Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Studioe Reps Are Now Carrying The Stof Fabric Line

Have you heard the news?  The sales reps that currently carry Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. and A.E. Nathan Co., Inc. lines are going to be offering a new line for sale.  As of October 1st, the reps will also be carrying lines from Stof Fabrics of Denmark.  Stof has been a partner of my family of businesses for many years as an excellent overseas distributor.  In my concerted efforts to get more products for the sales reps to carry, I feel that this will certainly add to the diversity of the current offering.  I am very excited about this opportunity and feel that our team is going to definitely do the Stof lines justice.

I feel that the Stof lines will diversify what our reps offer for the following reasons:

  • The Stof designs are very different from the current quilt shop offerings from Studioe & Blank.  The differences have to do with the coloring, the subject matter and the styling.
  • The Stof lines are all produced in Japan whereas the Studioe & Blank lines are predominantly produced in Korea.
  • The Stof lines definitely have a more European feel vs. the Studioe & Blank more American styled lines.

Now let me give you some other basic information which will hopefully help you decide to purchase Stof from our sales team.  I have heard from many shops that they have had much success with the Stof lines so that is definitely a strong positive.  One big advantage that you will get from purchasing the lines from our team is that the lines will ship sooner than the distributors who are currently offering the Stof line in the US. The reason is that we are shipping directly from the mills in Japan to our warehouse, whereas the others are buying straight from Stof out of Denmark, after shipping from Japan.  

The first lines being offered for sale can be purchased from October 1 to December 4, possibly longer.  So make sure to get in touch with your rep asap so that you don’t miss the purchasing window. The Stof fabrics can be shipped anytime from end April to end June. There most likely won’t be additional opportunities to buy these lines again i.e. no reorders. The reason for no reorders is that we hope to bring all the purchased lines in to the US at one time from Japan….hopefully we can sell enough to fill an entire container.  So make sure to order what you need on the first shot.  We expect to have more new lines to offer from Stof later this year and several times throughout the year. 

We are calling the lines Stof for The Blank Quilting Corp., not Studioe.  The reason for that is that we wanted to ship the goods out of our contract shipping and double and rolling facility in Clifton, NJ, where Blank is shipped from.  That being said, Stof will be treated completely separate from Blank & Studioe.  The orders cannot be combined.  The five bolt minimum for Stof is in tact.  Stof & Blank won’t ship together.  Stof and Blank will be billed separately.

That is all the news I have for you at this time on the subject. Hopefully, I have provided enough information for you to decide that you would like to purchase the lines from our talented sales team. Please get in touch with your sales rep right away about ordering or feel free to email scott@jaftex.com to find out how you can purchase Stof from us.  We are anxious to get this started and are hopeful to be carrying the Stof lines for a long time in to the future with your help. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you.

Until Next Time,
Stof Scott 

85th Anniversary Blog Hop Winners

The 85th Anniversary Blog Hop has come to a close and was a huge success! The projects shared were beyond beautiful. It was such an interesting experiment to see how a simple bundle of fabric could turn into so many unique and impressive pieces. We hope the blog hop left you feeling inspired and eager to create something new with fabric from the Jaftex Family of Companies.

We can’t forget about the massive giveaway that was also part of the blog hop! Before we share the winners, here’s a reminder of everything that is up for grabs.

1st place: Winner receives a beautiful Janome S5, valued at $1500 AND 20 fat quarter bundles! Their favorite local quilt shop receives 30 bolts of fabric.

2nd place: The winner receives an Aurifil thread box valued at $300 AND 15 fat quarter bundles. Their favorite local quilt shop receives 15 bolts of fabric.

3rd place: The winner receives a Schmetz needle anniversary tin filled with needles valued at $75 and thread AND 6 fat quarter bundles. Their favorite local quilt shop receives 6 bolts of fabric.

How were the winners selected? The nifty Gleam widget that listed and verified your entries randomly selected 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. We then verified all the winners’ entries to confirm that they were in fact authentic. I then called the winners to share the good news and we conference called in the favorite quilt shop too.  It felt really good to hear how excited all the winners were.

Without further ado, here are the winners followed by a little bit about each of them!

1st Place: Barbara Sokol and her favorite local quilt shop, Annie’s Pretty Pieces in Hartwell, Georgia.

Here’s what Barbara had to say about her win, the blog hop and the quilting community:

“First, you and Jaftex have made my day! My week!  My month!  Oh, heck, My Year!!   A new Janome and lots of fabric — woo hoo!!  I am beyond excited.

This all started for me because I have been a fan of Mark Lipinski since I read the first issue of Quilter’s Home, and now, I follow his blog.  He announced the 85th Anniversary Blog Hop in such a fun way with a historical look back to 85 years ago complete with pictures, and I was ‘all in’.  (In fact, I think your picture is there in that blog post — I went back and looked at it just before writing this to you). It was a lot of fun to discover the blogs of other quilters as, for each day, a new one was featured. There were beautiful fabrics to drool over along with tutorials, fun projects to consider, creative ideas to read about, new books to contemplate, and tons of inspiration.  It was something I enjoyed all month, and will for lots of time to come as these prolific writers so generously share with the quilting community.  Some of them write so well that you just feel like they are sitting there with you chatting over coffee. Inside many of the blogs, are pictures credited to other quilters with more new ideas, and before I knew it, I had navigated a sweet spider’s web of new sites. (My inbox is full of new blog entries, and it’s lots of fun to see what each new day brings.)  It also let me discover new internet shops each with their own personality and focus.  I’m drawn to bright colors and crazy prints, but also love the soft and cozy pastels, and the internet connection became a daily, no-calorie, feast!!  As a retired IT professional, I’m still amazed at how the computer has made the whole world smaller and so easily accessed — with just a few clicks, I can be anywhere.  It’s really important to me because I live in a small town and my favorite quilt shop is 25 miles away in another state!

Sincere and heartfelt thanks to you and everyone at Jaftex who made this possible, and all of the wonderful bloggers who took the time to participate!  Over the next few days, I’ll be making the ‘comment’ rounds to thank each and every one of them.”

Barbara’s favorite quilt shop 25 miles away in another state is the lovely shop Annie’s Pretty Pieces. You can visit the shop’s website here: http://www.anniesprettypieces.com/

2nd Place: Pat DeVore and her favorite local quilt shop, Abigayle’s Quiltery in Berea, Ohio.

Share in Pat’s excitement:

“I would like to express my surprise and a big thank you to Jaftex for sponsoring the fun blog hop. I learned about the Blog Hop from a sewing group I belong to, and then I saw the link to it on the Aurifil FB page.  I immediately started following the blog posts and learned so much as I visited the various pages.  I am interested in developing better quilting skills and I received so much inspiration to attempt to create beautiful quilts like the ones featured in the various blogs. 

I had a message from you on Friday telling me I was a winner, and it was hard waiting over the weekend to find out what I had won!  Even my husband was excited for me and it was fun to share my excitement with him.  I was stunned to find out I was a prize winner–I always enter contests and never win anything!  This prize is perfect for me.

I have sewn since I was a teenager many many years ago!  I have sewn clothing, home dec items, bags and quilts.  I am in awe of beautifully designed and executed quilts and really appreciate all the work that goes into them.  I hope to be able to create something equally beautiful!

Once again, a big thank you for sponsoring the Blog Hop and helping me to learn so much.  And a huge thank you for choosing my entry as a winner, it is such fun to be part of this celebration!

Pat’s favorite quilt shop is Abigayle’s Quiltery. You can visit her favorite local quilt shop’s website here: http://www.abigayles.com/

3rd. Place: Cathie Scanlon and her local quilt shop, Karen’s Quilt Shop in Seattle, Washington.

Here’s a little bit about Cathie and her experience in quilting:

“I have been sewing since I was a child but only became serious about quilting 3 years ago.  I am retired and a SoCal transplant living in the Pacific Northwest.  I love learning about quilting and am amazed at how much there is to learn even for someone who has been sewing for as long as I have.

I am very excited to have won a prize in the contest and can’t wait till it is announced and I can share with my family and friends!”

Cathie’s favorite local quilt shop is Karen’s Quilt Shop. You can visit her favorite local quilt shop’s website here: http://karens-quilt-shop.com/

Closing Comments From Me, Scott Fortunoff.

Wow!  Awesome!  Thank you!  Fun!  Interesting!  Creative!  Cool!  These are just some of the words that come to my mind when I reflect back on the month long blog hop.  WOW to the bloggers for their unbelievable and creative projects.  Awesome job writing such thoughtful blogs.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to participate in the blog hop.  There is no doubt in my mind that you could have been doing a lot of other things with your free time.  Thank you to all the fans for your great interest and participation in this event.  Thank you for spreading the word and the fabric love.  Thank you to everyone in the Jaftex organization that help to plan this event.  I hope everyone had a lot of fun, I know I did.  It is so interesting to see how creative our bloggers are and were.  Just when I thought I saw it all, someone comes up with an amazingly creative new technique or just completely takes quilting to an entirely new level.  That is why I love this industry.  Last, but not least, this event was cool and so are all of you.  On behalf of everyone in the Fortunoff family, past and present, thank you for celebrating our 85 years in the fabric business.  We look forward to the next big anniversaries and hope to welcome in the 5th generation.  Thank you, thank you and thank you again!  We love you all!

Sincerely,
Scott Fortunoff      

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Necessary Evil Of Quilt Market

Some people live paycheck to paycheck.  Me, I am living blog to blog.   There is certainly a lot for me to talk about these days, so be sure to keep reading my blogs because things are going on in our industry..some for better, some for worse, but all very interesting.  You aren’t going to want to miss it because I try to tell it how it is and give you the inside scoop as I see it from an owner’s seat. I guess the elephant in the room right now is quilt market…so how about my two cents.
To be quite honest, I am becoming more and more worried about the quilt markets and you have heard me discuss this topic before after the last market.  This year, for one, is sure to be a dud as far as international customers are concerned, mostly because of the dollar strength.  The irony is that this is called the international quilt market, yet, I have received a lot of RSVPs with the response…not attending.  With each “NO” I cringe thinking about the time, effort and expense we put in to make this quilt market happen for our companies. As far as the domestic customers are concerned, I feel that a good bunch, more or less, checked out of quilt market a couple of years ago.  The simple reasons are that it is just too expensive and it is so much easier to work with a sales rep in your shop.    
One can only wonder…..how many more years can we continue to assemble booths for the many companies under the Jaftex corporate umbrella?  How many more times can we downsize before we appear unimportant? How can we keep cutting the number of people we need to bring to market?  When are the costs of market going to stabilize and stop going up up up? I mean, the costs of the hotels went up this year by about $20/room and the deposits were non-refundable and non-transferable for a full 2 nights…talk about not being user-friendly.  The worst part is that the hotels became non-refundable at the behest of people from Quilts Inc…so I am told.  So let’s put this in perspective.  Our companies have 60 nights at the hotel, so just this year we are paying an ADDITIONAL $1200 plus the increased taxes….talk about inflation and a rip off.
What other options are there?  I have heard that some companies rent suites in the hotels and just invite their customers to the room.  This is a very clever way to get around all the exorbitant Quilt’s Inc. and union fees that are just mind numbing.  For example, to pay $630 to move a pallet to a booth from the back entrance of the convention center doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It costs us less to ship the pallet from South Carolina to Texas.  The bottom line is that we fabric vendors are running businesses and need to make business decisions about our investments in the quilt market and all that surrounds it. In the end, we may have to look for other routes because the quilt market is turning in to a bloodbath for our bottom line times 2 because of the 2 shows each year.  I know that fabric is related to craft and hobby, but this is no hobby for the vendors attending the show…this is business and the quilt market is not supposed to be a loss leader or at least it never was before recently.  
Right now, I do not have solutions, but we definitely have been tossing around a lot of ideas in our offices.  In any case, it is time for the powers that be in our industry to step up and take a hard look at quilt market before it is too late and self-destructs.  I hate to be a downer about this, but the writing is on the wall and I think that this year may prove to be a pivotal one.  We should start the discussions asap.  
Let me say one more thing before I wrap up.  This is nothing against the people of Quilts Inc. per se because quite honestly, they run a great show and are very professional.  I only have good things to say about them and consider many of them my friends.  That being said, this is about reality, business and progressing to a more logical, economical show where the risk and reward are more balanced.  I guess we will have to see what happens.  Until next week.  

By the way, if you are an avid Tales Of A Fourth Generation follower, please make sure to stop by and visit me at booth 526 as I have a surprise for you.  All you have to do is mention that you read my blog.

Thanks for listening and please please please give me your two cents.

Scott 

    

Scott Gets a Day Off

It’s Monday. Scott gets a well deserved break with the family for Columbus day to see an Islanders game before the mad flurry that we call Quilt Market…

Just for fun here is a a breakdown of the wildness that is called ‘getting ready for a booth exhibit’. 

Did we pack all the signs that need to be hung?
Are all the quilts pressed and ready?
Did we order the right number of poles, chairs, lights, and don’t forget booth carpet cleaning?
Does the camera have fresh batteries? 
Did we pack the colored dots for the swatch cards that allows us to keep them organized?
Are all the designers scheduled for their demos, and what is the title and theme of each?
Have we packed up every single thing we will need to tape, screw, velcro, glue or otherwise affix all that needs to be displayed? 
Which candy are we giving away this year?
Where are the schoolhouse door prizes? 
Are the table clothes and table covers pressed and ready? 
Do we have labels for cases prepared? 
Have FedEx shipment been scheduled? 
Did we pack the pens that everyone loves to take? 
Don’t forget an extra roll of duct tape! 

On top of all that are the appointments! The most important part —getting ready to see our customers!

There is no end to the details, big and small to get ready. Hope to see you there!  
Scott will post a blog later this week about the quilt market.

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Check Out Our Peeps Doing Take & Teaches At Market


The 2015 Houston Quilt Market is right around the corner and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all about the take & teach classes that people associated with Studioe Fabrics are involved with.  We are honored to be associated with such talented and admired figures in the quilting industry.  We hope you take the time to sign up and partake in these great classes.  See you at market.

These classes listed below are offered Saturday, October 24 (Session 1, classes 305-323), Sunday, October 25 (Session 2, classes 405-424), and Monday, October 26 (Session 3, classes 505-510, 513-514).  

Class 300.  Selling the Blues–Marketing The World’s Favorite Color by Pepper Cory for Studioe & The Colonial Needle Company.  Royal, indigo, cobalt, denim–the shades of blue are endless.  Learn blue’s history and make blue work for you.  Hear and see the results of a survey of multiple fabric companies.  See digital images of their past best-selling blue lines plus an image of another blue fabric line upcoming at fall Market.

Class 322.  Never Cut or Sew a Triangle Again by Jodi Barrows of Square in a Square.  Learn to teach and demonstrate the Square in a Square system in this power-packed hands-on class.  You will be amazed!  Also offered as class 423 on Sunday and class 514 on Monday.  Do not enroll for more than one.

Class 400.  Nine Simple Secrets for Success for Shopowners by Jaftex sales rep, Janice Pope of Anything but Boring.  Are you struggling and frustrated as a shop owner?  Implementing these simple tips can make a difference in your shop’s profitability.

Class 407.  A Successful Combination–Machine/Hand Quilting in the Same Quilt by Pepper Cory in association with The Colonial Needle Company.  It’s not machines vs. hand–it’s machine plus hand. Encourage and support your customers’ desire to get more quilts completed and make money at the same time.

Class 507.  East Meets West—Sashiko & Patchwork by Pepper Cory. Adding an Asian accent to patchwork is very appealing.  Start Sashiko projects and encourage your customers to embellish quilts with Sashiko–the traditional hand quilting stitch from Japan.

That sure sounds like a bunch of great classes to me.  Hope you enjoy!