|FUTON COVER NEWS
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COTTON WORKS GOES INTERNET WITH FIRST FUTON COVER WEBSITE
Cotton Works Industries President Jim Martin drives a pick-up, knows his way around a six-pack and never met a bad joke he didn't like. But just beneath the surface of his laid-back, good old boy persona lurks a savvy businessman whose futon cover manufacturing company combines state-of-the-art computer technology with old-fashioned personal service. Cotton Works, headquartered in the riverside community of Albany, Georgia, where peanuts, cotton, the Atlanta Braves and barbecue are spoken of with similar reverence, is leading the futon cover industry into the Internet Era.
"We're the first futon cover manufacturer on the Net," said Martin, who runs the company with his wife, Lynn. "Our site is set up for wholesale, but we're getting a lot of hits from individuals who want to buy our futon covers."
The website, cottonworks.com, like Cotton Works' whimsical marketing campaign, showcases both Martin's business sense and his sense of humor. "Our nature is to try new things, to innovate," he explained. "That's where business is going - to the Internet. We want to see what happens. We're experimenting on how to use the Internet."
Web browsers visiting Cotton Works' home page find lots of crisp graphics, bad puns, and photos and information regarding the company's full line of futon covers and accessories. And it features Cotton Works' trademark guarantee: shipment in just three days.
"Actually, under our normal three-day shipping program, most orders are shipped within 24 hours," Martin said. "Cotton Works is a futon industry leader when it comes to quickly turning orders around."
Computerization helps drive the company's speedy service. "We've put in new computer and new phone system, all designed to increase our efficiency," said Martin.
His wife Lynn takes special pride in the company's computerized inventory and shipping program. "We can tell you our exact inventory at every instant. We can analyze futon cover sales for our accounts. With the computers, we all have better answers."
Over the years, Martin has streamlined, fine-tuned and honed his service-first approach. "Now we're focused on what we do best. And that's futon covers and customer service."
Today the company maintains a ready-to-ship inventory of more than 100 fabrics, in five categories ranging from affordable "basics" to high-end, jewel-toned tapestries. In response to customer requests, Cotton Works recently introduced a luxury washed velvet line. In fact, said Martin, the company has "completely updated" its line of current or "hot" fabrics. More than 60 new fabrics have made their debut since January 1.
All futon cover fabrics are upholstery-grade and come with three-sided zippers, stainguard and reinforced and serged seams. Swatches are available from Cotton Works in either a book format or a "Show and Sell" display unit.
Thanks to the Internet, the futon manufacturer has picked up even more new sales representatives and new futon stores. "There are a lot of benefits to being on the Internet," Martin said. "We've gotten requests from overseas where we don't have distributors. We're one of the main suppliers to the Top 100 futon-selling retail outlets. And we're presently in around 1,500 locations.
"We've had great growth, and we still guarantee shipment within three days," Martin said. "That's our goal. And we're high-tech to maintain that goal."
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