Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Controversy Is My Middle Name

controversy

Uh, how I love to stir the controversy!  Who is kidding who…controversy sells….just like you know what (fabric).  With the lack of enthusiasm from my readers lately (excluding my most loyal reader Joanne….xxoo), I sure could use some controversy to fire up some insightful comments.  I mean seriously, last week I thought I came up with this great blog idea about bathroom fabric displays and even went as far as offering a generous fabric prize to the best fabric in the bathroom shot posted on the Studioe Facebook page.  All I got was a donut.  Yes a donut a.k.a zero, nada & nyet.

donutSo what is the controversy?  No, it is not quilt market…although that is on my list to hit on before going to market as that continues to be a total debacle to say the least.  The latest controversy is about fabric convertors or fabric vendor selling directly to consumers at shows.  As if quilt shops and other fabric resellers are not struggling enough….now they have to contend with competing with their own suppliers.  WTF!  F is for fabric of course.  Nice touch guys!

wtf

Here’s the story.  My spies, of which I have many so be careful, have informed me that at some recent fabric events there were competitors of ours selling directly to consumers.  Not only were they selling to consumers, but they were selling right up against their own customers.  OMG is that so not right?  If I was a quilt shop owner who put together loads of precuts and kits for this show only to find out that I was going up against my supplier of same, I would be absolutely furious and sad.  Ironically, my spies tell me that the people were furious and truly quite disgusted and shocked to see their suppliers there and I don’t blame them.

good-bad

If I really wanted to stir the controversy, I could totally reveal who the vendor is and sit back while everyone got pissed off at them and boycotted them, but that is not really my goal here.  My goal in this blog is to suggest that people stick to their regular jobs and not blur the lines by getting in to other people’s business.  From my perspective, I can’t believe that in such a fragile fabric environment the fabric vendor would take the risk to make a couple bucks to the detriment of their entire customer base.  Doesn’t sound like a good business decision to me nor a good risk/reward play.  What do you think?

Shocked Scott

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: What’s In Your Bathroom?

Hey Everybody,

Last week I had the great pleasure of hitting the road with a Studioe sales reps down in the South.  As you probably know, I love to be on the road because I always learn so much from customers and love to see our sales reps in action.  Of course, this trip was no different.  I learned loads, but there is one thing in particular that I wanted to focus on now that I learned while on the road.

on-the-road

Have you ever seen the Capital One Financial ad where the guys says, “What’s in your wallet?”  Well, forget that guy and imagine yours truly in the ad asking, “What’s in your bathroom?”   I know.  I am sure you are thinking, what the heck is wrong with this Studioe guy?  He must be losing his marbles.  You probably wouldn’t be surprised if he was losing his marbles since this industry could drive even the most seasoned and sane professional crazy, right?  Anyway, didn’t we learn as kids not to talk about the potty or to use bathroom words?  You know me, I love to break the rules whenever possible.

bathroom

So what am I talking about?  I am talking about the hottest new place to merchandise and advertise your store’s fabrics.  Really?  Yes, really!  On this trip, I only had the opportunity to visit 2 shops, but both of those shops had so much eye candy in the bathroom that I was astonished….and distracted at the same time.  It was unreal to me.  Let’s call a spade a spade, everyone has to go to the bathroom at some point or another, so why not advertise there?  What’s the expression….location, location, location?  If you aren’t putting fabrics up in your bathroom, you should definitely consider starting it now.

bathroom-1
Note how I am an equal opportunity photo poster as, but for the Stof Glimmering panel to the left, none of these fabrics are from any companies related to Studioe Fabrics.

With that short spiel, I am challenging all the quilt shops out there to post one great bathroom photo from their shop on the Studioe Facebook page. The only requirement is that you need to have a toilet or a sink in the photo.  It would definitely help if the fabric in the photo is from one of the Jaftex related companies (Studioe, Blank, Henry Glass, A.E. Nathan or Stof).  The top bathroom photographers will get some prizes from me….and I tend to give out away some pretty good prizes.  Dazzle me, please!

bathroom-2
You see the paper towels and the hand sanitizer? That is definitely the restroom.  Also, that black and white coloring fabric is from The Blank Quilting Corp.  (related to Jaftex/Studioe)

Finally, please note that all the above and below bathroom photos are from either Quilting Sew Easy in Gaffney, South Carolina or Quiltpatch in Matthews, North Carolina.  Thanks to the owners of those shops for sharing their facilities and fabrics with me.  Most importantly, thanks for potty training me.

bathroom-3
More lovely bathroom fabric from our competitors.  You guys are welcome.
stitchers-prayer
This isn’t advertising per se, but it was a good read.
quilters-alphabet
What better place than the bathroom to work on the most important ABCs?  I love letter “Y.”

Please don’t tell anyone that I never come up with some novel ways to crack this fabric industry.  Get working on that bathroom right away and see how you can become flush (I couldn’t resist).

Good luck!

Until next week,

This is Scotty in the Potty

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Demise Of The Quilting Industry Is Greatly Exaggerated

ex·ag·ger·a·tion
noun: a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is.
synonyms: overstatement, overemphasis, magnification, amplification, aggrandizement; More

dramatization, elaboration, embellishment, embroidery, hyperbole, overkill, gilding the lily
“his testimony was a laughable mix of contradiction and exaggeration”

Not too many blogs ago I discussed the challenges of our industry and how there needs to be some healthy fallout with respect to quilt shops and fabric vendors.  The gist of the blog was that there are too many shops and too many fabric vendors and just not enough sales to go around.  The bottom line is that people go in to business to make money.  However, a lot of shops and fabric vendors are just spinning their wheels either by breaking even or losing money, but staying in the business nonetheless hoping and praying for a brighter day.  The other point of the blog was to encourage people to take a long hard look at their own business to determine if they should stay in business…before it is too late and financial problems ensue.

bad-business

Recently, I have been reading a bunch of articles that were similar to my blog, but with more dire conclusions than my own.  One said something like, is the sky falling in the quilting industry?  Another referred to turbulence ahead, fasten your seat belt.  So much drama and so much exaggeration if you ask me.  I wish everyone would stop trying to create fear.  I still firmly feel that we just need some of the weaker hands to throw in the towel and seek out new opportunities where the future may be brighter than our seemingly crowded quilting industry.  I don’t mean this in a demeaning or vindictive way at all, as I don’t wish ill upon anyone, but when the signs are there, you just can’t ignore them.  If you do ignore them, you might suffer some bad consequences.  As we like to say in our offices, the first loss is your best loss.  In other words, don’t sit around watching and praying, take action and take action fast as things tend to get worse if you leave them there to fester.

caution

One problem we have noticed lately in our offices is that more and more customers are delinquent or late on payments.  In some cases, our credit managers are working with customers and the customer may be paying down their bills on a monthly basis.  The problem is that this just drags things out over too long a period and wastes so much productive time for our credit managers.  We are realizing that we need to stop being so liberal with our credit policies because it probably is hurting us and customers too.

problem

In any case, there are certainly problems with the industry in my opinion, but I really think it all has to do with the supply/demand balance of both the shops and the vendors.  That being said, the quilting industry is alive and well.  Consumers are still very alive and kicking and I imagine the number of quilters still remains in the 20 million person range which is significant.  So stop the drama and stop trying to scare everyone because this industry is not going down the tubes any time soon.

drama

In closing, I would like to urge people to keep on quilting so demand remains high.  I would also like to urge shop owners and fabric vendors to evaluate their businesses to make sure that their business remains viable and could withstand a big downturn if one were unfortunately to occur.

Good luck to you and God Bless the quilting industry!

Serious Scott