A Growing Enterprise – KITEX is making inroads in the US too
A visit to Kitex’s facility at Kizhakambalam, leaves one spell bound. Beyond the high walls, towers a 10 lakh square feet facility, that is the largest single such facility for infant care products in the world. The centrally air-conditioned facility caters to 7 of the top 10 infant wear brands in the US – Gerber, Toys’R”Us, The Children’s Place, Carter’s, Walmart, Target, Jockey – are all it’s clients. Its products are available in 24,000 stores in the US. “There wouldn’t be even one child in the US who does not use our products,” claims Mr SabuM Jacob, Managing Director of Kitex Childrenswear.
The company started operations in 1995 as a multi-product garment factory that manufactures garments of all seasons for both men and women. But the initial years were tough, as it failed to gather enough orders.
In 2000, the company forayed into infant wear: a decision that was to change its fortunes for the better. It soon found out , during the recession that hit the world during the period, that infant wear products were recession proof, unlike the other segments. And by 2005 it had become a 100 percent specialised factory for infant wear.
Today it produces 5,50,000 pieces of infant wear every day, and still struggles to meet it order book. It is planning to double its capacity in the next three years to meet the increasing demand.
Not surprising when one considers the quality standards that it follows. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has strict norms for infant care products. Chemicals cannot be used in the manufacture of infant wear products. And so KITEX’s processing facility uses only organic dyes in its products. It has also been certified under the Global Organic Textile standards (GOTS). It plans to launch its own brand in the US this year and has also acquired a private-label in the country.
The company is also the largest employer in the state outside the government. It employs 8,500 people, mostly women. Its workforce comprises people from 20 states in the country. Its canteen serves 28,000 meals every day, catering to the tastes of people from different states. The employees are also provided dormitory accommodation.
The company has had a deep engagement with KSIDC. It was one of the recipients of KSIDC’s award for excellence this year. And it is set to reap much more laurels in future.