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The Shmata Business ©  
By Conrad David Brillantes 

All contents in this column are copyrighted. The Montreal Tribune and its publishers are not responsible for its contents. This column was created by Joshua Tanembaum, originally  published in the print edition of The Montreal

Lots of theories were mentioned, such as the government gave up the industry because there were so many wise guys that were in control. But if they were talking about the Mafia, they were wrong. They were all gone long before 80s. Some say the arrival and entry of some scamming immigrants, (guess from where) brought the trade more in trouble. With so many crooks already in the business, the addition of these swindlers from countries where one could be killed for screwing another found Montreal to be a haven. They say, with so many crooks in the trade, the government lost interest. But does anyone have better explanation? .

Are you in the Fashion industry?

Hello World-wide manufacturers and suppliers!

We are now accepting interested parties to be listed in the Tribune’s International Garment and Textile Suppliers' List. Click here to send your request

So many restrictions has been amended on imports...sell your products and services directly to Canadian Buyers, here’s  our  Previous Issue of Canadian Fashion & Textile Buyers Guide, you can down load it for free but if you want  the NEW and  up-dated version  place your order now at a cost of US$50 per copy payable by money order or through PayPal, also don’t forget to inquire about the Industry Textile Book known as The Shmata Business, used world-wide as reference information on textile by manufacturers, designers, teachers and students, price US$50 per copy. Click here to send your order

Foreign Companies From Time To Time are sending requests  to provide them with Canadian sales people for representation in Canada, all inquiries are welcome and there is  No Service Fee To Pay, All Entries Are Treated Confidential, And Will never Be Used For Any Other Purposes Whatsoever.  For further inquiry on how to get listed in the sales team Contact The Executive Busters

Banks are not headed by geniuses but con artists.

Rene Levary, who moved to Hong Kong sometime ago and picked up a lady partner who had been supplying goods to Canadian importers had this to say about banks.  "If you were an entrepreneur doing export or import, check it out once you received an L/C or open one. Aside from fees on opening L/Cs, they will have to make more on the following:

Exchange rate....communications, stamps, discrepancies, even if there nothing wrong and nothing to adjust... don't worry they will find one.. and then watch for interest charge due to time consumed in cashing it."

And may I add, at the time when I was busy doing a lot of trading around the world... my bank made more than me. Much, much more than myself and our company. I don't understand why banks are teaching their workers the tricks on how to become thieves? That....I am lost.

Anyone interested avoiding all these crazy charges? Drop me a line.

Here are some tips when visiting the U.S.

First, if you are not Caucasian you are already in trouble. And, if you have an accent except French Canadians, which they really don't bother because they don't speak French, you are already eyed for more questions. Now, when approaching U.S. Customs officers or better still, hard-faced immigration officers, don't smile.... say your purpose without taking your eyes away from the officer and only answer the question asked. Do not elaborate more just keep it simple. These American federal enforcers of customs and immigration laws acts like your future lies in their hands. They want to know why you want to get in. It's quite known that hatred of America started from their ports of entry or shall we say America's door to the world. Millions of visiting people from all over the world had been treated badly because of their inability to satisfy most of the very discriminating federal officers. They never really bothered asking themselves  what they had done to people they insulted every day. Try not to lie. Tell them exactly what you intend to do while in their territory. As for those who thought mere possession of Canadian passports will do the job....not at all... If you have more questions on how to get in to our neighbor down south... let me know... no tricks... they don't want that.. Remember, they prefer to be the only magicians around.

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China don't like The Tribune?

I received reports that no one in China, except Hong Kong can access The Tribune in the internet. This makes me wonder why... probably it's our editorial that say's most foreign investments brought in for the past 15 years got scammed by mostly China government-sponsored companies. Mind you, there are so many con artists that parade themselves in hotel lobbies that offer anything that would entice foreigners to bring in their cash, double it in a short time, but later find themselves "shanghaied".... and there's nothing anyone could do, not even any Chinese authorities, because they are part of the scheme.

Japanese Goods why I want to use them

Regardless of what I feel about the Japanese, and how my dad, a captain in the U.S. Army, suffered during the time he was held captive and walked (Death March) with the prisoners of war about a hundred kilometers to their prison camp in the Second World War, despite the sans-apology, I don't consider this a hindrance to appreciate the product they produce and in maintaining trusting business relation with me during the more than 20 years of working with them. Aside from Europe, none of the Asian mills could equal the quality of fabrics they produce. So, since I am back into converting business, I would be carrying my line with more than 50% of Japanese fabrics. About what they did to my dad? Well, I am not going to return the favor of hating them, just let them feel what civilization means and I think they do. Beside, those executives that I met before remained friends to the present... they are all very honorable and sincere. There's nothing more you can say about that.

Lots of work in the Needletrade? Who said that? Well, read this!

Sometime last year city economist Maxine Trottier, claims 40,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost in the garment industry between the third quarter of 1999, towards the same time in the year 2000, this was followed by the city reports that the actual lost was about of 37 percent, and Bert Lafford, president of the National Apparel Bureau, blamed the tax people in getting heavy on collecting GST from the makers. He said that 60 clothing companies have been assessed taxes and provincial sales taxes collected by subcontractors, but never paid to the revenue department. Amazingly, Hagar Greenberg, director of Apparel Manufacturers Institute of Quebec, did not agree. Greenberg (or Grinburg)  was quoted by the Montreal Gazette as saying “ I’m not convinced of this report. We have companies that can’t keep up with the demand.” He said further “There is actually a shortage of skilled laborers for the trade.”  Where are the jobs Mr. Greenberg or Grinburg? Where’s this guy getting his pay?

Overseas Suppliers Should Maintain Agents Here

If those suppliers from overseas maintains local agents they can serve their Canadian clients a lot better. Very few of them survived by going direct. Buyers especially those from the chain stores should stop acting like prima donnas... they should be more cooperative and find the best way to work with them. Agents are good in business, they are the ones that makes the market very competitive on all phases of merchandising goods. More on this subject later as I am processing all the letters I received regarding L/Cs in Canadian Dollars.

Rene L'Evary

Anyone remember Rene? He's in Hong Kong for about 10 years already and had been successful servicing Canadian importers both on garments and textiles. His operation extends to all the provinces of Mainland China and just opened an office in Shanghai. He also doing inspection works and as they say "You can sleep at night when you deal with Rene".

Bangladesh, Pakistan, India

I think it's about time that Importers should consider importing from all these places. They have matured enough in exporting business, but make sure that they have local agents here to completely relay all your instructions to avoid misunderstanding. Don't wait until the problem occurs and hear them say "Sorry, I don't understand English".


I got a lot of inquiries why Canadian credit lines in Asia doesn't work anymore, well, that's hard to answer literally because I could sound very prejudice... can anyone answer that for me?


Using Canadian Dollars on Letters of Credit save billions on all Imports every year

How do you save at least 10% on imports? Simple... Most countries or banks from the Orient or should I say around the world accepts "Canadian Dollars". So, instead of opening L/Cs in U.S. dollars, you can avoid the exchange rate. Check it out... Canadian top economists should have been advising our businessmen a long time ago already... but our bankers doesn't want this known for they would be losing millions on the exchange rate and service fees... well, I hope they don't put me in the black list as they did back some ten years ago. So, those who use this method should ask their banks why. If they want to show their appreciation for this information, well, they could help the Tribune by advertising or sending donations to keep us publishing.

Shooting the Messengers

Does stores really save money in going direct to overseas suppliers? Actually no! The prices they pay are not going to be the same or cheaper than the wholesalers... they should wise up.. company executives should know that their merchandisers or " whatchamacallit" overseas merchandisers or buyers just want to travel around. It's a lot better to do the buying through the importers. Aside from the works which consumes so much time  preparing stylings, colors, etc., etc., financing and guarantees should be considered. With the wholesalers or importers, you have someone to blame if there's something wrong with the goods... all you have to do is wait until the goods are delivered... and you have 30, 60, 90 or even 120 days to pay. If you want to know more on how to get your imports done right, call me or e-mail me for wise advice... it's free... Those expert "traveling" merchandisers should be fired... and you'll see how much your company could save... Sure twice a year or every six months before production starts you should visit the makers accompanied by their Local (Canadian) agents in order to have that personally relationship with them which is very important in keeping up an ongoing business relationship according to Oriental or Asian tradition. But shooting the messengers is not the best way to do business.


Direct buying doesn't mean cheaper

Now for overseas suppliers, going direct is not good either, they should make sure that when they want to hit the market in North America or anywhere else like Europe, they make sure they have someone representing them in the market, an agent....

Those clowns are gone

Do you know what happened to those clowns who killed the horses? They all went bankrupt... some of them are still doing business but  this time they are all pathetic commission agents... and probably buy this time they all would work for me as my agents instead of being my buyers... that's life... after all they where the wise guys who caused this miserable thing happening in the entire Canadian garment business. We lost more half a million jobs, I could not be wrong... just  check the statistics...

I will have more important news and information that you may use in this world of The Shmata Business. Send in your questions and I will for sure answer them all based on my charge... free...any comments are welcome.. or share anything that may help the garment industry people.

By the way, why I walked away from those people I had done business before should know the reason now, why I despise and detest them...they are just rotten bad, period.

Here some news back in the 90s that you want to read...

Greed and Carelessness led to uncovering schemes back in the 80s and 90s

In the 80s and 90s, it was a scam involving 365 Montreal textile companies which had failed to declare a combined $64.4 million in income from 1971 to 1976. Most of the old-timers may recall Montreal businessman Leonard Cohen was the key player in that scheme.

Several of his companies, Shildan Knitting Mills Ltd., Riegel Textiles Co., and Debco Yarns and Fabrics, sold phoney invoice to other firms.

Now, in the early 90s, we had (already) been introduced to the quota system as well as credits on drawbacks. This method will enable importers to get back customs duties paid on goods that were re-exported to another country.

Investigations into the these textile schemes, which began as early as 1988, uncovered at least one important elements; the federal government has made if too easy to misuse their systems.

The Canadian quota system scam uncovered in July, 1990 when seven Montreal needletrade companies were  convicted of false information for the purpose of importing Korean polyester fiber transshipped through Japan. The goods were shipped to the Japanese port of Kobe where they were held on bond until reloaded on ships bound of Canada. The shipments entered the country as Japanese-made goods, under Japanese quotas, bypassing Korean quotas which are lower than Japan’s. The seven Montreal  companies: Pantera Inc., Les Tissues Boman Ltee., Sunkyong Canada Inc.,, Carrera Textiles, Inc., Jo-El Textitle International Inc., Canlin Import ad Export, and Textile Elgo Ltee., all pleased guilty and received fines, instead of going to jail.

Two Toronto companies were also convicted on March 20, 1991, for providing false information for the purpose of importing Korea polyester fiber transshipped through Japan. Kingsley Textiles Ltd., entered a please of guilty on one count of the total 16 charges laid and was fined $15,000 for the offense. Rose E. Dee International Ltd., entered a plea of guilty on 4 counts outr of the total of 103 charges laid and was fined $25,000 per count. A penalty which set the company back a combined $100,000.

According to RCMP officer Constable Luc Beaucage, as many as 36 companies in the clothing and textile industry may be charged in the drawback scam. “Formal charges have been laid and the government has enough evidence to make it stick.”, he said.

Pacific Pants Co. Inc., and owner Sheldon Liebman were  charged earlier this year with 60 counts of making false statements of documents supporting demands for more that $2.3 million in drawbacks.

Morwill Confecttions Ltd., and owner Morton Wendman have been charged with 33 counts. If convicted  they face up to $25,000 in fines and up to five years in prison for each count.

Ben Goodman, president of Deauville Converters 1987 inc., has openly admitted his involvement in the scheme which government officials are seeking more than $13 million in reimbursements and includes civil penalties. Goodman doesn’t believed he will serve any time if he is convicted. “Nobody goes to jail for white-collar crime”, he was quoted as saying in The Montreal Gazette. “Do you think they are going to send old people to jail for this and take up space that would go to somebody who assaulted somebody? Des that make sense?”

Constable Luc Beaucage maintains that it was careless on Goodman’s part to challenge the justice system. “He has damn near guaranteed his conviction.” He added.

As long as there are systems, there will be someone who will try and break them.. And Canadian Customs will have  their hands fill because the 90s as just begun.

“In this business it’s not unusual for this kind of thing to happen, there's nothing untoward about it,” claims Gary Colgan, a Canadian Customs investigtor. A company who imports goods will import hundreds or thousands of times and there could be a separate charge for each offense.” The two Toronto companies which were convicted in March are well known to the Customs officials. “The companies could have been laid with one for charge for the whole period as opposed to separate counts or separate dates, “ Colgan disclosed to the The Tribune from this Toronto office. “What we could’ve said was between this date and this date for one charge be devastating to any company. “However, the department is still quite pleased with the court fines, Colgan added. “One hundred thousand dollar fine is a very substantial fine.”

Scott Fraser, as official with External Affairs Canada, told The Tribune that since the convictions, Canada Customs officials have stepped up their surveillance and will come down hard on offenders.

Whether tight surveillance ad heavy fines are enough to discourage further incidents, this will have to be seen.

The State of The Garment Industry © 

Summer has traditionally been the slow season in the Canadian garment industry. But today’s market realities are changing that tradition for great many textile, and garment companies.

Buyers are working ever closer to the seasons and manufacturers and retailers alike have learned that warehousing is economically impractical.

Buyers have also become more cautious. Even if they suspect an item or a line will be a best seller, they feel their way along, buying smaller quantities, tracking sales, and only then reordering. Nobody wants to get stuck with an overstock.

Consumers, to, have changed their buying habits. Time was when mom, pop and all the kids went out at predictable times of year, and purchased their outfit for the coming season. Not quite so today. The modern consumer, feeling the pinch of recession and over taxation, buys cautiously, choosing a few items to complement an already existing wardrobe.

Today’s fashion parameters are more flexible than ever before. Consumers find it is no longer imperative that they replace their entire wardrobes with the current season’s offerings. They are more daring and imaginative than they used to be. They are also more frugal, and feel increasingly conformable accessorizing or adding to that outfit that has served them so well for several seasons.

Garment manufacturers and their suppliers have had to adjust to shorter orders, and shorter lee times. While sewing and cutting rooms are perhaps not as busy as once there were, the work has become steadier and the traditional two or three-week break the garment industry normally enjoys is starting to become history.

As we move deeper into the emerging marketplace, this short incoming summer will likely be just another work period, and vacations will become something garment workers will have to enjoy on a rotating schedule.

The World of the Shmata Business: I had no idea the kind of people I will be dealing with when I decided to beam my future toward this industry. In the seventies, the industry was much of a challenge to anyone ambitious as myself. Montreal was then the fashion capital of Canada, competing along side with New York, Paris, London, and Milan, but for some odd reasons, despite the flow of unlimited talents from all over the world… designers, first class merchandisers, big time entrepreneurs, talented textile converters, and ready financing from numerous factors and banking institutions, the industry declined from its glory days at the end of the 80s, and it seems no one understand what went wrong.

Lots of theories were mentioned, such as the government gave up the industry because there were so many wise guys that were in control. But if they were talking about the Mafia, they were wrong. They were all gone long before 80s.

Some say the arrival and entry of some scamming immigrants, (guess from where) had the trade more in trouble. With so many crooks already in the business, the addition of these swindlers from countries where one could be killed for screwing another found Montreal to be a haven. They say, with so many crooks in the trade, the government lost interest. But does anyone have a better explanation? Write to me at, let me know what's in your mind.

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