Down Feather Industry
Based on revenue the top five down feather companies in North American are the Pacific Coast Feather Company, Allied Feather, Feather Industries Canada, United Feather & Down, and American Feather & Down. The data is not publicly available to determine the top European suppliers by exports to the US. The details of some key exporters are included.
TOP FEATHER DOWN COMPANIES IN NORTH AMERICA
Pacific Coast Feather Company
- Pacific Coast Feather Company has been trading since 1889 and in the intervening 130 or so years has become a premium supplier of down and feather products in bedding. As the leading down feather company in North America, Pacific feather employs more than 200 staff. It is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.
- The impressive product range, including pillows, comforters, and mattress toppers, contribute to annual estimated revenue of $39 million. The company offers products under the "Pacific Coast®, Calvin Klein® Home, Jockey®, Spring Air®, 37.5 Technology, Tahari Home, Restful Nights® and Sleep for Success by Dr. James B. Maas" brands.
- Pacific Coast Feather Company is the leading supplier of the hotel industry's pillows in the US.
- Hollander Sleep Products acquired Pacific Coast Feather Company in June 2017.
- With headquarters in Montebello, California, Allied Feather was founded in 1987 in Vernon, California. It employees 74 staff and has an estimated annual revenue of $14 million.
- Partners of Allied Feather include the North Face, Helly Hansen, Eddie Bauer, Land's End, and Mac Pac. Offering both duck and goose down, and down and feather blends Allied Feathers applies advanced down technologies such as HyperDry, BioDry, and F X Down to maintain a competitive edge.
Feather Industries Canada
- Feather Industries Canada offers a range of different down products, including goose, duck, eider, and wild goose downs. Each product is further divided based on quality. After 22 years in the industry, Feather Industries Canada has as estimated annual revenue of $10 million and employs 35 staff. With its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, it is the largest and oldest processor of down feathers in Canada.
- Home textiles, bedding, fashion, functional outwear, outdoor recreation, and upholstery are just some of the industries that Feather Industries Canada works with. Its product is sourced from Canada, Europe, and Asia.
- From 1946 until 1984, the company was owned by Canada Packers. It was sold in 1984 to a private ownership group and has remained under private hands since then.
United Feather & Down
- Founded in Europe more than 200 years ago, United Feather & Down is currently headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It remains a family-run business, currently employing 20 staff. United Feather & Down has an estimated annual of $8 million.
- A small village in Poland was the first home of United Feather & Down in 1797. It has traded with companies in North America, Europe, and Asia for the last 60 years.
- United Feather & Downs products include comforters, blankets, and pillows.
American Down & Feather
- American Down & Feather is located in Henderson, Colorado. It has a staff of 30 and an estimated annual revenue of $6 million.
- Products offered by American Down & Feather include throws, bedding, custom cushions, and bulk supplies and accessories. B&Bs, hotels, lodges, and homes throughout Colorado and the US are proud to display American Down & Feather's work.
EUROPEAN SUPPLIERS OF DOWN FEATHERS TO US COMPANIES
Peter Kohl Kg
- Peter Kohl Kg is a family run business, with headquarters in Floershiem, Germany. They have been in the down business for over 110 years. Currently, Peter Kohl Kg employs 15 staff and has an estimated annual income of $3 million.
- Given that Peter Kohl Kg is a private business, there was no way of determining the value of the exports to the US as the company is under no obligation to release its financial records.
- On 3 June 2019, Peter Kohl exported 6125 kg of goose and duck downs to the US. A further 6062 kg was exported on 15 July 2019. Both of these shipments were sent to Hanover Direct Manufacturing Limited. Peter Kohl exported an additional 1636 kg on 11 September 2019. The customer was Cuddlesdown.
- Belashoff LLC is a leading supplier of duck and goose down to the global market, including the US. It has its headquarters in Kursk, Russia.
- Details of its US exports and customers in the US are not publicly available.
Karl Skuka GmbH
- Karl Skuka GmbH has customers in 15 countries including the US. The company is unique in that it offers not only finished products such as comforters but it also supplies processed down and feathers to end-user producers. It has its headquarters in Nittenau, Germany.
- It's estimated annual income is not publicly disclosed. However, the company currently employs 15 staff.
- Sanders.EU GmbH has its headquarters in Bramsche, Germany.
- In 2019, Sanders.EU GmbH made at least four exports to the US. The exact nature of the exports are hidden behind a paywall, but their US importer was Hanover Direct Manufacturing LLC.
- Sedar SA is a Polish company, employing 3,000 staff. It exports white goose down products to the US and European markets.
- With headquarters in Międzyrzec, Poland, Sedar SA was founded in 1949. Drosed has owned Sedar SA since 2010. Drosed has an annual turnover of PLD 3.6 billion annually. An estimate of its US exports and customers is not publicly available,
INSIGHTS INTO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US COMPANIES AND DOWN FEATHER SUPPLIERS
Responsible Down Suppliers
- One of the ongoing issues faced by the down industry relates to sustainable and ethical treatment of the birds. A considerable amount of information has been written on this topic.
- As a result, the Responsible Downs Organization has set up an annual certification process that enables companies that have become voluntarily certified in this area.
- With increasing pressure on organizations to act in a sustainable matter, the easily identifiable list of certified suppliers will impact on the relationship as one potential prospect of the side effect will see organizations look to strengthen ties with organizations that practice in this manner and minimize relationships with those that don't.
Organizations Mutually Dependent
- The relationship between the suppliers of down products and those that process the down into final products for the consumer is complicated. However, the suppliers and manufacturers have one thing in common; they are mutually dependent.
- Down is a specialized industry, and the options available for a company manufacturing these types of goods are limited. This means the industry relies on high-quality suppliers.
- By increasing pressure on the industry, there is also pressure on the suppliers who provide the down to the manufacturers. Due to the nature of the market, it essential that suppliers maintain good relationships with manufacturers if they wast to maintain their position. The two roles are mutually dependent, and the relationship between the two must be preserved if both are to continue operations successfully.
Life Cycle Assessment
- Recent research has shown that the down used in jackets and apparel has 85% to 97% less impact on the environment than the polyester fill also used in jackets
- For the consumer, the value proposition offered by down concerning natural and sustainable products should see it becoming increasingly popular in the future.
- The five areas that down is considered to have an edge of polyester type fills include human health, ecosystems, resources, cumulative energy demand, and climate change.
- Consumers are leading this charge to choose sustainable products. When down is used instead of polyester as a filling the impact on the environment is reduced 18 times over.
- When Patagonia reintroduced down feather items into its product line, they did not investigate the source of the down properly until five years later when they discovered the inhumane methods, including treatment such as caging, live-plucking, de-beaking, and force-feeding that the suppliers were using. When Patagonia demanded answers its suppliers could not answer,
- This example illustrates the importance of transparency in the relationship between the suppliers and the manufacturers. When Patagonia was accused of animal cruelty in the production of its products it denied the allegations only to find out its supplier had been less than honest with them.
- Patagonia has now instituted a zero policy in respect of the inhumane practices of suppliers. This is audited by an independent third party. The company now only uses down supplied by those that meet the strict criteria that it implemented.
- 100% of Patagonia's down is now able to be traced to the source, and other companies are following suit in refusing to use the product of companies that are not transparent around how they source the down.
- Transparency may be a buzz word but it is essential in the current social and political environment if the relationship between supplier and manufacturer is to be maintained.
Issues Around Chinese Down
- China currently provides 80% of the down that the industry produces. The remaining down come from Europe and North America. One of the issues presented by these figures relates to issues around animal welfare. In 2012, not a single animal protection law was enacted in China. Even today the progress in this area in China remains slow.
- Down taken from live birds is more valuable than down taken from deceased birds, meaning there is a financial incentive to remain using this less than desirable practice.
- There are increasing concerns from manufacturers over the ethics of sourcing down from China, especially with more consumers looking to make purchasing decisions based on a companies' track record around ethical treatment and sustainability.
To determine the top five players in the North American down and feather market, we reviewed a wide range of industry publications and reports. A number of the reports list the top players. By doing this, we were able to identify a range of players. Once we had done this, we reviewed the revenue (in most instances, estimated income was the best available data) and determined the top five companies based on revenue. A similar approach was taken in respect of determining five of the largest suppliers exporting to US companies. We were able to locate one report of this nature for Peter Kohl. No others were freely available. Reports are available on the majority of the key players, but they exist behind paywalls. Despite extensive research, we were unable to identify some top European suppliers based solely on exports. The information is not publicly available. Commercial sensitivity is likely the reason. We have identified several companies that feature prominently in lists of companies importing down and feathers to the US.