Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: A Gem From My Grandfather

Happy Monday Folks,

Fortunoff family tree from my grandfather. I penciled in the most recent additions. This chart will help you keep track of who my grandfather is talking about throughout.

I am so excited about this blog post.  It really isn’t a blog though.  Rather, this is 11 pages of Jaftex Corp. and Fortunoff family history in the words of my grandfather,  Everett, that I recently discovered.  It is a true gem.  I wish he were alive to read all my blogs and see all the social media stuff going on.  He would absolutely love it.  In any case, get on some good glasses or a magnifying glass and grab a bottle of something (grandpa preferred Vermouth) and take a walk down the textile memory lane.  Please enjoy the story and my grandfather’s sense of humor.  (If it is too hard for you to read, please make a note in the comments and I will forward you a clearer version.)

Grandpa Everett as a baby in 1915.


Grandpa and his mom, Ida.

Grandpa in our showroom at 49 west 37th Street where our office currently is located.

I truly hope that you made it to the end and enjoyed this as much as I do.  I so cherish this and will protect it with my life for the fifth, sixth and so on generations.


Sentimental Scott

Too many words to count this week.

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: I Can’t Do This Without You

Happy Monday Friends,

In light of my 2018 resolution to not complain, I am going to make an effort not to complain in this blog post.  That is, in spite of the fact that I have a bone to pick with all of my friends and followers.  For those of my blog followers that don’t know, I have an  Executive Facebook page where I talk about fabric, my companies, the history of our business, the industry, the sewing machine giveaway, charity, my personal life, whatever is on my mind and so much more.  If we aren’t already friends there, please take a minute to be my friend….pretty please.  Doesn’t that sound so cute?  I feel like Mr. Rogers, “Will you be my neighbor?”

There was one executive Facebook post in particular that I want to bring to your attention from December 15 which I have attached below:

When I posted that comment, I had 661 likes.  Today, I stand at around 1050 followers and it looks like I have hit the ceiling.  I think the people at Facebook are doing a Jedi mind trick on me because that number hasn’t moved in weeks, but who is looking?

Anyway, here is the complaining/non-complaining:  It was sad that we couldn’t get to 1250 likes and go upwards from 62 machines given away before the year ended.  I mean, it’s not like I was asking people to give me money or take an hour out of their busy day to help push my agenda.  All that I am asking is that you take a minute to share my page and get all your quilty/fabric friends on board.   Please have them “like” and share so that everyone could hear what I have to say and what I am trying to do to help revitalize our great quilting industry back to where it once was.  Is that so hard?  Is that so wrong of me?  If you ask me, I think it is a very admirable cause and I need to know that you are with me.

What I really want is more people to hear about the sewing revolution and to spread the free sewing machine giveaway to the farthest corners of the US.  I can’t do it without you.  The plan for me is to continue to give away free sewing machines to those suffering through tragedy or hardship for an indefinite period of time i.e. I have no plan to stop as of right now.

So here’s THE PLAN for this to be mutually beneficial:  Share my page with 5 people that you know who are in to quilting.  Share it with your guild.  Share it with your sewing circle.  Just focus on the people that you know would care to hear about my mission and my hopes for a strong future in the quilting industry.

I have at least 50 sewing machines in house to giveaway this year and I am NOT afraid to do lots more.  Let’s call a spade a spade, I gave away 62 in about 4 months, so imagine what I could do in a year.  Please believe in me that when I say “lots”, I mean lots.  Don’t test me!  But, I need more likes and shares and I need more legitimate requests from people that need a sewing machine to help them through their struggles.  The requests have slowed down dramatically of late and that is why I need your help to continue to spread the word and share the love that I have for our great industry as well as those who are down on their luck.  Give me a hand please.  We got this!

Thank you in advance!

Yours Truly Scott

P.S..…Here is where you can find my Executive Facebook page.

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Scott Hop With A Point

This past December when I turned 45, I started to reflect on my past and dream about what the future might bring.  After much deep thought and introspection, one critical question kept crossing my mind.  Unfortunately, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I haven’t been able to sleep over this much lately either.  I just don’t know what I am going to do.  Are you ready for this?  Please sit down and prepare yourself….

How much longer am I going to be blogging for?

I have not been able to come up with an answer yet, but I do know that I need some more angles at a minimum.  I mean, I have the free sewing machine thing, the yenta, the macher, bit’s n’ pieces, the made up stories and a handful of other concepts.  I am going to need some more, for sure, even if I just decide to blog until I am 50.  So without further ado, I am going to introduce my newest idea which is called, Scott Hop.  This is a play off a shop hop (duh!), but this is going to be my moniker to write about some of quilt shops that I visit during the year.

Colchester Mill Fabrics.
A sneak peek of what’s inside.

With that, let me tell you about a trip that I took just last week.  I drove nearly 3 hours from my house to Colchester Mill Fabrics at 120 Lebanon Avenue in Colchester, Connecticut to work with owner Cheryl Dolloff and her associate Liz.   As I often like to do, I dazzled them with an array of products, but especially the newest January 2018 lines from Studioe, Blank, Stof, Oasis and Ellie’s Quiltplace.  You will be happy to know that Colchester will have several fabric lines from the Jaftex Companies soon.  Please make sure to visit and check them out.

This was no ordinary quilt shop compared to most that I have visited in the past.  It really was more like a full blown craft stores.  To be honest, I was shocked to see how impressive the operation was in organization, product offerings and scale.  I could go on and on about how amazing the shop was and all the great aspects of it, but you really need to experience this for yourself…if you haven’t already.  So instead of raving about all the great attributes of Colchester Fabric Mills, I wanted to focus on something else that truly impressed me and had to do with Cheryl’s excellent business acumen.

After perusing all the products that I had to offer, Cheryl and her husband, Joseph took me to lunch at a local sandwich shop.  Joseph and I had the chili which was pretty freakin’ yum.  I digress.  I always enjoy small talk and

Cheryl & Joseph Dolloff.

learning about customers and their businesses.  As we got deep in to discussion, Cheryl explained that the store was in the process of a major transformation.  No, not a paint job or new shelves or anything like that.  Rather, after much analysis, Cheryl determined that her business model had shifted and many things that sold well in the past are not selling as well now i.e. home dec. fabrics.  In other words, she needed to adjust her business model to keep up with the times.  That means less home dec fabric and more of what is selling like quilting fabric.  With that, Cheryl decided to kick in to high gear and trust the extensive data in an effort to make her business that much better for the long term…..or at least until things noticeably change again sometime down the road.  This is a bold move that I absolutely admire because it takes a lot of guts to go through a makeover.

By now you should know that I love this sort of business:  using numbers, statistics and data to make big and smart long-term business decisions.  This should be a lesson to anyone who isn’t following the numbers.  Don’t forget this important fact ever:  THE NUMBERS DO NOT LIE!  In order to compete in this extremely technological and sophisticated world, you need to do your homework and act quickly when your homework is telling you to change things up.  If you don’t act fast enough, you will be left for dead and nobody wants that.  If you haven’t done so already, make sure to invest in a useful inventory system right now and turn over a new leaf for 2018.

I hope this post resonates with all the business owners out there and you all take the time to do your own analyses and homework in order to keep your business running at its best for the long haul.  Thank you Cheryl, Liz & Joseph for your hospitality and for confirming to me that change is good….in spite of it being difficult and scary to conquer at times.

Have a great week!

This is Scott Hop Fortunoff signing off.

P.S.  Have you been able to stick to the no complaining New Year’s Resolution?

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The 2018 ‘Complaining Diet’

A new year is a time when many people make resolutions.  I imagine that most desire to lose weight, eat healthier or be a better person.  Losing weight is my year-round mission.  It is unfortunately a constant battle, one that I often lose.   I just love food.   What can I say?   I digress.  This is why I am so excited about the 2018 ‘complaining diet’ which should be a cake walk compared to all the diets that came before it.

I was recently reading some CNBC articles and there was an one by Deepak Chopra and Kabir Sehgal, two gentlemen with extensive backgrounds on a multitude of subjects.  The article was called, Going On A ‘Complaint Diet’ Will Make Your More Successful in 2018.  The focus was on breaking a bad habit that many of us have, including your’s truly, of excessive complaining.

The first point is that complaining is really just a bad habit.  I am sure you know a person that complains a lot and you could probably think of many others that don’t complain at all.  The thing is that this makes you become a Debbie downer and you become trained to always be looking for things to complain about.  I could totally relate to this to this complaint cycle.

I have noticed lately that my tolerance for other people’s obnoxious use of technology makes me psychotic.  This happens a lot when I am on the train to work.  The guy next to me will be sending a text and he has his volume on his phone so I have to endure beep-beep-beep-beep every time he hits the keyboard.  I just can’t.  Or the guy who thinks it is okay to watch a video at full volume with 100 other people around.  Or the guy that listens to music at some ungodly decibel with his headphones on.  The worst part is that the people often don’t even realize and they just don’t care because why should they care about me or anyone else for that matter?  This can last for my entire train ride and by the time I get off the train I am ready to murder someone.  This is not a good way for me to start or finish my day.  Can you relate to this?

The second point is that complaining is unhealthy because it causes you to stress and gets your hormones all out of whack.  Yes, this is real.  It also causes you to lose friends because they can’t bear to listen to an excessive complainer…it just gets too annoying.  The article goes on to say that it is time for a reset with the help of the ‘complaint diet.’  Makes sense, right?

The last and most important point of the article was where the authors identified the 4 critical ingredients to a successful ‘complaint diet.’  By following these steps, you will focus on the positive and not the negative.

  1. Close your eyes and notice how you feel when there is a complaint brewing.
  2. Realize that you probably can’t do much about the issue at hand.
  3. Breath in and breath out and just let it go.  Serenity now (Seinfeld reference.)  Ahhhhhhh!  Doesn’t that feel good?
  4. Repeat to yourself that for which you are grateful.  (Optional).

If you ask me, this doesn’t sound all that hard.  I am going to start this right now and I expect the complaint lbs. to drop quickly.  I hope you try it too if this applies to you.  Finally, please note that this was not aimed at any of my customers at all as we don’t get any complaints EVER!  Have a great week and let me know how you progress on the easiest diet ever.


Complaint-Free Scott

P.S.  In light of this blog post, I will not complain, nor will I accept complaints either.  So please complain to someone else.  This complaint hotline is closed.

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Happy New Year! & Free Sewing Machine Contest 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 2018!  Cheers!

Each first blog in January contains a New Year’s message and a revisited blog post from the year.  Considering the impact of Scott’s Free Sewing Machine Giveaway Adventure in 2017, I feel that it is appropriate to revisit the blog that started the ball rolling.  Before I go though, I wanted to remind everyone that I will begin to call people again starting in January to see if they are free-sewing-machine-worthy.  If you would like to submit a sewing machine request due to unfortunate circumstances or a tragedy that you are facing, please post your request as a comment in any of my existing blogs. 


Good morning!   How are you today? I hope you are withstanding all the crazy storm madness which has thankfully slowed down a bit it seems. This too shall pass, so hang in tight and don’t forget to breathe.  Can you hear me alright?  Okay then, let’s get this contest going.

People keep asking me what I am doing about helping those in Texas, Florida and surrounding areas who have been adversely affected by the storms. That is a great question that I too keep asking myself and I think I have finally found the answer. Yeah, I could make donations as I have already done. I could send blankets and food which I have already done too. But most anyone could do those sort of things. But you know me, I like to beat to my own drum and do my own thing. With that, I am going to go out on a limb and try something, well…..unique. Call me crazy, but here goes.

As I mentioned in a very recent blog post, I was going to give away the sewing machines that my good friend Joanne Hubbard donated. By the way, Joanne is my BlogFF (BFF). I digress. So yeah, the sewing machines. Aside from offering the machines from Joanne, Brewer is generously donating a machine for the giveaway from their Eversewn brand. But that just isn’t enough for me.  You know what I am saying? That would be around 5 machines and I want to do more….way more. Why the heck not? People are suffering and I want to do what I can to ease the pain, even if it is just a little bit and helps to put a smile on someone’s face. I am sure you are wondering what am I going to do. So let me tell you already and stop blabbing away.

I called my new friend Philipp Ueltschi, the Brand Manager of Sewing Machines at Brewer (his brand is EverSewn), and he kindly agreed to sell me machines at a special discounted price for my self proclaimed great cause. These are machines that retail for $200-$400. After I give away the 5 or so machines that I already have, I am going to start giving away BRAND NEW machines on a weekly basis for an indefinite time period. Yes, you are hearing me correctly. Now hear this one more time! I am going to buy machines, a lot of machines, and give them away for F—R—-E—-EEEEEE to people that lost their machine in the storms, never could afford to buy their own machine in the first place or a young person that wants to learn how to sew. I am open to other reasons as to why someone should earn a new machine. One more time, let’s say it together because it sounds soooo freaking good. Free. I can’t hear you. You can do better than that. One more time. FREEEEEEEEEE. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!  Now you got it!

For starters, I am seeking requests from people in Texas, Florida and surrounding areas who have been adversely affected by the storms. I would like the pleas to be short and to the point. Maybe 200-250 words maximum as to why I should gift you a machine. I unfortunately don’t have time to read a novel so keep it tight. Or, you can even send me a photo with a caption that you think demonstrates why you OR SOMEONE ELSE should earn a free machine. Please enter all pleas into the comments section of this blog post. If you could figure out how to attach a picture to the blog, please do so. If not, email me the photo in some form with the caption. The top pleas will be selected by me and I will reach out to that person to confirm all the details and make sure all pleas are legit….no offense of course, but the scams are endless these days. By the way, this is not a scam, joke or trick. Make sure to include your city, state and email address so I can contact you for other info.  This contest is for people in the US only.  Make sure to be careful to enter all the info into the computer correctly because if your email address is wrong by even a single letter….NO SOUP FOR YOU! (Seinfeld Reference)

In addition to the free machines, I will be sure to include some other goodies…..maybe some fabric, maybe some notions, maybe some batting, it will be a surprise, but it will be “beast” as my son likes to call it and that is a good thing no doubt.

With that, let the requests start flowing in. And yes, please have fun when submitting your requests. Send any and all questions to scott@jaftex.com, but please don’t drive me crazy because I do have a regular full time job and it isn’t President Of Giving Free Sewing Machines Away if you know what I mean. No phone calls. You will be sure to know through our social media venues and my blog who the winners are as I announce them. Please know that this is my contest and I make the rules and all the final decisions. That’s just how it needs to be.  I am also giving myself permission to post details of all requests and pleas so if something is very private or you don’t want your name used, please make sure to let me know.

Good luck! Please make sure to share this with anyone you know who might be eligible to win especially in Texas, Florida and surrounding areas.  The last thing I want to say is that I can’t wait to see the faces of the winners when they find out that they are getting a new machine from me. That to me is priceless. Therefore, if you happen to be a winner, make sure to post a picture of your smiley face and your new sewing machine on any or all of my company’s (Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. or Henry Glass Fabrics) Facebook, Instagram or other social media arenas.

Sewing Machine Scott

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