A few years ago, the largest textile company in the world, S&P Textile, went bankrupt.
It was a big loss, but the company had some big plans for the future.
Its first step was to rebrand itself as an environmentally conscious business, so it started to invest in new technologies to help customers conserve energy and water.
“You could be out on a long, hot day and be thinking, ‘I wonder what the hell we could do to save energy?'” says John Sargent, who founded the company in 2007 with a friend.
He and his colleague bought a small business that made clothes for customers in their home.
Now, Sargents company has offices in every major city in the United States.
“Our company doesn’t have a lot of resources,” he says.
“We just went into this business thinking we could change the world.”
It has since expanded into other categories, including clothing for children and for those with disabilities.
“It’s an amazing story,” says Sargens co-founder, Matthew Leach, a professor of management at Boston University’s Wharton School.
“But it was also very, very slow.”
In the first few years after the Sargen brothers started the company, they invested in a company that made plastic bags.
They used that plastic to make cloth diapers and made a whole line of reusable water bottles.
But that business didn’t take off.
“The biggest challenge was that people didn’t know what they were buying,” says Matthew Lech, co-author of “The Business of Textile,” which is published by Simon &Schuster.
“They just didn’t understand the impact it was having.”
Textile manufacturers, particularly those with a manufacturing focus, tend to see their sales as a way to generate profits, so they’re very focused on the long-term, which can be a challenge.
For example, when the S&s family started the family business, the family was able to save a lot more than it spent on research and development.
That meant the company could reinvest the money into future products and products that people would like to buy.
But they were also concerned about their bottom line.
They knew they were spending a lot on research, but they didn’t have the budget to buy a lot in the first place.
So the family decided to invest more in its business and to make sure it was growing and staying relevant.
“If we don’t invest in our business, we’ll be left behind,” Matthew Leanch says.
The Sargeners’ strategy has been a success.
Since its inception in 2008, they have invested more than $3 billion into their business and have tripled the amount of goods they sell.
The business has also benefited from a surge in the popularity of disposable diapers, which they have been selling for years and now account for about half of all the company’s sales.
And their diapers have been the mainstay of the Sargeens’ household for years.
“There’s nothing worse than an unhappy parent that’s trying to get something out of the world,” says John Lech.
“What’s even worse is if you’re not a parent.”
The Sargeen brothers say they are happy to see that the Sesame Street character has made his mark on the family.
“I have never heard of a family who has been more successful,” Matthew says.
For now, the Saggens plan is to stay focused on making products that are recyclable.
They hope that they will be able to continue to make products that kids and adults will love.
But for now, they are just happy to be able buy a bunch of cheap cloth diapers for kids and get on with their lives.
“When you look at the world around you, you wonder, ‘How can I afford to live?'” says Matthew.
“This is just a small way for us to do that.”
This story was produced by The Wall St. Journal’s Food & Wine team.
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