to our clients!
That’s something special. People like it … they like it a lot,” she said.