Why We are Closing Invisible World Europe

by Stuart Cohen on March 06, 2024

“Shun looked upon casting aside the Empire as no more than discarding an old shoe.  He would have secretly… fled to the edge of the Sea and lived there happily, never giving a thought to the Empire.”

--------Mencius, circa 320 BC

You don’t have to be a Chinese philosophy fan to recognize when it’s time to cast aside the Empire and move on to the next phase of life.  We are closing our European operations after a decade in order to focus on the USA and on an orderly exit from what has been an amazing 40 years in business.

If we were to point to specific issues that have become more difficult in Europe, it would be skyrocketing costs of tax and environmental compliance (we’ve paid over a thousand euros this year to use less than one kilo of plastic bags) and ever-tightening Customs and logistical hurdles brought about by Brexit.  Additionally, global companies are increasingly downgrading customer support, so that when problems arise, it’s extremely time-consuming or even impossible to fix them.

On another level, business is dynamic and requires constant reinvention.  It’s becoming a world of Tik Tok and Social Media, with the next big buzz, artificial intelligence, just over the horizon.  How much new software do we want to learn?  How much video do we want to take, edit and post?  Besides that, many of our suppliers, people we’ve known for decades, are retiring or dying, and they are not being replaced by younger people.  While one may look back nostalgically on the adventures and relationships of the past, much of that has evaporated behind us.  In the new landscape of computerized looms and high minimum orders one must work harder and sell more. 

Most importantly, though, one has to recognize that one has a limited amount of time left, and decide how one wants to spend it.  It’s easy to put off the things that are the most meaningful and most difficult, whether it’s writing that elusive novel or fighting for the environment.  Those are the kinds of things for which we are casting aside this particular empire.

We’ll very much miss the suppliers we’ve befriended, the customers who have enjoyed our products, and working with beautiful textiles and all that they encompass.  Thanks to all of you for your support, and we hope you enjoy your Invisible World garments for many years to come.