As one of High Point Market’s Style Spotters sponsors for 2015 and a longtime favorite manufacturer of some of the most durable fabric known to man, Crypton has become a leader in the hospitality and is a popular household name. With the emergence of Crypton Home, we were delighted to have a chance to chat with the mastermind behind it all – Crypton founder and CEO Randy Rubin on everything from her design process, outlook for the future, and even Grandma Tuesdays!
Crypton is huge in the hospitality industry. How did you and your husband come up with the idea to start making this type of fabric? Was hospitality the initial goal?
More than 20 years ago, my husband Craig, who ran an commercial upholstery service in Orange County, noticed that his customers were unsatisfied because of only having two protective upholstery items to choose from—which were vinyl or fabrics covered with clear vinyl. Walking passed a stack of disposable diapers in a drugstore, Craig got the idea that if a diaper could add protection from liquid going through, there had to be a way to make fabric do this. We knew what we wanted to create—a fabric that would be a total moisture barrier, highly stain resistant, microbial resistant, very strong and durable plus breathable. Research in the patent office found many of these characteristics existed but no one had ever bundled them—we knew we had a patentable idea that could revolutionize the textile world. We received our first patent in 1995 and currently have 19 global patents and 25 trademarks worldwide.
We set out to create a fabric that could withstand the harsh effects of a hospitality environment. In the beginning, our focus was on the hospitality and healthcare markets. Today, we’ve expanded our products to be suitable for residential, educational, civil, commercial, government, cruise ships and other like industries.
What made you want to increase focus on fabrics for the home versus hospitality?
We will never lose our focus on our core business, which is what we term the contract industry. But…think about it, there are performance fabrics in your daily life that you just take for granted—from wrinkle resistance to fabrics that wick, sporting apparel that stretches and adds tremendous comfort. We feel the consumer understands performance and the place that performance is not seen is in mainstream indoor residential furniture—we see a huge void in the market and want to fill it.
What are the biggest differences and similarities between the Crypton everybody is familiar with and Crypton Home?
We consider all our fabrics to be Super Fabric. Crypton is noted for its impenetrable moisture barrier and extreme resistance to very high use traffic areas. Crypton is perceived as “overkill” for the residential market and the hand is not soft enough to satisfy what we learned to be the preference of both furniture manufactures and consumers. So…Crypton Home Fabrics was created over a three year research project because we have to maintain the high standards of stain resistance while at the same time being able to work with a wide range of fibers.
Any Crypton fabric horror stories that you might’ve heard over the years that you’d care to share?
You name it––we’ve seen it! From coffee and wine stains to messy disasters left behind by pets and children. We constantly hear from our customers (hospitality and residential) about how life-changing our performance textiles has been for them.
Crypton’s headquarters are located in North Carolina, which is also home to the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world, High Point Market. How important was becoming a sponsor of High Point Market to the Crypton brand?
The partnership we have with High Point is indicative of our ongoing commitment to marry innovative technology with today’s design trends. With a durable and mess-proof option now available to homeowners, we want to make sure that they are aware of these new fabrics that have been created for busy families, pets and let’s face it…messy people.
I’d love to hear more about your partnership with Valdese, whom you’ve been working with for almost twenty years. Why do you think it’s been so successful?
While both companies have grown tremendously we have both remained nimble and forward thinking…it’s all about what’s next.
Along with Crypton, Valdese is licensed to create Crypton Home Fabrics using Crypton’s chemistry. As a completely vertical producer, Valdese has the capability to manufacture, finish and sell the performance textiles––manufacturing 15 million yards per year / 60,000 yards a day in their North Carolina facilities. In addition to Crypton’s solid textural offerings, Valdese provides the home market with an additional variety that includes thousands of patterned design options.
Research and developing new technologies seem to be huge priorities. Care to share any new projects or product lines you’re working on?
There is a high level of investment in what we do at our plant in North Carolina. We are one of the few companies in the industry to invest in our employees, sustainability and technology––even when the economy was in bad shape. The environment is also very important to us, which is why we made sure to create sustainable products. I am proud to say that we are GREENGUARD Gold certified. We don’t just talk about sustainability––we practice what we preach!
In terms of what’s new and what’s next for Crypton, Inc.: we are excited about a new collection of pet beds designed by William Wegman that will be released very soon. Not to mention, our first residential collaboration with Kravet that was recently introduced. The two-book set Crypton Home Textures and Crypton Home Chevron are available to-the-trade, and provides permanent protection from stains and odors.
I’m also excited to announce that we’ve started working on a collection with a celebrity interior designer, which we are really excited about, so stay tuned!
How did growing up in the motor city, surrounded by the innovation of the automobile industry, shape you as a search engine optimization professional?
Detroit has become the center for new thinking. In the past years, I feel my creativity has expanded ten fold after being surrounded by such innovation. I had many marketing projects before we launched Crypton. I was the spokesperson for the Chevrolet Division of General Motors where we ran a national conference tour geared to empower women in their careers — Strategies for Success. Working with keynote speakers such as Barbara Walters, Maya Angelou to name only a few brought me not just the skills to promote an event that would attract thousands of women in each market––but, I got the opportunity to spend quality time with some of the most amazing women in the world and truly learn from them. I think most of all I learned that anything is possible if you have the courage and intelligence to pursue it. My dreams are so big because I saw firsthand that the dreams of many amazing women did come true.
As the mastermind behind Crypton’s global branding, what is Crypton’s mission and core values?
Our mission has been the same since day one—to make Crypton a household name and offer the world something they’ve never seen before in textiles.
Last question! What does the average “Grandma Tuesday” typically entail?
An average Grandma Tuesday was yesterday. I pick up my grandchild from school if I am in town—non negotiable and everyone knows this. Today we went and had an ice cream cone, then went to his ice skating lesson which was an absolute blast. I will never have this day again and I can work tonight if I need to. With each of my four grandchildren there is a bond that I cannot explain but it comes only with that special time alone.
Randy, thank you so much for taking the time to give our readers a peek inside the life of Crypton’s CEO, and we can’t wait to see you at High Point Market!
Images via Crypton Home