Company Cameo

Backing Into The Manufacture Of Nonwovens

September 25, 2008

Jim and Evelyn Chumbley founded The Warm Company in the late 1970s during California’s energy crisis.

The Warm Company
5529 186th Place SW
Lynnwood, WA98037
Web: www.warmcompany.comrn


The Chumbleys were land developers building solar powered homes. Knowing that the windows of these homes were the greatest source of heat loss in the winter and the greatest source of heat gain in the summer, they invented and patented a four-layer insulating liner used to make energy efficient window treatments. Warm Window fabric and hardware is still popular today and sold through fabric stores nationwide.

Two of the four layers used in Warm Window consist of nonwovens and while The Warm Company used a local nonwovens manufacturer to produce the product, the Chumbley’s had more product ideas based on the process that would fit into their successful nationwide distribution. “We introduced the first over-the-counter needlepunched natural cotton quilt batting branded Warm & Natural in the late 1980s and it remains the top-selling brand worldwide, making The Warm Company the top producer of cotton quilt batting in the world,” commented Dawn Pereira, vice president sales and marketing.

Unlike its competitors, The Warm Company focused on over-the-counter sales while its competitors’ true focus was on manufacturing industrial products with consumer products divisions set up to sell into the over-the-counter market. This difference led to substantial and rapid growth for The Warm Company. In 1996 the company was finally in a position to control its destiny when one of their small Seattle suppliers was going out of business and The Warm Company purchased its operation.

Demand for its products led The Warm Company to purchase four needlepunch lines and build a new manufacturing facility in Hendersonville, NC to house the operation. Now offering several highly regarded over-the-counter brands worldwide along with another patented product from the mind of Mr. Chumbley, pressure-sensitive fusible webs, it was critical to substantially increase capacity. Brand new, state-of-the-art nonwovens manufacturing equipment was purchased and set up in Elma, WA. Subsequently, the operations in Seattle were moved to Elma with the corporate offices moving to Lynnwood, WA.

Warm’s current nonwoven fiber processing capacity is 12 million yards annually. The capabilities currently offered include needlepunch and thermal bonding up to 124-inches wide, as well as gravure printing, sonic welding, saturation coating, laminating and automated custom cutting. The Warm Company has just broken ground to double the size of its manufacturing plant in Hendersonville, NC to accommodate two new lines with high speed cards. The company is also in the process of becoming ISO-certified this October.

“Conquering the over-the-counter market first has made us a quality-conscious, solid and viable company,” said Ms. Pereira. Strong brand recognition has secured The Warm Company’s future, allowing for research and development into the industrial side of nonwovens. Now, with the same quality-conscious philosophies that got the company where it is today, The Warm Company will back into the industrial side of nonwovens manufacturing.


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