Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Beauty Of Random Acts Of Kindness

One of the companies (The Blank Quilting Corp.) under the Jaftex umbrella is having a challenge.  Hopefully you know all about it already, but if not, please check out this link.   Since the challenge relates to honoring troops that died in the line of duty, the America’s Mighty Warriors charity was selected as the recipient of all donations.

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After contacting the charity, I learned that Marc Allen Lee was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq defending his teammates.  He received several amazing awards for his heroism.  Marc’s Mother, Debbie Lee, founded America’s Mighty Warriors to honor her son.  Long story short, Marc wrote this amazing letter to his mom which I am going to quote below:

“Our country is a great country, don’t get me wrong on this, otherwise none of us would be living there. My point of this is how can we come over here and help a less than fortunate country without holding contempt or hate towards them if we can’t do it in our country. I try to do my part over here, but the truth is over there, United States, I do nothing but take.
Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car? Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for.  More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country.”

Randon-Acts-of-Kidness

I love the idea of random acts of kindness (RAOK) and I can’t agree more with Marc’s amazing words.  It reminds me of that movie Pay It Forward. So since my blog subjects have whittled down in to the summer, I am going to create my own random acts of kindness.  You see this picture below?  I need to make these disappear because they are cluttering up my office.

precuts

In my office is this pile of lovely precuts.  In an effort to bless some people with some random acts of kindness, this is what I need you to do.  First you need to comment on this blog and let me know that you will be emailing me a RAOK request.  Next email me at scott@jaftex.com and give me the name, address (US only) and phone number of someone (no family members) that you think could use a random act of kindness of fabric. Finally, provide me with one or two sentences as to why they could use a random act of kindness.  I will review all the submissions and start sending out precuts to those that I think deserve it.  I will let them know that you chose them.  Thank you.  Let the randomness begin.

trust

I am a pretty trusting guy (unfortunately), but I trust that you will be honest with yourself when selecting who should get the RAOK.  In other words, please don’t submit your own name or try to be sneaky to get this for yourself or a family member.  The beauty of this is the RAOK and you want the recipient to know that you are thinking of them and they could use a RAOK from me. We all could use a RAOK.  With that, how about you performing some random act of kindness too? You will most likely make the recipients day and feel really good about yourself too!

Just a little something to think about!

Have a great week.

Signing Off,

RAOK Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Maximizing The Vendor/Quilt Shop Partnership

This week the sale force will be receiving their brand new  July samples. Of course, they will be anxious to get on the road to see customers before too late in the summer when things tend to slow down. With this in mind, I want to offer up some general guidelines and suggestions about how to make the best of our customer and vendor partnership, as I like to call it.

definition-of-partnershipAPPOINTMENT MATTERS:

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  • All sales calls must begin with an appointment.  This is usually created when the rep contacts the shop owner by email, phone or in person.
  • Please understand that when reps are making appointments that they are juggling several appointments at the same time in order to be efficient with travel. It is greatly appreciated when you can be flexible to accommodate the rep when he/she will in fact be in your area.

flexibility

  • If you are contacted about an appointment and you know you won’t be purchasing any fabric, it is best if you just tell the rep that you will see them the next time they pass through.
  • If you have to cancel for any reason, please try your hardest to make contact with your rep by email, phone and/or text as soon as possible. No one likes getting stood up!  This is really a worst case scenario for a rep because it hits them hard in the wallets since they are getting paid based on sales and are obligated to cover all their own expenses.  The rep will appreciate your respect and understanding of the challenges of their job as road warriors.
  • If for some reason the sales rep has to cancel on you, he/she will try to do this in as timely a fashion as possible so as not to disrupt your schedule.
  • Please do your best to work through the appointment with your rep in a timely fashion.  At the same time, if you have a limited time to work with your rep, please let him/her know immediately so that he/she can accommodate your schedule and expedite the call.
  • Long story short, good communication with your rep about your appointment is a big plus for everyone.

CommunicationIsKey

CREDIT MATTERS:

credit matters

  • Like all vendors in our industry, we truly appreciate when our customers stay up to date with their payments as this helps to make everything run a lot smoother for them, their business and for us and our business.

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  • Please understand that your credit line will be reviewed based on all of your business with the Jaftex Companies.  So if you are late with Studioe, that will affect your Blank & Henry Glass orders.
  • Unfortunately, when credit becomes an issue, it can create all kinds of delays and undue effects with your account.  For example, a customer had an order that was to ship in July for Row by Row, but unfortunately the customer was not up to date on payments and was in fact 60 days past due.  Therefore, we were forced to hold up the Row by Row order which caused problems for the store’s Row by Row program. Of course, it was not our intention to do any harm to the customer, but by not paying, our hands were tied and we couldn’t make more shipments until the account was made current.
  • Please help our credit team by making yourself accessible to them by phone and/or email.  Also, let them know what is the best way and time to reach you so as to avoid a game of chase.  Moreover, please return calls as quickly as possible.  When our credit managers have to call day after day and week after week with no luck and no return call, we become very concerned.  If you want to continue with the partnership with our companies, you need to try not make payment challenging to come by.  If you put yourself in our shoes, you can understand the challenges we face.
  • On the other hand, if you have credit issues and communicate with our managers, that definitely helps to keep the partnership alive and healthy. Our managers are instructed to try to work with you as best they can as we do understand that cash flow issues do arise.

CommunicationIsKey

  • If you know that your credit is not in good shape, please opt to not take an appointment with your rep and place new orders, but rather, please make an effort to get your account up to date instead.  There are always more opportunities to see the rep down the road when your finances improve. Since we sell so far in advance, missing one cycle will not preclude you from buying a collection.

CANCELLATIONS:

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  • Cancellations of orders are a fact of life, but we of course like to try to keep this to a minimum.  As a shop owner, you too can relate to how we feel when an order is cancelled as you do experience cancellations of orders or similarly returns.
  • If for some reason we decide not to bring a line to market that you ordered, we, or your sales rep, will make an effort to advise you of this.
  • Some cancels hurt worse than others.  For example, our sales reps recently started carrying the Stof line from Denmark.  These goods were specifically purchased based on orders that we received from our valued customers.  In other words, we imported this just for you and it cost us a lot more than our own lines do and will be more painful to closeout.  That being said, we are taking a being hit on these special order type items. Another line that would fit in to this category would be the 3 Wishes line that our reps offer.  Once again, these goods are imported based on your preorder, so please consider that before placing an order of this sort.
  • Cancellations of the lines that we regularly produce are not as harmful to our business because we are actively selling these lines.  So the damage isn’t as bad.  In any case, thank you for ordering within your means and trying to make every effort not to cancel orders unless truly necessary.

In closing, I wanted to thank you for being a loyal customer.  I greatly value our customers and truly appreciate every effort made to maintain a good partnership with our companies.  Thanks for reading through this blog and thank you for taking the time to hear things from the other side. I would be interested in hearing your suggestions on how we can improve the partnership from our end as we are always seeking to do better. Thank you in advance.

Have a great week and please continue to enjoy the summer!

Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Family & Charity

Hello Friends,

For some reason, life keeps getting in the way of my blogs being posted in a timely manner.  Shame on me!  So I am sorry for being a day late…no excuses.  This week, as always, I have loads on my mind.  As many of my loyal blog readers know by now, there are lots of important things to me in life and in business.  This week, two of those important things are: family & charity.

family is everything

Let’s start with family because family should always come first.  Last week I was crushed to find out that, after going to the hospital for neck pain, my only living uncle was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  My family is devastated beyond words and unfortunately since the removal of the tumor, the prognosis only seems to have gotten worse.  I really don’t want to harp on the negative and get everyone all sad, but I can only stress that we all need to take time to enjoy life, smile and stay healthy.

enjoy life smile

Speaking of enjoying life, I know two kids that truly enjoyed life this past weekend.  My two boys had the great pleasure of enjoying a rookie day at a sleep away camp in Pennsylvania.  They never had rookie day when I was a kid, but basically the kids get to be campers for a full day.  They absolutely loved it and my older soon will be going away next summer to sleep away camp.  Bring out the tissues!  I also know two parents that can’t believe how fast their kids are growing up.  Where does the time go? I remember their birth’s like it was yesterday.

where does the time goSpeaking of camp, yesterday when I was supposed to have been posting a blog for you to read, instead I was playing hooky, but for a good reason.  I was invited to visit Camp Kehilla.  Camp Kehilla is a special needs camp run by the local JCC that my company and family supports.  I had the pleasure to watch the kids have a blast with some 18,000, 3×3 charms that we had donated for some special projects the campers were making. Check this out:

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I imagine that some of you already know what these kids are doing, but if not, I am going to tell you.  They are taking glass vases, covering the vases with Mod Podge and sticking fabric on to the Mod Podge to make beautifully decorated vases.

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Here is what the final projects look like (sorry for the not so great photos):

IMG_3709IMG_3711It was so amazing to see the kids enjoying the day decorating the vases. For all those quilt shop owners looking to get the kids involved with fabric, perhaps this is something you should consider trying or some twist on this using the Mod Podge.

In closing, I just want to urge everyone to value and enjoy life and family each and everyday. I also would like to remind everyone how important charity is too.  It is so rewarding to give back and gain pleasure seeing others smile because of something you did or donated.  Just a couple things to think about this summer.

Have a great week and don’t forget to put on the suntan lotion!

Scott