Rube P. Hoffman began his company in Fall 1924 from an office-warehouse in Downtown Los Angeles. Born in New York in 1893, he was the son of a boys’ clothing supplier. At the tender age of 14, he began working in New York City’s Garment District.
He spent the next 14 years traveling with an uncle selling boys’ clothing to stores from Norfolk, Va., to San Antonio, Texas. After completing his military service and getting married, Rube decided to move to Los Angeles. He recognized potential for tremendous business opportunities on the West Coast in the post-WWI era. His uncle had purchased wool flannel from textile mills and sold them to coat manufacturers (what the industry calls a jobber). For that reason, Rube initially named his company Hoffman Woolens.
Rube quickly saw success as a wool supplier and an importer of other fabrics. After just a few years, he changed the company name to Hoffman California Fabrics, International – a reflection of its transition to a textile designer and converter in the global marketplace. In 1975, the Textile Association of Los Angeles (TALA) honored Rube for his efforts in co-founding and developing the trade organization. Known for his inventiveness and conceptions of California color and style, Rube offered first-time training, experience and encouragement to many salespeople, textile designers and business leaders now employed at competing textile manufacturers.
Rube’s sons, Philip (“Flippy”) and Walter (“Big Wal”), each brought their own special vision and talents to the company. They helped oversee the company’s expansion into Asian-themed, tropical, novelty/conversational, children’s, holiday, and other artful fabrics designed for the quilting, home-sewing, garment and home-textiles markets. The brothers also introduced hand-dyed and batiked fabrics – designed in the U.S. and made at the Hoffman factory on the island of Bali – to American surfwear manufacturers and to the quilt industry.
Hoffman California Fabrics leads in the batiks category as “the first, the finest and the favorite” of quilters around the world and as “quilting’s original Bali batik maker.” We also continue to work with a wide variety of manufacturers eager to bring Hoffman style to its products or have its own custom print or batik designed and made for garments or other consumer goods.
Walter “Big Wal”