Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Quilt Market Credentials

Dear Quilt Shop Owners & International Fabric Customers,

Happy Monday!  As you may or may not know, ALL quilt market business credentials expired last year.  As such, it is time to resubmit your credentials which will be in effect until December 2019.  I am sure that it is a little bit of a pain to have to submit this, but fortunately this is only necessary to submit every 3 years.  Also, it probably won’t take you more than 5 minutes to collect all the paperwork and submit to the people of Quilts Inc.  If you didn’t receive the email about having to update your market credentials, you can contact the people at Quilts Inc. or you can email me (scott@jaftex.com) and I will forward a copy to you.

We vendors truly need your support by having as many quilt shop owners as possible attend the market.  Don’t forget that we are all in this together. This year the market is in St. Louis which should be a different and new experience as I don’t believe there has been a quilt market there before.  I imagine that most people are excited to be able to explore a new location so that they can enjoy what the city has to offer.  Check out this link to see 25 things to do in St. Louis.

Believe it or not, I am looking forward to the St. Louis market especially as compared to the Houston market.  The Houston market is getting kind of stale and I think most would agree especially being that the place was under construction for the last 2 years.  The problem is that Quilts Inc. has a long term contract with that location and that is also where the Quilts Inc. headquarters is located.  In any case, I am looking forward to the fresh new locale and all that it has to offer.  I am also looking forward to the increased number of school houses that our companies are putting on.  We realize that quilt shop owners put great value on the school houses. As such, we are bringing them.  So please come on down and enjoy!

All that being said, please get your credentials in asap and start putting plans together for what should be an amazing market.  Finally, if you are attending the St. Louis market and want to be eligible to join myself, our stylists, associated licensed designers, other quilt shop owners and sales reps for a dinner on Friday night, please email me at scott@jaftex.com. You must be an existing customer of one or all of the Jaftex Companies to be eligible.  Thank you for your time.  See you in St. Louis!

Have a great week!

St. Louis Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Sandra Magsamen Books On Steroids Are A Hit!

Happy Monday Friends,

For as long as I can remember, soft fabric books have been a hot selling item for children.  They continue to still be a very hot item today.  Very often when we have a book panel in a line, it is usually the best seller.  In any case, building on the success and popularity of book panels, we at Studioe, in conjunction with Sandra Magsamen, brought you what I look to call “books on steroids.” These are just like the old books, but they have the added bonus (the steroids) of a 3 dimensional appendage on the top i.e. a hat, antlers, ears, etc.

Studioe has had 3 rounds of introductions of these books.  In the first round, we released 5 books.  Here they are below:

 

In the next round, we offered another 5 books.

Finally, just this past October we introduced the first holiday grouping.  Unfortunately I can’t get an image of the cover from the website like the ones above, so I am just going to tell you about the others and you can click on the link if you want to see what it looks like.

  • I Love You Snow Much.  This is a cute story about snowmen and the appendage on the snowman is a knitted winter hat.
  • I Love To Gobble You Up.  This is a Thanksgiving story where the main animal is a turkey and the three dimensional appendages are the tail feathers.
  • Boo Boo I Love You.   Of course, this is the Halloween book.  The special appendage is a black hat on top of the white ghost’s head.
  • Boo To You! & Whoo Loves Halloween? Trick or treating bags.  This is the first foray into something other than a book with Sandra Magsamen.  Here you get 2 different Halloween bags on one 36″ panel.  So far we are very pleased with the sales of these too.  We do plan to delve into other sorts of non-book projects in the future.

If you go on social media, you can see loads of these book images all around.  People are excited about these books and they are having fun with them too.  What a fun and easy project to make with a child or grandchild.  That is why we just decided to continue to produce some more books to be offered for sale at the May market.  Don’t tell anyone, but the plan with some of the new books is to have appendages hanging off of the bottom as opposed to on the top. Think of feet hanging off or something like that.  Rest assured, it is going to be adorable.  Please note that we plan on keeping these books as basics until the sales tell us to drop them.

So in my infinite wisdom (which isn’t much), I have reached out to the real publisher of the hardcover Sandra Magsamen books about the possibility of having our sales reps sell the books to you.  In case you haven’t been in a kid’s book store recently, you probably didn’t realize that these types of books are sold in hard cover with the appendages and all.  With that, I wanted to reach out to shop owners and resellers of fabric to see if they would be interested in offering the books in their stores.  They sell for around $7.99 retail.  What do you think?  Is this something that you would consider? Please do let me know and I can continue to pursue the possibility of offering the hardcover books to shops across America.

In closing, I have 3 things to say:

  1. I can’t wait to see all our competition trying to copy this idea.  Just remember that ours are the real deal.  Stick with Studioe & Sandra Magsamen.
  2. If you made it this far in my blog and want to join me, my staff, some licensed designers, sales reps and other shop owners at a dinner at market in St. Louis, please email scott@jaftex.com to be eligible because space is limited.  You must be an existing customer in good standing to be considered.  I would love to have you join in on this intimate dinner with others in our great industry.  We always have a lovely time.
  3. The VDTA Vacuum & Sewing Show in Vegas is coming up quickly in early February.  I will be there at booth 855, so please stop by to say hello and see what’s going on.

That’s all she wrote folks.  Keep on buying and selling the awesome Studioe “books on steroids” by Sandra Magsamen.  Have a great week.

Regards,

Scott “definitely not on steroids” Fortunoff    

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: More Baby Steps For Quilts, Inc.

Dear Readers,

I hope you had a nice weekend.  Also, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Our offices are open today if you need anything.  I will only be in the office until noon as I have the pleasure of attending the Knicks basketball game with my sons, my brother and my nephews as the kids don’t have school today.  In any case, for lack of something better to write about this week, I am back on to the Quilt Market.

This time around, I wanted to acknowledge the baby steps made by the people at Quilts Inc. to try to make the market better for everyone. Recently, all vendors received an appreciation and suggestion email from Quilts Inc. a copy of which is below.  This is yet another step in the right direction, but what concerns me is that they are relying on the vendors to solve their problems.  By asking for ideas, my feeling is that they are going to get bogged down with a lot of the smaller picture issues because I imagine each person that replies will be suggesting something that will most likely just help a few and not the masses.  We really need the big picture ideas to make Quilt Market great again, but I am doubtful those are going to surface as they really never surfaced when I was making my own efforts to improve market.  I hate to be a pessimist, but I truly think I am being a realist here.

In the end of the email from Quilts Inc., they say, “I promise we’ll read them.”  The problem is that reading them and taking action are two totally different things.  I know that I am being literal, but based on my interactions with the big shots at Quilts Inc., I don’t see any worthwhile change coming soon.  They are like deer in the headlights right now which is very concerning for me and should be concerning to you too.  Once again, I urge the people of Quilts Inc. to take some meaningful actions fast because the Quilt Market numbers continue to fade for attendees and vendors.  Time is running short and as each market passes, more and more vendors are dropping out.  For the Jaftex Companies, this will be a critical year for us to determine our future with Quilt Markets.

To our Quilt Market Exhibitors,
As we prepare for another exciting year in the quilting industry, we want to thank you for making International Quilt Market an important part of your business plan. Whether you exhibited at our Spring show in Salt Lake City and/or our Fall show in Houston, your participation and support are very important. Without your taking your valuable time and money to exhibit, we wouldn’t have a Market to support the retailers from around the world who come to do their buying and see what’s new. We know there are many options for you to market your products, and we very much appreciate your making Quilt Market a part of your plans. Thank you from all of the Market team! We look forward to welcoming you back to St Louis this May and/or Houston this October.
In the meantime, if you have any ideas or comments to make Market even better, please do send them to ideas@quilts.com
and I promise we’ll read them!

Have a great week.  And by the way, if you read this far and plan on attending the St. Louis Quilt Market (this applies to customers that did business with any of the Jaftex Companies in 2016), I would like you to email me (scott@jaftex.com) if you are interested in attending the Studioe/Blank Quilting Corp. quilt market dinner with management, in-house designers, licensed designers, sales reps and other customers.  In the email, tell me in a very brief paragraph why you would be interested in attending the dinner aside from wanting to hang out with me (LOL).  I don’t have a date yet, but this will be on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited.  Good luck.

Regards,

Scott

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Anyone Going To Join Us At The VDTA Show In Las Vegas?

In an effort to try new things in 2017, we have decided to attend the Vacuum & Sewing Dealer Trade Show (VDTA) at the Las Vegas Convention & Show exhibit space Hall S3.  The show will be from February 12-14.  Cliff Garfinkel, sales manager extraordinaire, & I will be there at booth 855 and we can’t wait to see you. Please contact me at scott@jaftex.com or 800-294-9495 x218 to set up an appointment.  Looking forward to seeing you then.

BELOW IS THE JAFTEX BUYER’S GUIDE BLURB FOR THE VDTA SHOW

Jaftex Corporation is an 87 year old, 4th generation, family owned business, based out of New York City. Jaftex has several well-known fabric brands under its umbrella which include: A.E. Nathan Co., Inc., Henry Glass Fabrics, Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. and Fabric Editions.

The companies predominantly offer coordinated 100% cotton quilting groups that are both licensed and unlicensed. Some of the key licensed designers include: Kim Diehl, Shelly Comisky, The Whole Country Caboodle, Jan Shade Beach, Tana Mueller, Pepper Cory, Dt-k Signature & Sandra Magsamen. In addition to the 100% cotton quilting groups, the companies offer 100% cotton flannel groups, double gauze, yarn dyed flannels, 108” wide quilt backing in prints, solids and flannel too. In an effort to grow and diversify, the companies have started to sell tea towels, which lend themselves to embroidery, as well as pre-cut fabrics such as fat quarters, jelly rolls, charms and squares.
More recently, Jaftex has formed a partnership with Air-lite Manufacturing out of Pontiac Michigan. Air-lite specializes in batting, foam and similar products. Of note is the embroidery batting which is gaining much recognition and fanfare in the industry. Another new partner is Stof Fabrics out of Denmark. Stof offers distinctly different and fresh quilt groups with a European flare.
We are proud to be attending our first VDTA show. The show will be attended by one of the owners, Scott Fortunoff, yours truly. He will be accompanied by Cliff Garfinkel who is the sales manager for most of the Jaftex Companies. Scott & Cliff look forward to welcoming you at booth 855. We look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate how fabrics could be a great complement to your sew and vac offerings.
www.henryglassfabrics.net
www.studioefabrics.net
www.blankquilting.net
www.aenathan.net
www.fabriceditions.com

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Happy New Year! & Blogoblog Revisited

Dear Friends,

On behalf of myself, my family and everyone at the Jaftex Companies, we wanted to wish you a very Happy New Year!  We hope that all your goals are achieved and that all your dreams come true.  To 2017!  Cheers!

As mentioned in some of my more recent blogs, I wanted to repost some of my favorite blogs.  Here is my blog about blogs a.k.a. blogoblog from June 25, 2014.  Please enjoy.

In anticipation of my school house speaking engagements at the Shipshewana Show this week, I have been scouring my past blogs (blogsweep) for inspiration (blogspiration) and ideas (blogcepts).  In doing so, I have learned a couple of things (blogifacts) and have made up some new blog words (bloginology) to describe these concepts.

Long blogs stink.  I pledge to keep my blogs short (microblogging) as no one wants to read a long and boring blog (blogasleep).  Going forward, long blogs will be separated into more bite sized pieces (blogobites) so as to avoid the fear of blog disease (bloganoia).

I crack myself up which is funny in itself.  While reading my past blogs in bed (blogsomnia), I have broken out in hysterics (blogsteria), so much so that my wife is wondering what in the blog is wrong with me.  I guess I am my own best audience which is kind of funny because I probably am the only one that reads these blogs anyway.  I hope other people are laughing too as laughing is healthy for you, just like quilting.

More photos.  Blogs are so boring without more pictures.  Therefore, going forward, I promise to have more photos (blogcandy).  Ironically, I can’t think of any good photos to go with this blog, but so blog it.

This is what I learned from my bloganalysis.  Please let me know if you have some bloggestions as I always love to hear from my blogees.

Blogging off!

Scott Blogunoff