Indestructible Advice from Founder Randy Rubin of Crypton Fabric

By Amanda Lewan on February 24th, 2014 / Comments

In 1993 Randy Rubin and her husband Craig Rubin went to work on creating a fabric that was both stylish and stain proof.

Now, two decades later Crypton Fabric is used all over the world in restaurants and commercial settings. These past few months the company has began expanding their stain proof fabric for residential use.

I met Randy about a year ago at a media breakfast, where she first shared with me the fabric. She showed me a beautiful little purse and then emptied the rest of her coffee over it. The purse remained completely untouched. I would buy any purse made from that beautiful fabric.

randy ruben
Co-founder Randy Rubin

Crypton is headquartered now in Bloomfield Hills, with a green manufacturing facility in North Carolina. We were able to catch up with Randy Ruben on her expansion and her own advice for entrepreneurs.

How did Crypton get started?  Crypton began as a solution to a big problem in the design world. When a designer wanted to create beautiful patterns in places such as restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other public spaces they would have to vinylized the fabric in order to protect it from inevitable spills and stains.  That vinyl would delaminate and was very hot and sticky.  When I met Craig 20 years ago he was in the business of selling fabric—when the vinylized fabric would fail Craig got the complaints.  The issue wasn’t the fabric—it was the vinyl covering it.

Where did the idea for the fabric come from? After a long and painful complaining session he went to a Walgreen’s drug store and saw a huge pile of disposable diapers—that was the magic moment!  If it is was possible to create something where liquid would not penetrate and yet be breathable there must be a way to create a fabric to work like this.

How did you get started in Michigan? We began in the basement of our home in Franklin.  Little money…big dreams.  Craig would invent it and I would get it patented and then market it.  A little goal…make Crypton a household name.

What makes Crypton different than other fabrics?  Crypton is almost indestructible.  First, it has an integrated moisture barrier so that nothing penetrates into the foam of the furniture.  Almost any stain is removed with soap and water.  It is also anti-microbial so germs have no place to grow in the fabric itself.

What difficulties have you faced as a female CEO? In the design, educational and corporate world there are no issues.  In fact, being a woman in the industry is a plus.  Once you get into manufacturing the world is definitely a different story.  I once was in a plant and saw flaws in the manufacturing process—response was “Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.”  You can only imagine!

What is your advice for local female entrepreneurs? I give all entrepreneurs the same advice male or female.  You need something that solves a problem that does not exist in the way you present it.  Try and figure out a way to bootstrap the business so you don’t need investors.  Find great mentors in your industry and outside of your industry especially for financial and marketing direction.  Don’t be afraid to fail…be afraid not to try.  You can only think one way—you will succeed.

Make sure you check out Crypton Fabric online, and watch out for future products from this great local company.

About the Author

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan

Editor @michipreneur. Co-founder Bamboo Detroit. Follow me @Amanda_Jenn. I love telling the story of entrepreneurs and innovators.