Forest City, N.C. – Turnbull Designs Co., the UK manufacturer of specialist printed furnishing fabrics and fine wallpapers, is on the ground in North America.
The family-owned company has been servicing the upper-middle end of the residential fabrics and wallpaper market for more than 100 years, primarily through jobbers and showrooms. That will continue, said managing director Paul Turnbull.
“We’re got a good U.S. customer base, and there is a lot of interest in U.S.-made” goods, he said.
The company is based on the Isle of Man, which houses Turnbull’s archives. Much of the pattern development takes place there as well as at the company’s mainland UK office near Manchester. The latter is equipped with a high-speed digital printing unit for furnishings and fashion. The studio and CAD facilities focus on design and new product development.
Turnbull screen prints on a wide range of stocked base cloths using vat dyes, reactives or pigment. It is also known for its ability to block print fabrics by hand.
“We describe the process of translating designs into different appearances as ‘interpretation,’ and because we have the ‘hands-on’ experience of physically producing things such as hand-blocks, complex screen prints and warp prints, we understand the details and can recreate the subtleties better than most., said Turnbull. “These are each separate production methods, although we often combine the techniques and the US unit will ultimately have a unique array of techniques and production methods.
The new Turnbull USA factory is located roughly 90 minutes outside of Charlotte. It is equipped with digital pigment printing machinery and aims at lighter-use decorative upholstery, draper, pillows and wallcoverings. Initial production is on 100% linens grounds. Down the line, the North Carolina operation will add silks and wools.
“People don’t come to us to buy a widget. They come work with us to develop something unique,” said Turnbull. “We’re not trying to ape what’s already on the market. We want to be the best.”