Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Introducing…..

The last 365 days have proven to be transformative for me and my family business.  Last summer I started the free sewing machine giveaway which has been life changing for me….for the better of course.  Any day now, I will reach the 100 machine mark and there is no stopping there.  I am very proud and, quite frankly, surprised at how far I have gotten in such a short timeframe.  I plan to continue this effort indefinitely so please keep submitting requests and supporting this great cause.  I just ask for patience as it isn’t always easy to find the time to contact people submitting requests.

The free sewing machine giveaway was the perfect segue into what has become the #sewrevolution.  The #sewrevolution being my self-proclaimed effort to help strengthen the entire fabric industry.  The concept here was to encourage people to spread this amazing art so it could withstand the test of time and be around for future generations of Fortunoff’s and enthusiasts alike.  Recently, I teamed up with FabShop Network and Karen Montgomery of The Quilt Company to create the first #sewrevolution event called #sewdays.  Hopefully, this will be the first event of many and the #sewrevolution will march on thanks to industry-wide efforts, your help and corporate sponsors.

Then there was the social media conference in San Diego.  It opened my eyes to the importance of social media and I recognized that social media would be an integral part of the business forever.  The conference proved to be invaluable.  The 2 key takeaways from the conference were (pay attention!):

  1. I learned that in the future, 80% of what we consumed on social media would be video related.  As such, I have stepped up my video efforts with many more Facebook live videos.  The statistics from the videos are positively shocking and have confirmed that video is of the utmost importance.  You can expect many more live videos from me. I am making all efforts to improve upon the the quality and content as I gain more experience and get all the proper tools in place to create live quality videos.
  2. I learned the importance of transforming fans into superfans by giving them special attention and by allowing them to be an integral part of my fabric journey.  I invited them in to my world and they have gladly embraced it, enjoyed it and contributed to it.

And then there was FreeSpirit acquisition.  This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me and my family.  This helped to put us on the proverbial map and gain some serious credibility in the industry as an important supplier.  It confirmed our dedication and commitment to the industry too as if four generations wasn’t enough to prove that.

All the various items discussed above helped to elevate the exposure of the Jaftex fabric brands (Studioe Fabrics, Henry Glass Fabrics, Blank Quilting, FreeSpirit, A.E. Nathan & Fabric Editions) and my social media platforms (Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive Blogs & my Scott Fortunoff Executive Facebook Page).  So, with that, I have a big announcement to share with you my valued readers:  My Tales Of A Fourth Generation blog is moving to a new home, introducing:

www.scottfortunoff.com

The Studioe Fabrics website is no longer the appropriate place to house my blogs.  My content needs to have its own home and not get mixed in with the Studioe business of selling fabric.  The new website will be where we can continue to share this fun textile journey together.

All existing subscribers will be happy to know that they don’t need to re-register to receive notifications about new posts as we have taken care of that for you.  That being said, if you aren’t registered, you now can register to receive notifications about when new blogs are posted.  Or, you can expect a blog from me just about every Monday and you can visit the new website easily by adding it to your favorites list.

You can of course go check out the new site for yourself and I welcome that, but I do want to tell you what you can expect to see there:

  • Blogs.  Obviously, all my blog posts will be housed there.
  • YouTube Videos.  All my Facebook live and other videos will be added to a YouTube page and you can view all of them from one location.
  • Sewing Machine Giveaway Info.  You can learn about my sewing machine giveaway, submit requests and see the gallery of winners.
  • All Company Social Site Links & Websites.  There will be links to all the Jaftex Company websites and their social platforms.
  • Executive Facebook Page.  There will be a direct link to my executive Facebook page so you can see what’s going on over there.
  • Contact.  You can easily contact me or send cookies.

On the new site, I promise to:

  • Continue to give you an inside track to what goes on behind the scenes.
  • Tell you what’s going on with all the Jaftex companies.
  • Show you exclusive video content and let you see things through my eyes that you normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to see for yourself.
  • Provide frequent corporate updates.
  • Share my little secrets with you.
  • More free giveaways and contests.
  • Support charitable causes and the sewing machine giveaway.
  • Encourage people to keep quilting and sewing.  #sewrevolution.
  • Tell you about my travels and store visits.
  • Share my knowledge of the industry with you and teach you about the textile industry and the lingo.
  • Let you meet all the great people that I work with on a daily basis.
  • Introduce you to important players in the industry.
  • Allow you to be by my side on this textile journey for many years to come.

I guess that’s all I need to tell you.  What are you still doing here?  You need to go check out the new site right away please.  Considering that it is a new site, if you have any suggestions on how to make it even better, please do share with me because I always strive to be the best I can.

As always, thanks for your continued support of the Jaftex companies and my mission.  I am so thankful for my supporters and I truly look forward to what lies ahead.

Have a great week!  Hope to see you in Portland.

xxoo

So long www.studioefabrics.net., hello www.scottfortunoff.com !

 

P.S……Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Lower Pricing?

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a few FreeSpirit price increases that were necessary to implement immediately.  The increased prices were, in my opinion, based on things that were clearly mis-priced under the previous regime.  Today, on the other hand, I am going to talk about some lower pricing.  Yes, you heard that right…lower pricing.  More about that in a little bit after I introduce you to the amazingly talented Keiko Goke.

Have you heard about Keiko Goke?  She is an international self-taught quilt icon from Sendai, Japan who has embraced quilting for over 40 years.  She graduated from Setsu Mode Seminar fashion school in 1969.  In 1978, she founded Quilt Circle Kei and had her first exhibition of many in 1979.  She has participated in many domestic and international competitions and, of course, has received many prestigious awards.

Keiko’s style includes a variety of irregular piecing and applique techniques.  In addition, she sometimes utilizes hand quilting to create a more rustic vibe.  Other times, she uses embroidery.  Needless to say, she has tons of tools in her arsenal to make remarkable art pieces.  Keiko loves to play with colors and this helps her to create explosive pieces that stand out among the crowd.  Check out this beauty below that is called “To Tomorrow.”  Wowser!

Keiko has written many books.  Her most recent one being “All My Thanks & Love to Quilts” which brings together 70 of her most extraordinary pieces created during her lengthy career.  If you are a Keiko fan or just love looking at beautiful quilts, this is a must.

You should also check out her website.  Her work will blow your mind.  After fishing around the website, I have serious respect for her amazing talents and am glad to know that she is a part of the FreeSpirit team.  What she creates is nothing short of magnificent works of art.  It’s absolutely mesmerizing.  Here’s another beauty.

What was the point of this post anyway?  Oh yeah, lower pricing.  Now that you know all about Keiko and have the resources to learn a lot more, you should know that we are lowering the pricing of her line called “How do you do?”  I re-costed Keiko’s fabric and determined that it was way too expensive and what would result would be that her fabrics would be priced out of the market and wouldn’t sell much.  There are limits to what the ultimate consumer can bear with respect to fabric prices.  That is the reality.

With that, we have significantly lowered the price for future orders and we are also lowering the price for all orders on the books.  Yes, I really did just say that.  For all you quilt shop owners, please revisit this line with your sales rep and reconsider purchasing it based on this new and more reasonable pricing, but also because Keiko is an absolute master.  The line is still higher priced than most other fabrics, but know that these goods are printed in Japan and they are printed on a higher quality piece of fabric.

To wrap things up, I wanted you to know that it isn’t always about higher pricing.  It’s more about fair pricing and trying to sell as much fabric as possible so everyone can enjoy the beautiful products we are producing.  It also shows that we are paying attention to the reality of our market and that we are not just trying to gouge everyone with outrageous prices.  We like to stay within the realm of where fabrics are priced…preferably in the middle and not the top.  My family is in this for the long haul and we are about building the brand, building the designers and building the relationships.

Have a great week!

Scott “How Do You Do?” Fortunoff

P.S……Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page.

P.S.S.… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Always Building Partnerships & Friendships Too!

Happy Monday Friends/Partners!

The other day I got an email from a FreeSpirit customer who expressed an interest in maintaining and improving upon her relationship with the new FreeSpirit management.  My answer to that is YES, YES & YES again!

In this industry, I find the people to be super friendly and kind which is such a breathe of fresh air.  This is the opposite from my legal and stock trading careers….to some extent.  With that, please know that we too want to build our friendship and partnership with you.  We want to meet you.  We want to talk to you.  We want to get to know you.  We want to be there for you when you have a problem.   We want to hear all about it when you have a great success story too.  It’s a very simple concept and you can count on us to have your back and be there for you the whole way through.

The catch is that you need to reach out to us to get the ball rolling.  If you come to one of our booths at the Quilt Market, we of course will make all efforts to welcome you and say hello.  If we see you at one of our sponsored schoolhouses, we will definitely say hello and give you a warm welcome.  On the other hand, if you see me or my brother, Greg, or my dad, or any of our employees in passing, the onus is on you to break the ice.  We will be nothing short of perfect gentlemen and women.  To put the onus on us to say hello to everyone might get a little overwhelming to say the least.  I think you get my drift.  To reiterate, we beg you to come over and say “hi” because that is where we need our long-term relationship to begin .  That’s all it takes to get the ball rolling.  After that, it should be smooth sailing.

Other ways to keep everything sailing smoothly with the Jaftex Companies include the following:

  1. It is critical that you pay your bills on time.  All of our companies are interconnected now so it is imperative to stay up to date on all payments.  Your failure to pay just one bill on time will get you all tied up and we don’t want that happening to you.  Moreover, coming June, we are moving to Milberg Factors Inc. and they will likely be stricter than our in house credit team.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  2. It is imperative that you communicate problems with us asap.  Don’t be shy.  Don’t waste time.  If something is on your mind, get it out in the open and let’s deal with it right away.   Don’t let it fester and irritate you.   The sooner we handle it, the more likely we can resolve it.  With that, here is my contact information for you to use when you hit a dead end or you are not satisfied with a resolution.  Let’s agree here to elevate “big” issues to my attention and not the “small stuff” that you can resolve with our customer service reps if you know what I mean.

scott@jaftex.com    800-294-9495 x 218

That’s the important stuff in a nutshell.  Greg and I plan to be in this business for a very long time so there is no better time than now to get our long term partnership and friendship started.  To new friends, old friends, new partners and old partners!  Cheers!

Friendly Fortunoff

P.S……Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page.

P.S.S.… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Who Will Be Selling For The New FreeSpirit?

I have been getting a lot of questions about who will be selling the FreeSpirit Fabrics when we close the deal later this month.  I 110% recognize the need for a wider distribution.  Being that I am in charge of the sales side of our businesses, this is my priority and I will be studying this closely as we progress.  In the meantime, outside of a few changes discussed below, I am going to observe and then act accordingly when the decision becomes crystal clear.  The sales tell a story and I will let them lead the way.

US & CANADIAN REPRESENTATION

The majority of the current multi-line reps will continue selling in the US and Canada.  A few have had their territory expanded.  The biggest change though is that Liz Dougherty, who was the only house rep for FreeSpirit, will be promoted to Domestic Sales Manager.  She will continue to rep the lines too in N.C. (new), S.C. (new) and K.Y. (existing).  There are 4 brand new reps. There may be 5 if we find a West Virginia rep.  In due time, we will make a proper announcement about the entire sales team, so stay tuned.

Please read this part very carefully as I don’t want anyone to misinterpret what I am saying.

I am giving the existing Blank Quilting & Studioe Fabrics sales reps the opportunity to sell a handful of the FreeSpirit lines, known as the Signature lines from here on out.  Just a handful.  For May it is 5 lines and July it looks like around 6.   To be clear, the multi-line reps will have everything including the Signature lines.

Hear me out now please:  The problem that I see is that there is so much focus in sales meetings on Kaffe & crew, Tula, Amy, Anna Maria, all of their basics, and a handful of others, that the multi-line reps just don’t have sufficient time to cover it all and all of their other companies lines and do every designer the justice they deserve.  You can argue and tell me I am wrong, but this is the reality, as far as I can see it, and I am a realist.  The bottom line is that I want to give all designers a fair chance to sell.

FAIR CHANCE

I am confident this is a strong plan of attack.  When you see your Blank/Studioe rep, they will be very clear about what they are offering you from FreeSpirit.  To repeat, they WILL NOT be carrying the entire FreeSpirit line, just the Signature lines as described above.  This arrangement is not changing so please do not inquire about having your Blank/Studioe rep carry the entire line.  That is absolutely NOT part of the plan.  Sorry in advance if this is a disappointment as this is just a calculated business plan and we are sticking with it.  Feel free to email scott@jaftex.com with any questions or concerns you may have about this subject matter.

US & INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION

In the US, the only distributor continuing with the company will be Checker.  As for international, we are sticking with all the same overseas distributors.  Changes will be made as I see fit along the way.  I am hoping that with the changes that we implement that all distributors will be content and grow their businesses with our consistent support and methodical plan of action.  As mentioned in prior blogs, we are committed to getting FreeSpirit back on track and to making it one of the top fabric brands in our amazing industry.  Our goals are set!

If you haven’t heard, you should know that the sample cards for the newest lines will be shipped out the first week in May.  We are a month behind what used to be the regular FreeSpirit release schedule.  We anticipate that this will get right back on track before the end of the year.

Finally, I want to reiterate how excited my family and I are about this deal.  This is the deal of a lifetime and we consider ourselves to be very lucky that this business deal fell into our laps.  Everyone is working hard to cover all the bases and get the deal closed so we can best serve you, our valued customer.  We thank you for your patience during the transition as we all know it will take time for everything to be perfect.  From here on in, communication is critical, so if there is a problem, a concern, something on your mind, you need to make sure the proper people know including me.  You can always email me at scott@jaftex.com or call me at 800-294-9495 x 218.  There are no secrets anymore!

FreeSpirited & No Secrets Scott

P.S……Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page.

P.S.S.… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Good Things Come To Those Who Patiently Wait For The New FreeSpirit!

I love to hear all the chatter and optimism surrounding the Jaftex purchase of FreeSpirit.   On Facebook, I saw someone said, “Good things come to those who wait” and I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

My family is in this for the long haul.  We are studying all aspects of the business to see what can be improved, simplified and streamlined.  I spent a bunch of time reviewing the surveys, that Coats compiled in 2017, to read what shop owners had to say about the business.  The info was very insightful.  There were a few common themes that will be tackled first.

You will be happy to know that we are doing all we can to level the playing field on pricing and shipping.  This is so critical for such a well known and highly visible brand.  That being said, make sure your payments are up to date to avoid shipping interruptions from any of the Jaftex companies.  If you are in arrears, you don’t have a strong leg to stand on when bringing non-shipping complaints to our attention. Many people were asking for invoices, those will be emailed and attached to shipments when we take over.

We will have to address distribution as time goes on as it seems too many shops are not being well-served, when in fact they want to order FreeSpirit.  We can’t afford not to reach every person that wants to order.  We are not too good for anyone, trust me.  If need be, we will figure out other reasonable means to sell to those customers that aren’t getting enough attention.  Please let me know if you have this problem:  scott@jaftex.com.

ALSO, in the news:

  • We are going to have a brand new website.
  • We will have a dedicated shipping facility.
  • We are adding more inspections at the precut facilities to ensure top quality.
  • We are focused on keeping your favorite basics in stock.  In fact, we have loads of basics in process as we speak, if they aren’t already on the boat.
  • We have a full team of multi line reps assembled to cover all states, but for West Virginia.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).
  • Domestic shipping will be faster as our international partners buy more fabrics directly from the overseas mills instead of buying from our US stock.
  • There will be plenty of inventory to cover regular orders so we can ship complete as often as possible.  We especially want to be stocked up when the line is initially shipped so everyone gets their proper allocation and no one is left in the dust.  We don’t want to mess up your planning whatsoever!

Some of the items being sold by the old FreeSpirit were being sold at below market prices.  Yeah, I know!  Sure Scott!  For example, everyone knows digital is more costly than regularly printed goods.  With that, we will be getting the digital pricing in line with the market.  The same goes for poplin lines.  Like digital, poplin is more expensive.  There are a couple other price changes, but in general we are not trying to fleece everyone with much higher prices across the board.  REMINDER:  We are providing you with a premium brand from world renowned designers and the overhead of maintaining such a stable of designers is not low.

The major transition and official takeover of FreeSpirit is quickly approaching.  I expect that everything should be wrapped up by May 1.  By the way, the company is now only known as FreeSpirit.  Short & sweet!

The next couple of months are going to be nothing short of crazy for my peeps.  Please please please be patient with both Coats and Jaftex.  Coats is still going to be shipping for themselves and then a little bit for us to keep things flowing.  Keep in mind that we have to move over 1000 pallets of fabric across the state.  Yes 1000 pallets!  (I will have to get some photos.)  We have to move everyone to a new office….over 20 people. We have to move and transfer all the technology.  We have to decorate and furnish the offices.  I can go on and on, but I am sure you get the drift.

It has been a pleasure to work with the Coats team.  Considering that the business was almost closed, everyone really rallied to turn it around.  I am very thankful to Coats and especially Keith Howard who is handling the lions share of the logistics for this deal.  I think Coats has acted very fairly, they have been fully respectful of the deal and extremely helpful in trying to do whatever it takes to maintain the reputation of this amazing brand.  You have no idea what a difference that makes.  Kudos to team Coats!

Looking ahead, you should expect to see the latest and greatest lines from FreeSpirit starting in early May.  We will have a major presence at market.  I am hopeful that you will come by to see the new lines and show your support of the resurrection of FreeSpirit.  Please contact your sales rep to set up an appointment at market.  If you don’t have a rep, please email me scott@jaftex.com and I will gladly help you out.

Let me wrap this up as it is getting very lengthy and I have hit on most of the major points.  Please know that there are a lot of moving parts with this deal.  We hope to have everything under control, but there are always surprises lurking.  Please hang in with us as best as you can knowing that the future looks very bright.  One word of advice:  it may not be the best time to over promise.  Tread with caution until everything is under control and I give you the green light message.

I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support and patronage!

xxoo

FreeSpirited Scott

P.S. ANNA Maria Horner and her conservatory is going to be hosting the premier school house at quilt market.  Hope to see you there.

P.S.S..…Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page.

P.S.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Patience My Friends, Always!

I have been having a lot of crazy dreams lately and I think it is because the horrible shooting that occurred in Parkland Florida.  God bless all those that were murdered.  The most recent dream really blew my mind and freaked me out.  Ready?  Here goes.  Let me reiterate:   This is a dream.

As you hopefully know by now, I am giving away sewing machines to people down on their luck or struggling in life (broadly defined by me).  As I write this post, I probably have a pile of around 50-60 new requests for machines waiting to be reviewed and addressed.  I continue to work through the pile when I can, but this is a marathon and not a race.

So I am in my bed sleeping and dreaming.  Makes sense, right?  The setting of the dream is the Quilt Market in Portland.  By the way, please book your tickets for Quilt Market  ASAP. I digress.  So we are in the convention hall and everyone is doing their usual fabric selling stuff.  You know, a lot of touching and fondling of fabric.

Me personally, I am at the FreeSpirit booth with all my newest designer bffs. I mean, Kaffe is there, Tula, Amy, AnnaMaria, Brandon and the rest of the dream team.  Crazy that I met them in my dream before I met them in real life.  How ironic?

As we chat along, I am approached by a young woman who I didn’t know and had never seen before.  That woman asked if she could have a minute of my time.  I realized quickly that she didn’t realize I was talking to the royal family of FreeSpirit because she didn’t even look at them or acknowledge them.  How dare she?  LOL.   She was honed in on me.  I was thinking that it was probably just another one of my crazy superfans who wanted an autograph or selfie.  LOL AGAIN.

We step to the side and this young lady starts chatting me up about my sewing machine giveaway.  She was very familiar with it.  Out of nowhere the tone of the conversation dramatically changed and quickly.    The girl became enraged and I couldn’t figure out what got in to her.  She starts to flail her arms around in anger.  This is when the dream took a turn for the worse.   You may want to sit down.

She reaches in to her waistband in a very rapid movement.  Holy crapamole!  She’s got a freakin’ gun……at quilt market nonetheless.   Then she  blows me away with one shot to the heart.   Blood is gushing all over the beautiful and plush quilt market carpet and all the booths.  Here’s the best part,  someone is working hard with her team to clean up the mess.   I wonder what the dream interpreters would make of that.  Anyhow, love you. You rock!  I digress again.

It turns out that this young woman’s grandmother submitted a request to me for a free sewing machine.  In an email I wrote to her grandmother, the grandmother thought I was blowing off her request and I wouldn’t grant her a sewing machine for some reason….omg a total misunderstanding?  She misinterpreted an email that I wrote to her and thought she was out of the running and was super upset.   Hence the shooting.  The truth was, that in the email, I was just asking her for patience as I worked through the huge pile of requests. It turned out that her grandmother was next in line to get a machine.   How ironic!

The moral of the story is don’t bring guns to quilt market.  But seriously, don’t shoot me because then I can’t give away anymore machines.  No, no, no!  The real moral of the story is that after you submit a request for a sewing machine in the comments section of any of my blog posts, you need to be very patient with me.   A sign that you will likely get a machine or at least a call to discuss with me your predicament is when I ask you for your email and phone number.  That’s the tell.  Watch for it and wait.  No  need to keep checking in with me as I have a great system to run the giveaway and it’s been working great.

With that, I thank you all for your support of the free sewing machine giveaway and my self proclaimed sewing revolution #sewrevolution.   Please keep spreading the word  about my giveaway as we are surrounded by tragedy and struggles.  I plan to give machines away indefinitely as I am now totally committed.

Special thanks to Olfa for partnering with me and sending products to sewing machine recipients.  I am proud to announce that they just extended their offer to supply notions to machine winners beyond the originally 50 that were promised.  Way to get involved Olfa! Thank you for joining me to push the #sewrevolution agenda and truly stepping up.  With that, aren’t there other companies out there that want to get involved with this novel idea?   My door is open and I welcome discussions.  I would love to have more partners to try to help to prop up our industry and those suffering in life.

In closing, please don’t get freaked out because this was just a dream.  A DREAM!  Yes, a dream.  D—R—E—A—M!   Don’t start spreading rumors that I got shot.  And finally, I end with a question that I must keep repeating to my sewing revolutionaries…..what are you doing to support the sewing revolution and the downturn in the number of people quilting & sewing?

Have an amazing week.

This is Scott “I was NOT really shot” Fortunoff

P.S.  I think I am losing it lately.

P.S.S.…Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page.

P.S.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Who Knew?

Who knew?  Who knew that my world was going to be turned upside down because of this deal?  Who knew that my work life would never be the same again?  Oh, if you haven’t heard, Jaftex (my family business) purchased FreeSpirit in the deal of a lifetime, said I.   Who knew that my phone would be blowing up with so many congratulatory calls?  Who knew how hard it would be to keep up with the outpouring of positivity, excitement, encouragement, relief and love.  I am not kidding.  Let’s hug it out!!!!!!  (I hate when people put a million!!!!!!! in a row).

Our shareholders, meaning consumers and shop owners, have given a resounding thumbs up to this purchase.  The outpouring is unreal and it just crystallizes the importance of this deal for my family and for the entire textile industry.   This is the transaction that we have been waiting so patiently for. FINALLY!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

As I have also said, this industry needs consolidation and perhaps this will be the  start of a new wave.  I think a fabric merger mania Monday is in the cards so to speak.  When I was a stock trader, CNBC Business News would often have merger Monday as most deals are hammered out on the weekends and announced Monday. Ahem.  How ironic?  Makes sense? Recall that we announced our deal on a Monday.

We have definitely been looking for new targets (eesh that sounds so violent), how about new partners?  That’s not correct either.  A seller?  Yes!  This opportunity came out of nowhere when we got the email that FreeSpirit was closing.  We had heard rumblings, as I am sure you probably did too, but there is always so much rumor and nonsense being spread in our industry.   I am sure it is not unlike other industries.   Fake news!

Anyway, my dad made the call to the FreeSpirit management and that got the ball rolling.   The rest is history.  Here’s one for you dad:   I guess you haven’t lost your touch in your over 50 years in the textile industry.   Love ya man!   (My dad totally reads the blogs.  He likes to say that he “caught up on my blogs over the weekend.” Then my mom calls to say that my dad showed her the blogs and she loves them yadda yadda.  It’s classic).

Everyone has so many questions as do I.  I love it how people presume that within a day of doing this deal that I immediately know which way is up including every small and large detail about FreeSpirit.  As my dad always likes to say, “we don’t even know where the bathroom is yet.” Don’t forget that I was away when this deal was amazingly consummated by my brother and dad.  I will be heading to the office this week and will also be at the VDTA show in Charlotte so I will get to visit two times in the coming weeks. There is a lot to learn and I look forward to meeting all the new people and all the new challenges.  We are excited about how many employees have decided to stay with FreeSpirit.  This should greatly help to keep the transitional tumult to a minimum.  Thank you in advance to the new team at FreeSpirit.  I look forward to the our future together.

If you have questions, I suggest that you contact the same people or person as you would have in the past.  Or you can call the office number and  get help that way…the number is 866-907-3305.  Or you can always contact me and I will point you in the right direction.  Don’t be shy people because we want to make this transition as quick and painless as possible.

What I can tell you is that all the January released lines are moving forward except the Sprout line by Joel Dewberry.  The reps should have their next samples under the new ownership around quilt market.

All the sales and distribution channels shall remain the same for the time being.  We of course need time to evaluate all the existing partners that FreeSpirit has to see how strong they all are.  As you know, I am all for change, but that change has to come for the proper reasons.  As such, this deal is a work in progress and I expect it to take about a year before all the details and kinks are smoothed out.  At that point, the business should be able to more or less run on auto-pilot.  And then, we will be ready for the next deal!

Thanks for your time.  Have a fabulous week.

FreeSpirited Scott

P.S……Here is where you can sign up for my Executive Facebook page.   

P.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Rise Of The Superfan

I am totally obsessed with the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm lately. I went back and started watching the original episodes and I just can’t contain my laughter. I am talking belly laughs, drooling, hyperventilating, headache kind of laughing.  You know what I am talking about, right?

In a recent episode, Larry David, the star, has a whole schtick whereby he judges people on whether their appreciation or thank you is in line with the kind gesture of another.  In this case, Larry’s act of kindness was to let a co-workers’ married relatives stay at his house for a couple days.  It’s freakin’ hysterical and you should check it out. Long story short, it turns out that the house guests were swingers, but that’s a story for another day.  Needless to say, it was nothing short of brilliant comedy as usual.

Anyhow, in light of our recent acquisition of FreeSpirit, I wanted to say that the thank yous have WAY exceeded our actions.  So we are all good now and we can still be friends.  My family could not be any more appreciative for the outpouring of love and support.  Thank you for coming on this amazing journey with us.  I promise to continue to give you a birds eye view of what’s going on behind the scenes and keep you on the inside track the whole time.

This all reminds me about the Social Media Marketing World conference that I just attended in San Diego.  Many of the speakers harped on attaining the ultimate superfan.  This is what everyone should be looking to achieve for their business, the super fan.  That person that eat sleeps and breathes you and everything about you or your company or your product.  You can do no wrong by them.  These superfans actually work for you, but they don’t even realize that they work for you and you aren’t even paying them. (Let’s try to keep this between us).  In our case, it is the total and complete obsession with the FreeSpirit designers and their fabrics.  I have never witnessed anything like this before. I truly had no idea and let’s say that I am ecstatic about these obsessions.

With that, I want to remind everyone that FreeSpirit is back in business and ready to serve you with amazing fabrics and inspiration. Please just bear with us as we transition to the new ownership and deal with the immediate changes and challenges.   All the Jaftex companies are still in business too and ready to serve you as well.  Call your sales reps. Call your distributor. Call your local quilt shop proprietor. Call customer service.  Get on the website!  Call me! When the person on the phone answers, you should just start rattling off all the fabrics you want to order by FreeSpirit or any of our awesome family owned companies.  You got this.

What are you waiting for? Go go go!

Superfan Seeker Scott

Have a great week!

P.S……Here is where you can sign up for my Executive Facebook page.   

P.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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