TALES OF A FOURTH GENERATION TEXTILE EXECUTIVE: JACKSON HOLE-E COW “I AM CURED”

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive:  Jackson Hole-e  Cow “I Am Cured”

Notes from Day 2.

My Jackson euphoria has faded away fast, but the memories remain ingrained.  Now I am back to the real world.  With that, it is 5:30 a.m. and my daddy duties were in full effect last night.  Poor Ace got sick just as my wife and I fell asleep.  We spent the next hour in the laundry room gagging from the stench and stuff.  It was kind of funny.  I hate to gross you out, but it shows that there is more to life than just selling fabric and working.

Family is so important and I love my two boys (the 5th Generation)and my wife.

It was hard to fall back asleep after the excitement of the night, so I took a 5:43 a.m. train into Manhattan.  When I arrived, it was dark, but the air was fresh like in Jackson Hole.  Speaking of Jackson, day 2 was full of adventure.  At 9 a.m. Thad, the guide, picked me up to go fly fishing.  You know what they say, when in Jackson, you have to go fly fishing.   We first got a mandatory fishing license and then drove to a takeoff spot.  On the way, I saw a coyote which was neat.  It was now just me, Thad, our boat, oars, the river, my life vest, the cold air, wildlife, fishing poles and lures.  Thad taught me all the basics of fly fishing and before I knew it, I was catching fish.  He knew his stuff and I learned a lot from him, not only about fishing, but about wildlife, Wyoming politics, life and more.  In all, I caught 5 fish….Whitties and Cutthroats.  5 miles and 5 hours later, we were done.  In a word, awesome!

I was so tired after the fishing that I took a 2 hour nap….NOT!  Life is too short to nap…especially in Jackson Hole.   I showered up and got dolled up for the rest of the day’s events.  I wore grey pants, a clean white button down and my lucky blue sport coat.  I always say, if you want to be important, you need to look important.  I headed over to “Stitch ‘n Time” and hung out for a bit.  It was hopping at the shop as classes had just let out.  A lot of people were chatting with me as everyone knew who I was.  At around 5:15, I gave Kim, the shop owner, the sign that it was time to go for dinner.  It was me and 5 lovely guild members.  I forget the name of the restaurant that we went to, but they had a wicked good lamb chop.   After dinner, we went to the Teton Valley Fair Building for the big event.

The big event was the Evening Social.  It was a big event for me because it was my first real speaking debut.  As my blog followers know, I am not fond of public speaking (recall glossophobia), but I have to do it because it is a fact of my life and it is important to help me grow as a businessperson.  To be honest, it is so much easier to just write a blog and take the easy way out.  After a warm introduction from Janet, a guild leader, I was handed the microphone.  At that moment, I had a bad flashback to my Bar-Mitzvah, December 7, 1986.  Like that day, I felt queasy, nervous and sweaty, until I uttered my first word.  That was all it took for me to calm down…..one single word.  Imagine that?  In all, I spoke for about one and a half hours with some breaks.

Since I came with minimal prepared comments, the “speech” took a life of its own.  It was amazing to see nearly 100 people watching and listening to me so intently.  I covered so many different topics and as time went on and became more and more comfortable speaking.  Believe it or not, I think I might have cured my glossophobia in Jackson Hole.  Who would have thunk?  It only took 40 years and the perfect audience to overcome my fear.

The truth is that I don’t remember everything that I spoke about, as it was kind of like an out of body experience for me, but here are some things I do remember.  Many of the topics were things that I have covered in my blogs.

  • The Peppered Cotton Challenge!
  • Work travels to the south, India and throughout the U.S.
  • The roots of the family business.
  • How lines are created and developed.
  • Licensing.
  • Selling.
  • Different fabrics.
  • All the countries where we buy our fabrics and the difference in quality and pricing.
  • I showed old photos from my grandfather’s scrapbook of our offices in the 1930’s.
  • How we owned plants in the past, but not anymore.
  • How goods are double and rolled.
  • My life and how I got to where I am today.

That is the gist of it, so if you want to know more, you will have to come and see me the next time I have another speaking engagement.  Looking forward to receiving more invites to speak in front of guilds…bring it on and keep on quilting.  Don’t forget that Studioe customers are the best!  Make sure to come and visit me at booth #328 at the quilt market in Houston. The secret password to get my attention is “Let’s Go Fly-Fishing”

Stay tuned for Day 3 in Jackson Hole.

Sayonara,

Dadde Scott (as my son calls me)

TALES OF A FOURTH GENERATION TEXTILE EXECUTIVE: JACKSON HOLE -E- COW DAY 1

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive:  Jackson Hole – Day 1.

Jackson hole-e cow!  Sickest work trip ever!  I am so not used to a work trip that is actually enjoyable and not so much work and definitely no hard work for certain (don’t tell my boss-dad).  I could get used to this.  The wonderful fresh air, beautiful views, traffic-less streets and some of the most friendly and warm people are in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  This sure ain’t New York!

Arrived late Wednesday night and unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy the views at that time because it was so dark.  But that made it that much better when I awoke early Thursday morning and looked out into the mountains as I sat and ate breakfast.  In a word…breathtaking.  In another word…heaven.  Call my wife and kids and tell them I won’t be making it home for dinner….ever again!  I am cracking up just picturing my wife’s face.

I had some time before my first Jackson Hole Quilt Festival “event”, so what did I do?  I made like a cowboy and went on a horseback ride.

Scott the cowboy

 

One of the festival organizers hooked me up at a local horse ranch and I got a free ride….yippee–kye–yeah.   My horse Pepsico and my tour guide Oren were both great, but unfortunately the only wildlife I saw were some chipmunks and cattle, but I am not complaining, I am just saying.  Oren did say he saw some bears the day before…I was way jealous.

 

Next, I took a rather ambitious ride to Rexburg, Idaho to see some customers.  I would say that the solid hour and a half ride was boringly beautiful, if you know what I mean by that.  I traveled through some tiny towns that seemed like they were from another era, but they were precious.  One of the signs said population 160…holy tiny.  That is like the number of people in my passenger car on the train to work.  It’s another world in the Mid-west compared to what I am used to in New York, but I love it if you haven’t figured that out yet.  Change is good once and awhile and this was the kind of change I needed to experience to get me re-invigorated about my job and ready for what I hope will be a successful quilt market.

After Rexburg, I headed back to Jackson for a meet- and-greet at the quilt shop in Jackson…”Stitch ‘n Time” on Alpine Lane.  The owner, Kim Kerr, is the organizer of the Festival, which is in its second year.  Her shop is one of the largest I’ve seen in awhile.  It was very spacious and interestingly I learned that the openness of the shop was to cater to people in wheelchairs.  Wow! Isn’t that thoughtful?  Damn, those Wyominginians (is that a word) are considerate!  The place was rocking because the daily classes had just let out.  It’s always awesome to see people line up at the counter and to see the quilt shops flourish as I am always rooting for my customers.  It was even more awesome to see that a lot of people were buying up the new Studioe shot cottons.

A small crowd gathered and I then had the chance to chat and to show them the new lines being released at quilt market.  The customers enjoyed having this rare glimpse that quilt shop owners everywhere experience so often.  As always, it was insightful to hear comments about the lines.  After a couple hours of that, I was invited to dinner at a little Mexican joint with 3 of the guild members. They were so inquisitive and interested in all aspects of the fabric business and me as a fourth generationer.  After a quick bite and some conversation, we headed over to the Snow King Hotel for an evening class by Kelly Gallagher Abbott of Jukebox Quilts in Fort Collins, Colorado.  She gave an excellent lecture on long arm quilting, among other things, as she is a Gammill quilting machine dealer.  It was kind of Spanish to me, but everyone was really into it and what I did follow was neat.  Day 1 is done.  Stay tuned for day 2.  In the meantime, happy quilting.

Yours Truly,

The Driver Of The Studioe Ship

TALES OF A FOURTH GENERATION TEXTILE EXECUTIVE: LET THE JOURNEY BEGIN

As promised, I am making all efforts to blog it up a little more consistently.  So, here I am sitting in seat 24c on the way to Denver for a layover and ultimately to a place that I haven’t been to in awhile.  Let me give you some hints….Reggie, Michael, Jesse, Kendall, Andrew, Latoya and Jermaine to name a few.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, all these people have the last name Jackson.  I particularly like Kendall, the wine guy, as I imagine, or hope, that you quilters enjoy a nice glass of wine or two or twelve while working your magic on the sewing machine.  I am not condoning quilting and drinking, but I am not speaking against it either.  Just be smart.

Anyhow, so if you haven’t figured it out yet, I am headed to the beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming.   Why you might ask?  As I often do, I received an email request for a fabric donation for what is to be the Jackson Hole Quilt Festival.  I emailed the person in charge and long story short I agreed to sponsor the event on behalf of Studioe and Henry Glass (not sure if I mentioned this, but Henry Glass Fabrics is under the JAFTEX umbrella too).  I got to talking with the woman in charge, and before I knew it, I somehow volunteered to be the guest speaker at the Friday night social. I guess I was just in a good mood that day.

Allow me to digress.  Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking.  This is a phobia of mine and like my previous blog where I was nervous about dressing up as a woman, once again, I need my therapist to increase my Xanax dosage.  This phobia started in law school after enduring some serious grilling during a trial that I wasn’t well prepared for.  The fear is improving slowly though as my job and life do require me to publicly speak more frequently than most and much more frequently than I like.  That being said, the best way to get over the fear of public speaking is to public speak.  So I am going to man up and enlighten the social attendees about the fabric industry and anything they want to know about it, and me.  Since I hated law school so much, I thought I would structure the social like a law class…..spite is a beautiful thing.  That is, not with a boring preplanned lecture, but rather, I am almost totally unprepared and will see the direction that the crowd wants to go in based on their questions.  Wish me luck as this should be interesting.  Considering the glossophobia, I am not sure how this will work out, but I will be certain to let you know upon my return….if I make it.

Back to the subject at hand, I am very excited about this trip as I will have some free time to see the sights.  The problem is that since our government is so dysfunctional that the parks will be closed and I will probably miss out on some beautiful sightseeing, hiking and fishing.  How unlucky!  I will make the best of it though as I am a creative guy.

In any case, the plane is going to land soon and the second leg of my trip will begin.  I can’t wait to report back to you, my dear blog followers.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, I wish you happy quilting and hope you are praying for my survival of the social….1 hour and 100 people…yikes.

Yours truly,

SMF