GUEST POST: Sew We Quilt–Part Two

Welcome to my world of RUSH!

 

So by now you have visited with my most amazing project designers today, and there will be no surprise to me that they will all be rushing to see what you have got to say about their amazing projects. 

 

That is what we do, we continue to cheer them on from the very first day to the last.  You do it because you lift someone else’s heart the way we have lifted yours. As I keep saying, it pays to be a cheerleader.

 

And look who shares my day! Please cheer for them. It is never easy to be on the same day as me, is it ladies? There are a few of you that I just know will have my heart rushing.

 

Tuesday, September 30

 

Lily Patch

MooseStash Quilting

Words & Stitches

Karma Willow Designs

Kwilt Krazy

How arT you?

Sew We Quilt 

 

Carol, that other lady, always manages to keep us all together and constantly cheers from beginning to END. Pay attention future cheerleaders, be a cheerleader now, never ever be late, keep creating and raising your BAR.  That is what we are looking for, more Carols. So Carol, thank you! You matter.

 

Now what do I have in store for YOU?

 

Let’s see.  From the moment I spoke with STUDIO E, I just knew this man would keep my heart pounding.  He has had me in a state of rush for months!  (And here is a shocker, I still  like him.) 

 

So what did I want to design?

 

It helps to have some java in my veins, and as much as I love my Keurig, on occasion I love my Bodum. Guatemala has been my favorite ground coffee for this French Press.

 

Problem though.

 

What drove me crazy was, after the first cup was poured, the rest is cold.

 

So I created a java jacket that has a pillow sleeve inside filled with 100 % goose down.  This fabric matches our home, my kitchen and speaks to me, even with its sweet red ruffle. Yep, that was my very first design. 

 

Oh, by the way, it keeps my whole pot hot for 2 hours.

 

Java jacket + Rush Hour = Hot brew

 

Check that off my list.

 

Next I needed a cover for my iPhone. I hate cell phones of any kind.  I usually leave it at home.  I hated the black leather cover it was in, so I created an envelope and it is so compact.  It fits perfect in my iPad or iMac Air, or my Tammy even, and it is stylish.  Now I don’t mind bringing it along. I don’t use it, but it is with me.


Check that off my list.



I sit outside a lot in the summer and fall on our lovely deck. The problem is pesky bugs.  I have my breakfast there each morning and nothing annoys me more than bees and flies snooping in my space.  So I designed a new cover using eight different pieces of Rush Hour.  They cannot peak and cannot get in. Problem solved, Un Covert, cover in French! 

 

Now check that off my list.

 

 

I also have an iPad.  I have had so many covers for it, but nothing spoke to me.  I needed a theme to match.  Will you look here…a large coffee button that was gifted to me. (Love it.) Problem, where to put it?

 

Problem solved.  It fits perfect with the Rush Hour coffee cups, ruffle and handle. (I needed a padded handle, because I am balancing my tray to have breakfast outside and I don’t like making 2 trips.)  On the back I stitched “I’m UP” since it is the first gadget that I take with me when I go outside to read what you are all up too.

 

Check that off my list.

 

 

By the way, all of covers were stitched with superior metallic threads.  They are perfect for that bit of bling and my machine loves it.  It does not break like other metallic threads.  I did this one in reds.  Thanks to Bob for great threads! 

 

Next I needed a padded cover for my iMac Air.  It travels the most with me so I wanted it to be durable and something that would not show wear and tear. This Lettered Rush Hour collection was a perfect choice since it answered my problem of having one that is stylish and functional.

 

Check that ONE off my list too…

 

 

No problem solved here, I just wanted to make another doll.  La Modele is a doll I have been making since 1992.  I have made her in so many styles it amazes me that I have never tire of her.  She looks quite appealing in Rush Hour and looks rather calm.  Could be I just wore her out.  But wait there is more!


 

I was not happy with just one padded iMac Cover, I wanted another. Well, what if the other is soiled? Can’t have that can I? So I have a plan B.  Check that off my list too, a back up cover for my iMac Air.


 

And I never need an excuse to make a Tammy bag.  The only problem I had was which Rush Hour fabric to choose.  I chose 4 different ones.  Check the pocket for cups and check that off my list.

 

 

I just got off the phone (this would be yesterday) but I am writing this today (yesterday) and you are reading it today. Confused?  Let me pour you a cup of coffee…with Mr. President.


We will be working with STUDIO E next year TWICE.  Yes 2 more times.  A collection for Christmas in July and a collection for next years Wicked. theme.

 

He was funny.  I said ” no more talking till next year.” His comment? “We will see.”

 

I do like him and I thank him for believing in you and I.  Because my sweet ladies, you rocked it on this hop.

 

You matter, Scott.  You matter STUDIO E. And you all matter bunches to me.

 

Top 2 of our day will be posted later this morning.  See you in a bit.




Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: On The Road Again, Pitfalls & Benefits Of Business Travel (part 2)

Last week’s blog focused on the pitfalls of business travel. This week, I am going to focus on some positive aspects. Here goes:


There is nothing more beneficial than seeing customers face to face, especially in this world where everything is now a text, email, bbm, iMessage, etc.  Some of the insights I have gained on the road directly from my customers have been real game changers. 



If you like making a living, you need to actually go see customers to get orders.  I am sure others have figured out ways to sell customers without visiting them, but for us, face to face is still critical.


There is so much to learn being on a customer’s turf.  It helps you to better understand their business, how they think and it allows you to tailor your selling to their needs.  Know your customer!



When I am on the road I like to take customers out for a meal. That way I can actually learn about them and hear more than just about business.  Business, business, business makes Scott a very dull boy.


Traveling with professional sales reps helps me see a variety of different selling approaches.  Some of which I use, and others that I tell the reps to not use ever again.


I learn about all the regional differences in fabric tastes.


When I visit our warehouse, I get in touch with my inventory.  I find things I didn’t know I had. I also get to spend time talking to the hardworking laborers to try and help them solve problems to improve our business and make them more efficient.  


When I go to our office in South Carolina I often tape my YouTube video for the next big fabric releases.  This helps a lot in marketing and selling our products.


At quilt market, I have the unique opportunity to work with our international distributors.  This is the most critical aspect for me.  I also learn about what is going on with fabric in other parts of the world.


As for the guilds and customer shows, it helps to show my support of customers and get exposure for the Jaftex brands.  This goodwill goes a long way with customers and they appreciate the support.  Not only that, but it puts a face behind the company which not a lot of companies care about.  But I do!  



In the end, travel is a necessary evil.  You just have to try to make the best of it and not make it all about work.  Something as simple as pulling over in your car and chilling out for a couple minutes is nice too.  Close your eyes, take a deep breathe and relish the moment in this beautiful country we live in, you earned it.  I am off to the airport!


Safe travels,


Scott


Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Day Of Atonement Revisited

Dear Friends,

As you may or may not have known, this past weekend was the culmination of the last 10 days of penitence in the Jewish religion.  As you also may or may not know, for no particular reason, I am not the most religious person in the world, but do have full respect for all religions and races.  That being said, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are holidays where I do go to temple to pray, atone for my sins and celebrate the Jewish New Year. 

 

Yes, I know, you can’t believe that I sin.  Well, believe it or not, I am unfortunately not as perfect as I appear.  (This is where you are supposed to laugh).  Moving on.

 

As I sat at temple, pondering a range of fleeting thoughts, I came up with a blog subject.  I thought it would only be appropriate for me to atone for my sins on the corporate level.  Hint:  I am totally struggling for good blog subject matter so bear with me.  Anyhow,  I am gearing up to apologize for the sins that my company may have committed against you.  Mind you, I personally do not like to hold grudges and hope that you don’t either as life is just too short to hold on to grudges.  So before I start laying on the apologies, if you plan on reading it, you will be inherently accepting the apologies from me and the companies run by my family.

Forgive us for:

Late deliveries.

Early deliveries.

Deliveries to the wrong address.

Damaged boxes.  Even though that is usually the shipping company’s fault.

Short shipping.

Over shipping.

Backorders.

Not giving you credit.

Shipping 10s, 11s, 12s, 13s, 14s, 16s, 17s, etc. when you wanted a 15 yard cut.

Shipping an entire collection minus the lead pattern.

Not returning your call or email quickly enough.

Not following your explicit instructions.

Messing up the free project instructions.

Giving you misinformation.

Not meeting your delivery requirements.

Not getting you an invoice soon enough.

Being rude if that is how you interpreted the New Yorker’s in us.

 

Ignoring you.

Whatever we may have done to have wronged you.  (blanket listing)

 

I could go on and on with potential reasons to be apologizing, but I think you get the drift.  If you think of an apology that I have not listed, please consider it listed under the blanket listing. 

Like most businesses, we do try hard to improve our business each and every day. 

 

 

 

I am confident that this atonement is just one additional step toward improving our business relationships.  So please accept my most heartfelt apology for any harm we may have done to you.  Moreover, if there is something bothering you about any of our companies, please let me know so that I can try to fix it.

 

Thank you for listening and thank you for accepting my apology.  And let us all say together, “Amen to that Scott.”  I am looking forward to a strong finish to 2014.  Thanks for your partnership and friendship.

Sincerely,

Scott

Pearle Giveaway

 

Remember the beautiful Pearle fabric we gave away a few weeks ago?  It’s back! We’re giving away one 18″ x 21″ quarter cut bundle of our Pearle line.  To enter to win, all you have to do is comment this post.  You can also comment any link of this post on our Facebook page for an extra entry.  

*Contest ends October 3rd, 9:00 am EST.  Open to US residents only.*

 

Pearle giveaway

 

 

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on all our social media outlets for the latest updates on all things Studioe.

 

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GUEST POST: Sew We Quilt

 
GOOD DAY and thank you Scott for inviting me to post about what we do at Sew We Quilt.
 
 

Imagine a global quilting society, that is what we are. We gather women from all over the world to share their stitches, their humor, their exquisite projects with us. Twice a month we have a theme blog hop that challenges our ladies to new heights. Be it a new collection like your Rush Hour learning a new technique or sharing a new pattern, we come together from the privacy of our own homes and we connect. We give everyone 2 months notice to create their project. 

 
 
The past 12 months, we have logged in 4.8 million unique visitors.  We are a buy, sew, and show blog. Everyone is encouraged to purchase fabric, or notions or even patterns all the while pouring dollars back into an industry we are all pretty passionate about.
 
 
Prior to being a blog hop blog , we were a tutorial blog, but we noted people were just collecting patterns and tuts. Few were actually making anything so I thought “let’s get them sewing and stitching by a due date” and blog hops were a way of doing that. Anyone can join in and although we limit our hops to 5-6 members a day, we try to embrace all those who are committed.
 
 
Our Rush Hour blog is a success already( day 3)  I have noted the caliber of ladies evolving with more creativity, more detail.  They take pride in what they create.  It is hard not to be proud of their growth. I say “we” because nobody does it alone. We have cheerleaders who are essential to our success, they are recruited for being just that- great cheerleaders for all those who participate in our unique society. They do continue to inspire and challenge me too.
 
 
They all have come to embrace- “that I am always behind them, gently moving them forward.”
 
 
So with gratitude it is companies like yours who will continue to inspire us with your lovely collections.  Here is a sampling of those who WOWed us and moved us with their creativity.
 
 
We choose top 2 each day, and in the near future they will be recipients of new collections to create the next blog hop theme. It pays to be part of our unique society. 
 
 
A lovely feminine Rush Hour lap quilt. 
 
 
 

A cover for a lap top.
 
 
 

A brick quilt that will be a classic years from now. 
 
 
 

A reminder wakey is really part of our every day.
 
 
 

A lovely tote, perfect for a Rush Hour trip.
 
 
A modern floating block quilt. 
 
 
 
A classic tote with quilt in tow….a perfect picnic quilt. 
 
Ohhh and La Modele doll enjoying the view!
 
YOU matter to us
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: On The Road Again, Pitfalls & Benefits Of Business Travel (part 1)

As my father and I patiently sit waiting in the Fayetteville Arkansas Airport for an update on our delayed flights (we don’t travel together ever), I thought business travel would be a good blog subject.


Many people in the fabric industry (sales reps, managers, designers, distributors, etc.) have to partake in a decent amount of business travel, it is just part of the job. Me personally, I take my fair share of trips to see quilt shop customers, chains, distributors, travel with sales reps, visit our warehouses and office in South Carolina, attend quilt market twice a year, attend guild events like in Jackson Hole or the Shipshewana Festival.



The worst part of travel for me is being away from my family, especially my little munchkins and wife.  Here are some other top reasons why being on the road stinks:


Travel is very tiring.  I unfortunately am unable to sleep on a plane and hotels aren’t so easy either..those pillows are way too high for me and there are always so many annoying noises.  There is nothing like your own bed, that is for sure.


Travel is expensive.  Airport prices make movie theaters look inexpensive.  Case in point, I decided to buy a phone card for a soldier at the Charlotte Airport (I was searching for some good karma).  The man says that will be $13.  I say fine. Then he hits me with an additional $3 plus in tax.  For a phone card donation?  Seriously?  Can I get a tax deduction?



Flight delays are el stinko, flight diversions are the pits and cancellations are the icing on the cake, but the worst of all for me is bad turbulence.  One time we went in for a landing, a big wind hit right when we almost touched down and the pilot pulled back up into the air.  That was all after a long bout of bad turbulence.  So when we finally did land, I could hear several passengers saying that they almost vomited.  I definitely felt the same.  All it would have taken was one person to have gotten the ball rolling and it would have been a barforama like in the movie Stand By Me. 


Weather is a major wild card and it sure bites when you are on the plane and the weather is bad.  Or how about getting stuck in Houston for 5 extra days when Hurricane Sandy hit after quilt market?


Going thru security at the airport is so annoying.  Don’t get me started.  You might as well just get naked as that would be a lot easier than the torture that TSA puts you through.


Lines, lines, lines everywhere. 


Traffic could also wreck havoc, like the time there was a forest fire by the two lane highway going to Atlanta.  It was a parking lot for over four hours. 



Hotels totally skeeve me out.  Like the hotel in Tupelo with the creepy hot tub in the room and mirrors all around.  It looks like a place where porn is filmed.  I would hate to be a fly on the wall in that room.  Or how about the 3 inch spider I saw scurrying across the floor in my room?  I covered it up with a coffee cup and left a surprise for housekeeping.  How else are they going to learn to call an exterminator?


And what about all the germs, germs and more germs?


Food on the road is subpar, unhealthy, greasy and also expensive.  The trick is not to catch any food borne illnesses which definitely does happen especially to those who spend more time on the road than at home.  Watch those dirty lemons! 


I hate that my clothes are always wrinkled.  I often steam up the bathroom and try to  smooth things out as the iron and I are not friends. 


My hair always looks crappy because they don’t make my good gel in travel size. 


The worst of all is when the customer cancels the appointment after you have already begun your travels or are already there.  Kill me please!


Quilt market often falls on Halloween so I miss that fun holiday with the kids. 


I can go on and on, but I won’t.  There are some positives about traveling also, just not too many and I will discuss those in part 2 of this blog next week. 

Cotton Candy Giveaway

 

It’s Friday and time for another giveaway! Congratulations to Beth for winning last week’s Pirouette giveaway. Today we’re giving away a fabric bundle we have only given away once before.  We’re giving away one 18″ x 21″ quarter cut bundle of our Cotton Candy flannel line.  To enter to win, all you have to do is comment this post. You can also comment on any link of this post on our Facebook page for an extra entry. Be on the lookout on our other social media sites for other potential opportunities to win.

*Contest ends September 26, 9:00 am EST.  Open to US residents only.*

 

Cotton Candy by Studioe Fabrics

 

 

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on all our social media outlets for the latest updates on all things Studioe.

 

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Exclusive Sales Reps, Multi-Line Sales Reps & Distributors Discussed

As you know from my last blog, Studioe & A.E. Nathan are changing from multi-line sales reps to the Blank Quilting Corp. exclusive sales force.  I thought that I would delve into this subject a little further to discuss exclusive sales forces, multi-line reps. and distributors.  I wanted to touch on some of the positives and negatives of each.



Exclusive sales reps do just what it sounds like they do, they carry lines exclusively for one company. In the case of Jaftex, the reps are now carrying three companies, but ones that are all under the same umbrella.  Most exclusive reps carry one line and only one line. Multi-line reps, on the other hand, carry multiple lines.  Their loyalty usually lies with the company or companies that sell the best for them which makes total sense.  I have heard that some of these reps could carry up to 10 lines.  Not all 10 lines are very large i.e. some will carry a small homespun line, batik line or a flannel line like A.E. Nathan’s.  That being said, they still have a lot to schlep around and that definitely takes a toll on you over time.  One pitfall of having multi-line reps carry your line is that it is hard to show all the lines in one sitting because there is so much to show and shop owners tend to get bored after three or four hours. So sometimes a line doesn’t get shown at all, which I imagine might have happened to Studioe since we were one of the new kids on the block.  This was definitely a contributing factor in the decision to move Studioe to the Blank team.  


Then there are distributors who not only carry loads of lines, but they also sell notions, patterns, books, etc.  Some of the larger distributors include E.E. Schenck, Checker, Brewer, Troy, Foust and Christensen’s.  Studioe, Henry Glass and A.E. Nathan all use the majority of large US distributors.  Upon acquiring Blank, they only had relationships with a couple distributors, but we decided to cut all ties with distributors to focus on the direct sales force.  The thought was that we would increase the flexibility of the reps being able to be more aggressive about pricing without having to worry about hurting our distributors as they demand an even playing field. Distributors typically buy at a discount to the direct to store price and then have their reps sell at the same price as our reps. So you can understand how difficult things could be if price structures are not adhered to.


Here are some of the benefits and detriments of each role. For exclusive reps, the problems include not making enough to survive as the product offering is limited, bearing the high costs of travel, gas and food.  For all fabric sellers, quality of life is a big issue as is being away from loved ones.  Some ways around the exclusive rep issues are to pay the rep a salary/draw, provide a car allowance and/or a food stipend. In our case, we increased the commission for the Blank reps and gave the reps two additional lines (Studioe & A.E. Nathan).  Now they have more to sell and in effect should have more commissions flowing to them while their expenses stay the same.  A positive aspect of being exclusive is that you have one boss to listen to. Carrying 10 lines and having to answer to 10 people could get nuts.  For me, that would be like having 10 wives.  I am joking.  Speaking of which, my wife and I celebrated 7 years of marriage yesterday!  


For multi-line reps, some challenges include keeping up with all the constantly changing lines from the various vendors, coordinating the timing of receiving the various lines and coordinating appointments.  Another downside for multi-line reps is that they could get “fired” a lot as companies are often rejiggering their sales force. The good news is that they still have their other lines to sell.  Recently, when I called to advise one of the Studioe reps that we were changing the sales force, he said to me, “Scott, I have been fired so many times over the years.”  Some positives for multi-line reps is that they frequently have new product to offer which helps to get them frequent appointments.  If the rep carries a line in his territory exclusively, where he is the only one carrying the line i.e. no distributors, that rep could be in high demand if he has a hot line.  No doubt that that is a good feeling.


For distributor sales reps, some challenges include keeping track of all of the different products, carrying so much product and getting paid a lower commission than direct or exclusive reps.  Some positives include having a ton of product to offer and receiving lots of support from the parent company.  Nowadays, a large majority of distributors are also producing their own fabric lines so in some cases the distributor’s rep has this line exclusively.  So that blurs the line of distributor rep and exclusive rep, but this is a good thing for the sales rep.  


In speaking with customers, they all have different reasons for wanting to work with one of these different types of sellers and I guess that is what makes the world go round. Do you prefer to work with an exclusive rep, direct rep or distributor and why?


Hope this snippet was informative.  Of course I could delve deeper in to the subject, but I am trying to keep my blogs short which I didn’t really do here.


Have a great day!


Let me know if you want to make an appointment at quilt market with any of our related companies (Blank, Studioe, A.E. Nathan or Henry Glass)


Exclusive Scott

      

Pirouette Giveaway

 

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another giveaway!  Congratulations to Julie Boster for winning last week’s giveaway of our Just Color! line.  Today we are giving away 18 x 21 quarter cuts of our Pirouette line.  To enter this giveaway, all you must do is leave a comment on this blog post.  Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page and comment on posts advertising this giveaway for extra entries. You must be a fan of Studioe on Facebook to win.  Good luck and don’t forget to tell your friends!

*Giveaway open to US residents only. Contest ends 9:00 am EST September 19.*

 

Pirouette giveaway

 

 

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow us on all our social media outlets for the latest updates an all things Studioe.

 

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Studio E Line Is Going To Be Sold By The Blank Quilting Corp. Sales Team

Good Day,

On September 13, the Studio E line will start to be carried by the Blank Quilting Corp. (BQC) sales force.  Approximately 35 new reps will replace about 20 loyal multi-line sales professionals. Thanks to everyone on the old team for their hard work over the many years of dedicated service. You all played big roles in getting Studio E to where it is today.  

Looking ahead, we at Jaftex are excited about the prospects of having our own exclusive sales reps for Studio E.  This was one of the biggest attractions to the recent Blank Quilting acquisition.  I have been in constant contact with team BQC over the last couple months and am very optimistic about this great new opportunity.  The list of reps will be posted soon on the website.  If you want to know who your new sales rep is, please email cgarfinkel@jaftex.com or scott@jaftex.com

The new team will have all the continuing lines next week and then they will have about 10 new lines for the October fabric release which coincides with Quilt Market in Houston. Please feel free to contact me or Cliff Garfinkel (emails above) to set up a quilt market appointment or regular store visit for any of the lines being carried by the new team.  We look forward to continuing to serve you as we have before.  Thank you so much for your continued support of all the Jaftex Companies and our sales reps.

The decision to change the sales force was a tough one as change is always difficult. That being said, change is a good thing and I am confident that the new team is up for the challenge.  Please feel free to contact me to discuss any aspects of this new change.  Thanks so much. 

A.E Nathan will also be carried by these same BQC reps.  Henry Glass is making NO changes with its sales force.  Studio E and A.E. Nathan will be carried by distributors too.

Regards,

Scott