I hate to tell it how it is, but I am going to. All of the schoolhouses that the Studioe Fabrics & The Blank Quilting Corp. sponsored at quilt market rocked and I got to witness most of them. Don’t take my word for it though, take it from all the people that stopped me to say how relevant and helpful our sponsored schoolhouses (SH) were. “So much better than those SHs that become showcases for new lines, which is what schoolhouse is clearly NOT supposed to be,” said one happy customer. (Please note that where possible I linked the schoolhouse on Youtube so that you could witness this for yourself.)
I personally found our social media oriented classes to be the most useful. I mean, who knew how important a PS was. But seriously, I attained a lot of good information with supporting handouts as well as clear and concise instructions and explanations. In particular, new Blank Quilting licensor, Hope Yoder did a great job explaining social media photography and how to market and sell more fabric. Abby Glassenberg dazzled us about how to make your shop an Instagram shop and how to use email marketing. And our own Vanessa Denniston, our social media guru, wowed everyone with a how to on Facebook advertising that was extremely thorough.
Outside of the social media realm, Pepper Cory discussed, explained and showed different blocks from well know quilters in the industry using Peppered Cottons. This is part of her new RSVP/designer program. Also, sales rep extraordinaire, Janice Pope, spoke eloquently about how to lift your dollars per square foot metric. Finally, Tana Mueller of Western Denim and Dirt, a Blank Quilting licensor, explained different variations of applique. This is our way of giving back to our business partners. Thank you for your support.
In general, I must say that the SHs were very valuable and are a great reason for shop owners to come to market. There is just so much to learn and there are lots of smart people teaching. Maybe I will do a schoolhouse one day. On what, I have no idea. Any suggestions?
With all this being said, please give strong consideration to attending the next quilt market in May 2018 in Portland, Oregon. It’s not too soon to start making plans. Sometimes it pays to book early. I am excited to travel to the west coast minus the long flight and time differential. See you then.
You remember when I did that April fools blog where I said I was fired from blogging by my dad and brother? I know that was so long ago, but I just found this blog and it makes me laugh and hope it makes you laugh too. I also don’t want to waste it. Hopefully all my readers caught that it was an April’s Fools joke. Hopefully! Omg, is nobody reading my blogs anymore? Hello! I think I just heard a pin drop.
Anyway, to those who are still reading, at some point, I eluded to the fact that I didn’t really know if many people were reading my blogs. So you wouldn’t believe this. This is crazy. Nuts! There are actually more than 100 people reading my blog. Yes, well over 100. No freakin’ way. Actually, hold on a minute, it’s in the 1000s and not just like 1000, sometimes it’s 3000 or 4000 and more recently it is way more like 5k because of the free sewing machines that I am giving away to those in need. Omg, all for my crappy blog! I just can’t. WTF? (F for fabric of course) I mean, how stupid is that moniker…Tales Of A Fourth…blah, blah, blah, dork? Someone please rename my blog. It takes five minutes for me to just type that nonsense in to the title bar and then I need to type in an actual title too. How about some suggestions for a new moniker to replace Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive and be nice please?
This is hysterical though. Who knew? And who are all these readers? I think it is bots. Maybe it’s a conspiracy to make me think I am cool or people actually care about what I am saying. Maybe it was the Clintons. I hate to be political, but I couldn’t resist. Or maybe it was the Russians. I think the people of Word Press are messing with me and the stats are all lies. Anyway, the internet is crazy.
Can someone please pinch me? Can someone please say something? Time for my loyal readers to come out from behind your fabric and sewing machines to say anything in the comments section. Pretty please already. We need to get all the cards out on the table here.
Anyway, I gotta go now before I die of laughter. I think I am going to celebrate my blog fame. Want to join me for a little soirée? Table for 5000. LOLOLOLO 😂. Have a great week, a happy Thanksgiving and be thankful for being alive. And most of all, thanks for following my blogs.
PS….I want to thank 2 amazing English professors from the University of Michigan: John Rubadeau and Eric (spacing on the last name right now, but he knows who he is). I also want to thank my law degree. What a difference good teachers can make.
PSS….dad and bro will be giving me a raise real soon.
I am going to reveal a secret to all you shop owners out there. Some may already know the secret, but others may not and I hope that this perhaps opens your eyes to new opportunities that will help to increase your profits and improve your business in 2018 and forward.
As you know, since the summer, I have been giving away free sewing machines to those facing difficult circumstances in their lives. No doubt sewing relaxes people, helps to relieve stress and also distracts from stress. All good things if you ask me. If you take a closer look at the free sewing machine giveaway though, you could see that it might have some unintended positive effects on my business too. Simply put: more sewing machines in circulation=more fabric used and sold. The thing is that it doesn’t only help my companies, it helps our entire industry that we all need to thrive for many years to come. My fifth generation of Fortunoffs surely needs it to thrive as they are going to need jobs in the not too distant future.
Allow me to compare razors to sewing machines to put my secret in to perspective. Companies that sell razors don’t get rich selling the razors. They get rich selling the razor blades since not many people need razor blades without the razors. With respect to sewing machines, not all sewers need sewing machines, but if they have a sewing machine, that should result in an increased demand for fabric since projects will get completed quicker and more frequently. In other words, the more fabric machines that are in circulation, the higher the demand will be for fabrics too. This is a win/win for everyone in our great fabric industry. Not only that, but if you read my recent blog, this sewing machine growth will help to fuel my self-proclaimed SEWING REVOLUTION that I hopefully sparked a little in my last blog post. According to a recent survey that was revealed at quilt market, there is an estimated 7-10 million quilters in the US and there is no reason why that number shouldn’t explode with the help of increased sewing machine and fabric sales.
Now that I have established that the circulation of more machines equals more fabric sales, I must finally reveal the big secret.My secret for success in 2018 is for shops that don’t carry machines to carefully revisit the possibility and logistics of starting to sell machines in their shop. Please don’t be afraid to change and try something new because you may be very surprised at the results. As I often say, change is good. The advantage of doing this is that you now have an additional source of income with higher margin items and larger dollar sales. Many shop owners that sell machines tell me that they couldn’t survive without the machines. I know that isn’t the case for everyone, but bringing sewing machines in for sale could certainly help your shop to thrive in 2018 and forward. Not only that, but if you sell more machines, you will sell more razor blades….ooops, I mean you will sell more fabric. This all goes hand in hand and results in growth which we would all welcome.
I often use the quote from the movie Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” If you bring in the sewing machines, they will come and buy them and then they will come in and buy more fabric, more frequently. However, before you run out and go crazy finding sewing machines to sell, I suggest that you do some thorough homework because this is a big decision and investment. Contact a variety of sewing machine companies and find out the logistics of getting machines in your shop. Contact at least 2-3 different companies so you could compare them and see which one offers you the best deal and which makes the most sense for you based on your specific needs. Ask about specials and financing. Reach out to another shop owner you know that carries machines and pick their brains.
You need to see if you have sufficient space for the machines. If space is limited, you may want to consider smaller machines or work with a company that allows you to buy a couple machines at a time that will be replenished as you sell. The thing is that the sewing machine companies want to sell the machines, so push them to get you the best deal possible for your circumstances. My final word of caution is that you make sure that your financial position allows you to bring in sewing machines because you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin and get yourself in a bind and put your entire business and family at risk.
Now that I got that out of the way, I am going to take it one step further and then wrap up. Please consider attending the Vacuum & Sewing Trade Show & Convention (VDTA & SDTA) from March 24-26 at the Charlotte Convention center at 501 S. College Street, Charlotte, NC. Click this link to learn more. I will be attending this show for the second year in a row and I think it is worthwhile for you to poke around and learn about new opportunities. Finally, not only might you consider bringing in sewing machines, but you may want to delve in to the possibility of carrying vacuums too. You just never know!
Food For Thought…what do you think?
Sewing Machine Scott
PS…If you decide to add sewing machines to your shop, I would love to hear about it and I will certainly help to spread the word for you.
I have been on such a high lately from giving away free sewing machines. Who would’ve thought? Not me! I just called my shrink and told her to tear up my prescriptions because I think I am cured….for now that is. Anyway, to bring you up to speed on Scott’s Free Sewing Machines (SFSM), I have given away nearly 30 machines since the summer (that doesn’t include 7 for the Freedom House from my BFF) and I have vowed to give away 45 by my 45th birthday on December 4th and 50 by the end of the year.
Now that you are up to speed on the latest on my sewing machine adventure, I need to set the tone for this blog with a new trick that I just learned from my amazing social media guru, Vanessa Denniston. So with that, please hit play on this Tracy Chapman video below where she’s Talkin’ ’bout A Revolution which is the same thing I am coincidentally talking about.
I just love that song. Don’t you? Doesn’t it get you pumped up to want to start a revolution and make something positive happen in this crazy world that we live in? It sure has me pumped up and you all know very well that I am trying to make a little positive change in the world through sewing and fabric.
The thing with SFSM is that I am only one person. I mean seriously, maybe I could give 100 machines away a year if I really put my mind to it. And don’t get me wrong that I would welcome the opportunity, but there are only so many hours in the day and as you know….here it comes…..I am still NOT the president of giving away free sewing machines….yet. I do smile every time I use that joke. I hope you do too.
Ok Mr. Scott, how do you plan to start this so called SEWING REVOLUTION? Here are some of my ideas:
What if you did the same thing that I am doing? No, you don’t have to give away 50 machines a year, but what if you picked one person or maybe 5 people and bought them each a sewing machine. It doesn’t have to be a $1000 machine, it just needs to be a basic starter machine like the EverSewn Maker 200 that I am giving away. Reach out to local charities, schools, churches, etc. and find someone that needs a machine. Give them the gift of a machine out of the kindness of your heart and because you love of sewing and know what joy it brings you. It could be a complete and total random act of kindness. If you can’t do it alone, find a couple friends and do it together and make it fun. If you want to take it a step further, offer to mentor this lucky soul who is getting your amazing sewing machine gift. Imagine the power of this. Now we are talking about getting this SEWING REVOLUTION rolling!
Forget the ipods, clothing and crappy toys for Christmas, how about a sewing machine for your child, spouse, grandparent, wife, husband, what have you? That is the gift that keeps on giving and moves us a step closer to the SEWING REVOLUTION!
Is your machine aged? Have you been thinking about an upgrade to one of the newer high tech machines? It is time to pull the trigger and go for it. I am not one to spend other people’s money, so this is only if you can afford to do it. If you do have the means, when you go to buy your new machine, see if the shop owner will tune up your old machine so that you could give it away to someone else in good condition. Maybe they will throw that repair in as part of the deal if they know you are donating it to someone that can’t afford their own machine. This can only help their business and help to fuel our ensuing SEWING REVOLUTION!
We need to get our schools to step up the Home EC situation. And colleges need to offer more quilting and sewing classes. This is an art that can’t become a lost art. Fight for it! Ask for it! Speak up! The SEWING REVOLUTION is gaining steam and it needs your help to keep advancing it further.
So those are a handful of my ideas that I have been tossing around. What are your ideas? Please share them and let’s light a fire under this SEWING REVOLUTION. We need to share the joy of sewing with others and it all starts here with the SEWING REVOLUTION….one machine at a time. Together we can do this because that is the nature of our amazing fabric industry.
All that being said, please watch a short video that I created at market about the Sewing Revolution.
Thanks for your time and contributions to the SEWING REVOLUTION!