Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: All Blogged Out

Hello People,
It is Friday night at 8:15 pm and I am pretty darn tired.  So full from chowing down on these delicious soup dumplings at a local Chinese restaurant.  Have you tried one? YUM!  
I am just all blogged out and do not have much more to say at this moment.  Can you believe that?  This year has truly worn me down especially all that Quilt Market drama which isn’t over yet.  I think I wrote 50 plus blogs for Studioe and how much more can I really say about fabric and the family business?  A LOT, but I guess you will have to wait until 2016 to find out.  
So hear this, I am taking a much needed, and I hope you can all agree, a much deserved vacation.
Please don’t take that as an opportunity to go rob my home..LOL.  That would be a bad move because my house is locked down like Fort Knox. Anyway, 8 am tomorrow morning I will be on an airplane to never never land where there is a beach, a bar, a bed, a fitness center, my family, good food and hopefully some sun.  That is all I ask for.  Oh yeah, I forgot, I don’t want to be bothered by anything having to do with work.  So don’t call, don’t write, don’t facebook me, text message me, what have you…pretty please.  One other thing, just don’t say the word fabric.  I need to really clear my head.  Can you help me out?
This little vacation will hopefully be enough for me to get all revved up for 2016 which is sure to be fun, interesting, challenging, exciting and full of more blah blah blogs and controversy.  With all that said, I do have a couple of quick things to mention, let’s call it news:

  • Sad to hear that Hancock Fabrics, the chain store, is having financial issues yet again.  Not good for our industry in general, but hopefully good for quilt shops.
  • Did you hear about the Pantone color of the year?  Oops, they chose two colors this year and I never heard of either…rose quartz and serenity.  Really guys? I thought quartz is a rock and serenity is what I am hoping for on my vacation.  And, no, we were not smart enough to have a rose quartz and serenity line planned for 2016.  Did any company?  One would have needed inside information to be ahead of the curve on those two colors.  Enough said.  I think I am going to come up with my own Studioe color of the year for 2016.  I was thinking of an actual color like red or green.

  • On my blog from last week, I offered a copy of my book of blogs to the first 10 people that emailed me a request.  You wouldn’t believe it that someone in a quilt group or guild got a hold of this info, spread the word and my email was blowing up with like 30 requests in a matter of 10 minutes.  The power of social media is mind blowing.  I will not forget that for 2016.  

The last thing I need to say this year is please give me some ideas for future blogs that you want me to write about.  I will for sure have things to write about as the industry is always changing, but suggestions really help because I want my readers to hear about subjects that interest them or things that people are talking about.  That’s all I have for you folks for 2015.  It is 8:59 pm on December 25th, 2015 and Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive Scott Fortunoff is signing off until 2016.  Be safe!  Have fun!    

Until Next Year,
Sayonara Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: New Year’s Resolutions

At the end of each year, I like to take some time to reflect on the past year and come up with some realistic resolutions.  In some cases the resolutions pertain to my personal life and other times to my business.  To be honest, up until the last couple of years, the resolutions were unfortunately not accomplished.  I wish I could say that it worked out better, but I am sure everyone can relate. However, this year, I am proud to say that the last 2 years were true successes and I would like to try to keep the momentum going.
Two years ago I vowed not to drink soda and I have stuck to this rather well.  In spite of desiring a Coke, diet Coke or ginger ale every once and a while, I have stayed away from these chemical laced beverages.  That being said, the no-soda resolution has really had no direct or noticeable affect on me….or maybe it has.  Who really knows?  In any case, I will continue on with this resolution and stay determined to stay away from the high sugar and carbonated beverages.  

Last year, I vowed to exercise more and in particular run more often.  I am proud to say that I held strong with this resolution too.  In fact, thanks to the running, I probably feel as good as I have felt in a very long time and my weight is getting down to what it was in high school.  I am logging about 15-25 miles a week and going strong.  Barring any injuries, I hope to continue on this path to physical fitness. Quite frankly, there is no better feeling than starting your day with a long distance run or some sort of intensive exercise.  The mental, physical and emotional affects on my being are really remarkable.  It is almost like being medicated.    So what resolution am I planning for this year?  This year’s resolution is both personal and business related.  In this day and age of high paced lives and trying to multi-task, I want to work on my focus.  I want to try to give my full attention to the task at hand or the person that I am speaking with and not try to do other things at the same time.  Attention and focus was never one of my strong suits and at times I really wonder if I have a little ADD.  Either that, or just poor focus. Anyway, the reason that I am picking this resolution is because, this year on two different occasions, I was informed of circumstances where my lack of focus was evident and it didn’t make me look good.
Both examples related to me at the Quilt Market.  Let me start out by saying that it is super difficult for me to focus my attention speaking with one person at the Quilt Market without having darting eyes and being distracted.  The problem is that there is so much going on during the market and I have to police many co-workers, sales reps, family members and also keep my eye out for customers. It isn’t that I don’t want to hear what the person I am speaking with is saying, it is really that I am super distracted and once again trying to multi-task.  I want to apologize to everyone that I didn’t make feel special at market because I was gazing allover the place and not giving you my undivided attention.  It was not intentional at all and I need to try to do better because this attribute is not good for my business.  I had mentioned the complaints that I received to my brother and he actually concurred with me about how hard it is to focus on one thing at market.  It is just the nature of the beast.  So, in there lies my 2016 resolution.  Wish me luck!      

What is your resolution this year?  Have you kept to resolutions from years past?  What types of resolutions do you try to achieve..work related, health related, family, etc.?  I want to hear all about it.

Finally, I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!  I also wanted to thank you so much for following my blog.  In fact, this past year we put together a book of my blogs and I have some extra copies that I want to send to the first 10 people that email me at scott@jaftex.com asking for a book.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my blogs and I am very glad that I was able to stir up some discussion this year related to the problems of Quilt Market. 

To 2016 Resolutions,
This Is Staying Focused Scott


Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Happy Retirement To Joel Preefer

At the end of this year, one of our star Jaftex (mostly A.E. Nathan & Henry Glass) in house salesmen is retiring, Joel Preefer.  It is with very mixed emotions that I make this announcement as this gentleman has been with our companies for nearly 30 years and has been working side by side with me since I started in the business around 10 years ago.  The truth is that we spent a lot more time working and traveling together in my earlier days when I was learning the ropes and he contributed a great bit to my knowledge of the business.  I have since graduated and we don’t work as closely together anymore, but I consider Joel a great friend and confidante.  He knows a lot of stuff and isn’t afraid to share it for the benefit of the company.  He also is always looking out for the company which is such an important quality in an employee.

So what can I say?  I must say thank you.  Thank you Joel for your loyalty to our companies and to my family.  Thank you for teaching me a lot about this business, fabric and introducing me to tons  of customers.  Thank you for being so dedicated and hard working.  Joel is always one of the first to get in the office every day for as long as I can remember.  Even when I think I am getting in crazy early i.e. I can’t sleep at all or I am dealing with the kids being up or sick, he is usually there before me or right around the same time.  There aren’t many people who you can say that about. 

Joel is a go-to kind of guy.  If you need something done, you go-to Joel and he never says “no.”  There aren’t many people who you can say that about.  He has tons of great stories about the good old days when selling fabric was SO much easier.  He is full of the type of wisdom that is developed over many years working in the same industry.  This guy knows the ropes. 

There is so much more I can say about Joel, but I plan to say that in my little speech to him at our Christmas/Retirement party.  So in closing, I just wanted to say so long to a great friend and an amazing employee, the office will certainly not be the same without you.  I hope your retirement is full of joy and relaxation as you certainly deserve pal.  Until we meet again.  Don’t be a stranger. 

If you know Joel and want to say something to him, either contact him directly or comment on this blog post.  Thank you.
You will be missed, your friend,

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Old School Vs. New School, To Social Media Or Not?

We have been having an old school/new school debate at the offices lately about the value of social media marketing.  The thing is that we expend a lot of money to have employees and outside contractors manage all the social media activity that our companies present to the world.  As you could imagine, my nearly 70 year old (shh!) father is of the old school thoughts. You guessed it, yours truly is of the new school opinion that social media activity is a fact of life and an important part of our business.  Then there is the old argument, but “everyone else is doing it.”

For one thing, we did survive and flourish during all those years prior to social media going viral and gaining in popularity, but then again times they are a changin’.  That is a point for my dad.  We were definitely one of the later ones to catch on to the social media madness.  But once again, this all begs the question, what would be more profitable for the company?  Would we be better of saving the money on all the expenses related to social media and using some of that money for contests and free giveaways and such?  Or, is social media really adding value to our company’s sales and helping to increase our goodwill?  The same could be asked about advertising in different publications.  

Unfortunately there is no right or wrong answer to this debate.  I wish we had more hard facts to make a calculated decision. So what do you think?  Are you buying fabric from any of the Jaftex Companies due to a blog you read, a Facebook picture you saw, a YouTube video we made, etc.?  Without hearing from the people, it is really hard to evaluate this. Can you please comment on these questions to help us to decide what direction to go in with our social media.  Don’t tell anyone, but I am confident we won’t be dropping social media, but I still want to hear what you think.  Thanks.

Thanks so much,
Social Scott    

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Now Is Your Chance To Complain To Quilts Inc.

Calling all Quilt’s Inc. complainers…I know there are at least 20 of you because you all took the time to email me your complaints that I used in a recent blog.  Yesterday I received a survey from the people at Quilt’s Inc. with questions about the last quilt market.  For all of you that are afraid of the wrath of Quilt’s Inc., now is your chance to anonymously complain directly to the powers that be at the Quilt’s Inc. Hopefully you too received the survey and will take the time to let them know your true opinion about the quilt market.  Please try to be constructive and specific about any ideas you may have to improve things.  Maybe someone will actually listen.  It is worth a try.  Thank you!   Good luck!