Adaptability Key to Pendleton’s Longevity

By Cami Joner, , Published: March 10, 2012, 4:00 PM

What: One of Oregon’s largest and oldest family-owned businesses, famous for its Pacific Northwest-inspired wool apparel and Native American blanket designs. Its products are sold by retailers and through Pendleton’s stores and website, as well as by mail-order catalog.

Headquarters: 220 N.W. Broadway, Portland.

Executives: Bill Lawrence, CEO; Broughton (Brot) Bishop, vice chairman; C. M. (Mort) Bishop III, president; Dennis Simmonds, CFO; John Bishop, vice president and chairman of the board; Charles Bishop, vice president; and Peter Bishop, vice president.

Total employees: 830.


Pendleton Washougal mill

The company’s largest wool-weaving mill, where deliveries of raw wool fibers are processed into yarns that are dyed and made into fabrics.

General helper Jeff Hamilton works inside the spinning house at the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Washougal on Wednesday February 29, 2012. (Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian)

Where: 2 Pendleton Way, Washougal.

Division manager: Charles Bishop.

Employees: 190.

Hours: 24 hours a day, Monday-Friday.

Mill tours: Phone 360-835-1118 to schedule.


WASHOUGAL — Machines at the Pendleton Woolen Mill hum as watchful workers oversee automation that cards raw wool and robes it onto spools. Others manage rows of mechanical spinners that twist yarn onto wooden bobbins. At another station, workers use computers to control the mixing of dyes, dipping spools of yarn into stainless steel vessels.

Earplugs are mandatory in some of the mill’s noisiest areas, such as the weaving room, where operators feed and oversee machines costing $250,000 apiece that weave the yarn into a kaleidoscope of plaids and solids. Throughout the 300,000-square-foot factory, employees and machines work together to produce wool fabric that is tailored into traditional Pendleton suits, shirts, blankets and rugs, shown on New York fashion runways and sold to manufacturers that make everything from hunting apparel to upscale office furniture.

The busy Washougal mill is evidence that textile manufacturing is not dead in America. Staffed by 190 employees who keep it going 24 hours a day, five days a week, the factory marks its 100th anniversary under the Pendleton banner this year. It is going strong at a time when politicians and economists are wringing their hands about the state of industry nationally. Yet Pendleton is still finding opportunities for growth, said Charles Bishop, 53, vice president and division manager of the Portland-based company and a member of its fifth-generation family ownership.

Pendleton’s secret? Adapting to an evolving global economy with inventive yet traditional design and attention to quality — not quantity. In fact, by coupling innovative designs with smaller production runs, Pendleton has kept its supply of materials tight while increasing demand for a brand that’s popular with consumers at home and gaining attention abroad.

“The world changes, so we have to be constantly changing,” said Bishop, adding that the company still faces relentless competition.

It’s not just labor costs, according to Bishop, who said business costs continue to rise on everything from disposing of wastewater to safety compliance. In Bishop’s opinion, public policies should change to encourage more manufacturing.

“That’s what’s going to provide jobs and that’s what is going to fund our public needs,” said Bishop, a descendant of the English weaver Thomas Kay, who essentially started the business when he came to Oregon in 1863.

The Pendleton name originated with the family’s first woolen mill in Pendleton, Ore., launched in 1909 by the three sons of Thomas Kay’s daughter, Fannie, and her husband, retail clothier C.P. Bishop. The sons — Clarence, Roy and Chauncey — purchased the Washougal weaving mill in 1912 in the name of the Pendleton brand.

“Clarence had two sons, my dad and his brother Mort,” Bishop said. “Now, (the company) is managed by me, my two brothers and a cousin.”

Bishop declined to share revenue figures. However, Pendleton prides itself on being profitable, according to Cheryl Engstrom a spokeswoman for the business.

“This company always operates in the black,” Engstrom said. “It’s a very well managed company when it comes to profitability.”

Business tactics

Part of keeping the business in the black is recruiting top talent. The Bishops are not opposed to hiring non-family members, especially experts who can handle the retail side of Pendleton’s business. Example: they appointed a new chief executive officer, Bill Lawrence, in 2011. Family managers liked Lawrence’s 30-year retail background. He was hired to lead a strategy to draw international attention to the Pendleton brand, Bishop said.

Lawrence has done that by developing new Pendleton retail stores — the company now operates 70 — and a new catalog business. He has also worked to improve Pendleton’s e-commerce business to transform the enterprise.

“Now, we’re marketing directly to the consumer rather than being strictly a wholesale business,” Bishop said.

The approach has helped capitalize on an emerging worldwide interest in American heritage products.

“It’s hard to believe we could be exporting fabric and apparel made in the United States to Europe or Asia, but we’re working hard at it and we’re encouraged by the results,” Bishop said.

The focus on overseas buyers doesn’t surprise textile industry expert David Trumbull, vice president of international trade for the National Textile Association in Boston.

“Consumers around the world know the United States is a design leader,” Trumbull said, adding that U.S. textile suppliers often couple the innovation with smaller production runs.

“If you’re nimble and can come up with a few thousand new designs a year and issue it in short runs, you can be very attractive to the consumer who wants individuality,” Trumbull said.

Aside from producing fabric for its own line of upscale apparel, Pendleton’s Washougal mill makes fabric for about 100 specialty customers, including office furniture companies Herman Miller and Steelcase.

“This is how we’ve been able to stay competitive, by making just a few fabrics so we don’t have to compete with China,” Bishop said.

In the meantime, labor and materials costs have increased for textile manufacturers that outsource to China, according to a recent article published by What’s Working, the Association of Washington Business magazine. The turn of events has created a more balanced playing field when coupled with shipping costs, Trumbull said.

Moreover, a U.S.-Dominican Republic-Central American free trade agreement has also buoyed U.S. textile manufacturing by allowing South American-made garments to enter the United States duty free if they are made with U.S. fabric.

Since the agreement’s 2010 passage, “We’ve seen business coming back to the region,” Trumbull said.

The agreement also has set up a handy marriage between the labor-intensive garment makers of the developing world and North America’s capital-intensive fabric mills, such as Pendleton’s Washougal plant.

Fashion scheme

Trumbull said Pendleton has also benefited from operating in the midst of its own market.

“It’s a real advantage for textile makers here to pick up on the nuances of what the American consumer wants,” he said.

Bishop said the concept is continually being explored by the company’s new chief creative officer, Mary Richter, a former Nordstrom executive, and new designers for its traditional menswear and women’s apparel lines. Pendleton also recently hired a trio of young designers to create a new fall line — the Portland Collection — which infuses youthful fashion with traditional fabric design.

“They (Pendleton) have taken advantage of opportunities where they could,” said Paul Dennis, a business expert and head of the Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association.

But Dennis said Pendleton Woolen Mills has built its success on high-quality clothing items and a reputation that traces its roots to the mid-19th century.

“You have fads that come and go,” Dennis said. “They’re a company that has transcended that and that’s why they’ve lasted so long.”

Cami Joner: 360-735-4532;

Ometria snags $2.5 mln seed

UK-based Ometria, a customer insight and marketing platform, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Inventure Partners led the round with participation from other backers that included SaatchInvest and Force Over Mass Capital. PRESS RELEASE LONDON, UK – 28 September 2015: Ometria (, a customer insight and marketing platform built specifically for retailers and ecommerce businesses, has secured a further $2.5m in seed funding. The round was led by Inventure Partners, with participation from existing investors SaatchInvest, and new investors Force Over Mass Capital. Several strategic angels also participated, including Nickyl Raithatha, Founder and CEO at Finery London and previously Global Managing Director at Rocket Internet; Lee Hudson, COO at AppyParking; as well as Richard Fattal, UK MD at Grokker. The additional funding brings the total seed investment secured by Ometria to $5m, and will be used to increase the size of the Ometria team, and accelerate the development of Ometria’s SaaS platform. Ometria is also today announcing the launch of its retail-focused marketing automation solution, enabling ecommerce businesses and multi-channel retailers to not only better understand their customers, but to now use that understanding to power personalised automated marketing that increases engagement and drives significant additional revenue. Built on top of Ometria’s existing customer insight and predictive modelling capabilities, the marketing automation platform identifies where each customer is in their lifecycle, profiles their tastes and interests, and targets them with personalised messages to encourage them to make further purchases with that store. Recent case studies from brands such as Swoon Editions, Finisterre and MyTights have shown significant results, from a 323 per cent increase in email revenues, to a 92 per cent increase in customer reactivation. Ivan Mazour, founder and CEO of Ometria, said: “For over two years, we have given the fastest growing online brands and retailers the ability to truly understand their customers. I’m proud to announce that from today, Ometria is able to dynamically target each customer with individually personalised messages, and deliver a clear ROI without the need for any action on the part of the retailer. “I’m grateful for the validation provided by this investment round, and excited that Inventure Partners has joined our exceptional group of investors. With their support we will be able to accelerate our growth significantly, and help even more retailers increase revenues and customer engagement,” he continued. Sergey Azatyan, Managing Partner, Inventure Partners commented: “Having spoken with a number of retailers using the Ometria platform, it was clear that their offering delivered genuine value , and that their solution will be a must-have for all online businesses in the future. I look forward to joining the board and partnering with Ivan and his team to help them build Ometria into a global leader in retail marketing.” Ometria has seen 600 per cent growth year-on-year, and current customers include venture capital-backed startups such as Rad (Index), Swoon Editions (Index and Octopus) and Charlotte Tilbury (Venrex and Samos), as well as established brands such as Temperley London, John Smedley and House of Holland. The platform can be integrated in a matter of minutes, and the company provides an end-to-end solution which delivers both insight for the marketing team, and automated personalised communication which drives revenue and produces a significant return on investment. Existing investors in Ometria include Huddle founders Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Skimlinks founders Alicia Navarro and Joe Stepniewski, QXL founder Tim Jackson, Kelkoo founder Phil Wilkinson, as well as a number of other prominent technology founders, executives and angel investors. About Ometria: Ometria ( is a leader in retail and ecommerce marketing, providing a SaaS solution which helps multichannel and online retailers use data to better understand their customers, and send personalised automated messages which increase engagement and drive additional revenue. Ometria was founded by serial entrepreneurs Ivan Mazour, Djalal Lougouev, James Dunford Wood and Alastair James, and is used by over a hundred retailers and ecommerce sites such as Swoon Editions, Rad, Charlotte Tilbury, Temperley London, John Smedley and House of Holland. The company is based in Mayfair, London and is backed by prominent VCs and investors, such as InVenture Partners, SaatchInvest, as well as founders and executives from Huddle, Skimlinks, Shutl, QXL, Kelkoo, Forward, Finery London and Wolf & Badger. About Inventure Partners: Inventure Partners ( is an innovative investment fund focused on funding disruptive technology startups. The fund looks for teams with a novel approach to business models, and companies that are able to solve real problems and remove inefficiencies in the market. Inventure Partners backs a wide range of ventures across the technology industry, and the fund’s portfolio currently includes on-demand service Gett (GetTaxi), leader in US telehealth American Well, long-distance bus tickets platform Busfor, and others.

Originally posted here:
Ometria snags $2.5 mln seed

Carlyle to buy 51% of PA Consulting

The Carlyle Group has agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in PA Consulting Group. The deal values PA at $1 billion. London-based PA is a consulting, technology and innovation firm. PRESS RELEASE LONDON, Sept. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — PA Consulting Group (PA), a consulting, technology and innovation firm and global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG), today announced that they have signed an agreement for Carlyle to invest in PA for a 51 percent shareholding of the company. The investment values PA at $1Billion and is expected to close in December 2015, subject to regulatory and pension approvals and a shareholder vote scheduled for November 2015. PA is a leading consulting, technology and innovation firm that has made the difference for businesses, governments and communities worldwide since 1943. PA has produced impressive results before and since the financial crisis and is successfully delivering on an ambitious growth strategy across Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. The partnership with Carlyle will enable PA to build on this success and to accelerate its growth plan through geographic expansion and the acquisition of consultant teams and smaller firms. Importantly, the investment will allow PA to retain independence, alongside current culture, brand and values. The continued share ownership by PA employees is a key feature of the transaction. Capital for this investment will come from Carlyle Europe Partners IV (CEP IV), a European upper-mid market buyout fund. CEP IV has made four other investments in European companies as of September 1, 2015. Alan Middleton, CEO of PA Consulting, said, “PA has made the difference for our clients and communities worldwide for over 70 years. Carlyle’s global reach, business connections and M&A experience will support a step-change in our rate of growth and allow us to continue to maintain our independence and track record for high quality innovation and delivery for our clients.” Marcus Agius, Non-Executive Chairman of PA, commented, “Carlyle have an established reputation for building value through developing the investments they make and our discussions have born fruit because the PA team have recognized a cultural affinity between the two groups. Both of us recognize the value of partnership and, in particular, the sharing of value created.” Eric Kump, Managing Director of Carlyle Europe Partners, said, “PA is at the inflection point of a new growth phase, and we are excited to support the leadership’s ambitious plans.” Alex Stirling, Director of Carlyle Europe Partners, “The consulting sector is going through an exciting phase of development. We have long admired PA’s renowned reputation for delivering exceptional results to clients in both public and private sectors, and for scaling world class innovation from its Technology Center in Cambridge. We are delighted Alan and the team have agreed to partner with us and are excited about our future together as we look to grow the business globally.” About PA Consulting Group PA is an employee-owned firm of over 2,500 people, operating globally from offices across North America, Europe, the Nordics, the Gulf and Asia Pacific. Our specific expertise is in energy and utilities, financial services, health, life sciences, consumer and manufacturing, government, defense and security, transport and logistics. Our deep industry knowledge together with skills in management consulting, technology and innovation allows us to challenge conventional thinking and deliver exceptional results with lasting impact. PA Make the Difference case studies About The Carlyle Group The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with $193 billion of assets under management across 128 funds and 159 fund of funds vehicles as of June 30, 2015. Carlyle’s purpose is to invest wisely and create value on behalf of its investors, many of whom are public pensions. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Investment Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, real estate, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,700 people in 35 offices across six continents. Web: Videos: Tweets: Podcasts:

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Carlyle to buy 51% of PA Consulting

Privately Held Technology Company Acquired By Buyout Fund

Description: Supplier of computer simulation systems that encountered a revenue decline of 67% over a two-year period.

Challenge: Restore revenue growth, improve the business operations and move the company toward profitability. Venture capital financing was required to fund the revitalization.

Actions: Determined that the company was pursuing a non-existent market. Guided the company into new markets. Raised $40 million in venture capital, acquired five companies, domestic and international. Developed three new product lines.

Results: The revenue growth was re-established and over a four- year basis increased sixteen-fold base while providing the basis for continued growth following the turnaround.




Enterprise Software Company

Description: A publicly held high technology supplier of software development tools where revenue had not met expectations. The company had run out of money and was in the process of declaring bankruptcy.

Challenge: Avoid bankruptcy, generate revenue, raise appropriate funding and reposition the company for growth.

Actions: Negotiated a “standstill” agreement with creditors. Arranged for bridge financing from small investment group through a PIPE. Developed new sales and marketing model, generated revenue growth, raised $11 million in public financing, and up-graded company to NASDAQ.

Results: Revenue increased and continued to grow following turnaround. Company was recently sold to Borland International.

Venture-Backed Enterprise Software Company


Description: A software and services company in digital signature technology that had not been able to generate new revenue.

Challenge: To substantially increase the company’s revenue, determine and execute a viable exit strategy thereby avoiding a write off for the investors.

Actions: Hired new sales team that generated $10 million in new contracts from banks and Fortune 500 companies. Reduced operating expenses and improved margins. Identified potential merger partners and arranged new funding for a merger.

Results: The Company established positive revenue growth that provided the basis for acquisition by a strategic partner and created value for the investors.