Recession 2022-23… Why… How… What…??

Herringbone Yarn Dyed pattern

I got a call from an old buddy the other day which made me write this post. I had been thinking about writing some observations about the current world situation, and it made more sense after receiving a very interesting overseas call.

Just to give you some background, I have been associated with the North American Textile Industry for almost a decade. Prior to that, I have worked for two major overseas textile manufacturing companies, created cross-border business relationships spanning 10 countries over 4 continents, and even hired a textile designer or two in the competitive UK market. In all, I have made many connections throughout the globe in my 18+ year ongoing journey and some still call to ask for advice – especially when times are unreal.

Enough background, let’s get to the point…


The call

My buddy had called for the first time in three years and he immediately started asking me questions about what was happening in my surroundings, what were my feelings about the slowdowns in the home textile market, as well as my views on the garment industry after the huge surge from the end of 2021 had completely dried out.

He was panicking about the situation. His recent orders had been cancelled, visibility from customers was very low, his operations had been cut 20%, and his company had laid off x number of employees, including floor workers. He wanted guidance on what I thought and how I felt about the situation. Was it any different being in the West?

Let’s have a look at what is happening around us.

We are currently experiencing recession, sense it or not, feel it or not, accept it or not, it is happening.

What does that mean?

Let me explicitly state it:

Sales are slowing, operations are down-shifting, the e-commerce and larger tech boom have paused, and companies have started laying off people. “Oh My God I just lost my dream job!!” are words many good employees have spoken during this period.

Just look at the recent list of high-flying companies that have already been affected and begun layoffs:

Amazon – 10,000 employees laid off (1 – 3% of the workforce)
Meta – 11,000 employees (13%)
Zillow – 300 employees (5%)
Peloton – 500 employees (12%)
Snapchat – 1,300 employees (20%)
SoundCloud – approx. 20%
Netflix – 150 workers (2%)

The list goes on…

(I used to think these companies were almost infallible being run by some of the smartest CEOs. Recessions have a way of changing your perspective.)

To make matters worse, inflation is rising and interest rates keep being pushed up.

In developed economies inflation is in the range of 7% to 10%; developing economies are seeing it at 2X – 3X, in some cases at 20% to 30% and up.

Doubled interest rates means seeing the cost of living going up ↑, property values going down ↓, and less investment opportunities all around.

The effects of Inflation are also showing up in the volatility of the currencies you and I work with – look at the GBP, Euro, PKR, AUD, etc.

You have the full picture.


Your response

Take a moment and evaluate your current situation right now. Three worrying questions will likely come up:

Why is this happening to me?

How will I cope with this changing environment and for how long?

What can I do?

If you can relate, then I suggest you continue reading as it means somehow the recession has affected you, your family, or your company.

Now let’s reorganize those WHYs, HOWs, and WHATs:

WHY have you not done anything so far? Did you not hear from so many sources that a recession was predicted, after the pandemic there would be a recession, history repeats itself, etc.

HOW is it that you reacted so late to understand these situations?

WHAT can you do to be more proactive and create a positive impact instead of a negative one?

Instead of laying off, how can we be the ambassadors of hiring during the recession?

This will require courage and planning.

It requires you, the leadership of companies and industries, to be more open to ideas.

To listen and not panic, especially when you see everyone else panicking.

To ask the right questions at the right time.

To push out of your comfort zone – way before the situation hits you.

It also focuses on understanding CHANGE, since that element is constant. Right?

For the first time in my life, I witnessed a global pandemic, recession, and inflation occur rapid-fire. I also witnessed constant CHANGES.

I saw fights over basic items and I watched the best collaborations across borders. “We are in this together” became the global motto to keep us going.

The e-commerce game, driven by Work-from-home took off at full speed which tested supply chains in many ways. Some even broke as shipping lines fell apart, containers were short, and price hikes up to 5X occurred.

Stores were not able to service orders on time despite paying overtime for deliveries. In 2021 if you got your Christmas gifts on time, you were lucky. Mine arrived on Christmas day. I’ve heard some got theirs New Years.

Shipping was the biggest disappointment then as is it is today. The only difference is that now stores are overstocked as everyone projected higher sales but the supply chain is frozen due to mis-planning. Some retail stores are refusing to even pay their suppliers. Who is to blame? This is another problem that will have after-effects.

In short, WE ARE STUCK! Which feeds into the current economic slowdown…

So then, what can we do going forward so that CHANGE becomes a catalyst to progression rather than an obstacle to our society?

Can we build bridges and collaborate?
Can we not panic and plan better?
Can we keep breathing even in the most complicated situations?
Can we think out of the box?
Can we keep innovating?


What’s next?

As for my call with my buddy, I explained what I have told you: We are experiencing a global recession, with everything pointing to further slowdowns. The cost of living is higher and spending is comparably slower from the work-from-home years. It is having ripple effects where industries are being hit in different ways. Some are coping, while others, like Textiles, are having difficulty establishing a new normal.

Further, I suggested he should not let staff go, but instead use the slow time to move employees to different areas in the company where they could still be productive. Good people are hard to find; we should always try to retain them.

I will leave it here for now, and the next post will continue with some thoughts very specific to the Textile sector.

I offer my services to companies to understand situations especially during unprecedented times. Counterintuitively, I feel these are the best times for strategizing for the next phase.

If you can relate to this post and feel stuck in your business and would like to understand what can be done better, reach out to me at

Where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity!

Aamir Thobhani
CEO / Creative Consultant
InnoTex Solutions & Collaborations Inc.