Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Patience My Friends, Always!

I have been having a lot of crazy dreams lately and I think it is because the horrible shooting that occurred in Parkland Florida.  God bless all those that were murdered.  The most recent dream really blew my mind and freaked me out.  Ready?  Here goes.  Let me reiterate:   This is a dream.

As you hopefully know by now, I am giving away sewing machines to people down on their luck or struggling in life (broadly defined by me).  As I write this post, I probably have a pile of around 50-60 new requests for machines waiting to be reviewed and addressed.  I continue to work through the pile when I can, but this is a marathon and not a race.

So I am in my bed sleeping and dreaming.  Makes sense, right?  The setting of the dream is the Quilt Market in Portland.  By the way, please book your tickets for Quilt Market  ASAP. I digress.  So we are in the convention hall and everyone is doing their usual fabric selling stuff.  You know, a lot of touching and fondling of fabric.

Me personally, I am at the FreeSpirit booth with all my newest designer bffs. I mean, Kaffe is there, Tula, Amy, AnnaMaria, Brandon and the rest of the dream team.  Crazy that I met them in my dream before I met them in real life.  How ironic?

As we chat along, I am approached by a young woman who I didn’t know and had never seen before.  That woman asked if she could have a minute of my time.  I realized quickly that she didn’t realize I was talking to the royal family of FreeSpirit because she didn’t even look at them or acknowledge them.  How dare she?  LOL.   She was honed in on me.  I was thinking that it was probably just another one of my crazy superfans who wanted an autograph or selfie.  LOL AGAIN.

We step to the side and this young lady starts chatting me up about my sewing machine giveaway.  She was very familiar with it.  Out of nowhere the tone of the conversation dramatically changed and quickly.    The girl became enraged and I couldn’t figure out what got in to her.  She starts to flail her arms around in anger.  This is when the dream took a turn for the worse.   You may want to sit down.

She reaches in to her waistband in a very rapid movement.  Holy crapamole!  She’s got a freakin’ gun……at quilt market nonetheless.   Then she  blows me away with one shot to the heart.   Blood is gushing all over the beautiful and plush quilt market carpet and all the booths.  Here’s the best part,  someone is working hard with her team to clean up the mess.   I wonder what the dream interpreters would make of that.  Anyhow, love you. You rock!  I digress again.

It turns out that this young woman’s grandmother submitted a request to me for a free sewing machine.  In an email I wrote to her grandmother, the grandmother thought I was blowing off her request and I wouldn’t grant her a sewing machine for some reason….omg a total misunderstanding?  She misinterpreted an email that I wrote to her and thought she was out of the running and was super upset.   Hence the shooting.  The truth was, that in the email, I was just asking her for patience as I worked through the huge pile of requests. It turned out that her grandmother was next in line to get a machine.   How ironic!

The moral of the story is don’t bring guns to quilt market.  But seriously, don’t shoot me because then I can’t give away anymore machines.  No, no, no!  The real moral of the story is that after you submit a request for a sewing machine in the comments section of any of my blog posts, you need to be very patient with me.   A sign that you will likely get a machine or at least a call to discuss with me your predicament is when I ask you for your email and phone number.  That’s the tell.  Watch for it and wait.  No  need to keep checking in with me as I have a great system to run the giveaway and it’s been working great.

With that, I thank you all for your support of the free sewing machine giveaway and my self proclaimed sewing revolution #sewrevolution.   Please keep spreading the word  about my giveaway as we are surrounded by tragedy and struggles.  I plan to give machines away indefinitely as I am now totally committed.

Special thanks to Olfa for partnering with me and sending products to sewing machine recipients.  I am proud to announce that they just extended their offer to supply notions to machine winners beyond the originally 50 that were promised.  Way to get involved Olfa! Thank you for joining me to push the #sewrevolution agenda and truly stepping up.  With that, aren’t there other companies out there that want to get involved with this novel idea?   My door is open and I welcome discussions.  I would love to have more partners to try to help to prop up our industry and those suffering in life.

In closing, please don’t get freaked out because this was just a dream.  A DREAM!  Yes, a dream.  D—R—E—A—M!   Don’t start spreading rumors that I got shot.  And finally, I end with a question that I must keep repeating to my sewing revolutionaries…..what are you doing to support the sewing revolution and the downturn in the number of people quilting & sewing?

Have an amazing week.

This is Scott “I was NOT really shot” Fortunoff

P.S.  I think I am losing it lately.

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

P.S.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Been Caught Stealing

There is nothing I hate more than wasting my time.  Don’t you agree?   I waste my time…..and money when I have to call my lawyer. Recall that I hated law school and the idea of lawyers in general. There is no bill more annoying to have to pay than one from a lawyer. Oh, well maybe the accountant too.

I am stuck wasting my time going after people stealing our designs yet again and acting as if it’s okay. I was recently informed that there is a website where someone is selling kids clothing with our designs on them.  As I delved further, I found a company in China that was stealing our designs and printing them on finished products that were being sold allover the world.  Very nice, right?   I am not going to mention the companies’ names or websites because we are just getting ready to lawyer up on them.

With respect to not naming names, I have a funny story.  I remember when we were buying the Blank Quilting Corp and I wrote a blog about the fact that we were close to a takeover of a company in the industry. I didn’t name names or anything like that, just a little teasing by asking people to guess who we were buying. When we were ready to close on the deal, the lawyer said something to me like “seriously with the blog Scott???” To this day, I still have no idea how he came upon that blog, but he did somehow. I digress.

Anyway, stop stealing my designs. It’s just not cool.  Stop cutting corners and cheating as you are only cheating yourself. Take that!

Have a great week!

Stop Stealing Scott

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

P.S.S.… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Who Knew?

Who knew?  Who knew that my world was going to be turned upside down because of this deal?  Who knew that my work life would never be the same again?  Oh, if you haven’t heard, Jaftex (my family business) purchased FreeSpirit in the deal of a lifetime, said I.   Who knew that my phone would be blowing up with so many congratulatory calls?  Who knew how hard it would be to keep up with the outpouring of positivity, excitement, encouragement, relief and love.  I am not kidding.  Let’s hug it out!!!!!!  (I hate when people put a million!!!!!!! in a row).

Our shareholders, meaning consumers and shop owners, have given a resounding thumbs up to this purchase.  The outpouring is unreal and it just crystallizes the importance of this deal for my family and for the entire textile industry.   This is the transaction that we have been waiting so patiently for. FINALLY!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

As I have also said, this industry needs consolidation and perhaps this will be the  start of a new wave.  I think a fabric merger mania Monday is in the cards so to speak.  When I was a stock trader, CNBC Business News would often have merger Monday as most deals are hammered out on the weekends and announced Monday. Ahem.  How ironic?  Makes sense? Recall that we announced our deal on a Monday.

We have definitely been looking for new targets (eesh that sounds so violent), how about new partners?  That’s not correct either.  A seller?  Yes!  This opportunity came out of nowhere when we got the email that FreeSpirit was closing.  We had heard rumblings, as I am sure you probably did too, but there is always so much rumor and nonsense being spread in our industry.   I am sure it is not unlike other industries.   Fake news!

Anyway, my dad made the call to the FreeSpirit management and that got the ball rolling.   The rest is history.  Here’s one for you dad:   I guess you haven’t lost your touch in your over 50 years in the textile industry.   Love ya man!   (My dad totally reads the blogs.  He likes to say that he “caught up on my blogs over the weekend.” Then my mom calls to say that my dad showed her the blogs and she loves them yadda yadda.  It’s classic).

Everyone has so many questions as do I.  I love it how people presume that within a day of doing this deal that I immediately know which way is up including every small and large detail about FreeSpirit.  As my dad always likes to say, “we don’t even know where the bathroom is yet.” Don’t forget that I was away when this deal was amazingly consummated by my brother and dad.  I will be heading to the office this week and will also be at the VDTA show in Charlotte so I will get to visit two times in the coming weeks. There is a lot to learn and I look forward to meeting all the new people and all the new challenges.  We are excited about how many employees have decided to stay with FreeSpirit.  This should greatly help to keep the transitional tumult to a minimum.  Thank you in advance to the new team at FreeSpirit.  I look forward to the our future together.

If you have questions, I suggest that you contact the same people or person as you would have in the past.  Or you can call the office number and  get help that way…the number is 866-907-3305.  Or you can always contact me and I will point you in the right direction.  Don’t be shy people because we want to make this transition as quick and painless as possible.

What I can tell you is that all the January released lines are moving forward except the Sprout line by Joel Dewberry.  The reps should have their next samples under the new ownership around quilt market.

All the sales and distribution channels shall remain the same for the time being.  We of course need time to evaluate all the existing partners that FreeSpirit has to see how strong they all are.  As you know, I am all for change, but that change has to come for the proper reasons.  As such, this deal is a work in progress and I expect it to take about a year before all the details and kinks are smoothed out.  At that point, the business should be able to more or less run on auto-pilot.  And then, we will be ready for the next deal!

Thanks for your time.  Have a fabulous week.

FreeSpirited Scott

P.S……Here is where you can sign up for my Executive Facebook page.   

P.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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This is the sewing machine I give away for free. Please feel free to purchase one, and give it away too! Or Recommend it! Or love it!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Rise Of The Superfan

I am totally obsessed with the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm lately. I went back and started watching the original episodes and I just can’t contain my laughter. I am talking belly laughs, drooling, hyperventilating, headache kind of laughing.  You know what I am talking about, right?

In a recent episode, Larry David, the star, has a whole schtick whereby he judges people on whether their appreciation or thank you is in line with the kind gesture of another.  In this case, Larry’s act of kindness was to let a co-workers’ married relatives stay at his house for a couple days.  It’s freakin’ hysterical and you should check it out. Long story short, it turns out that the house guests were swingers, but that’s a story for another day.  Needless to say, it was nothing short of brilliant comedy as usual.

Anyhow, in light of our recent acquisition of FreeSpirit, I wanted to say that the thank yous have WAY exceeded our actions.  So we are all good now and we can still be friends.  My family could not be any more appreciative for the outpouring of love and support.  Thank you for coming on this amazing journey with us.  I promise to continue to give you a birds eye view of what’s going on behind the scenes and keep you on the inside track the whole time.

This all reminds me about the Social Media Marketing World conference that I just attended in San Diego.  Many of the speakers harped on attaining the ultimate superfan.  This is what everyone should be looking to achieve for their business, the super fan.  That person that eat sleeps and breathes you and everything about you or your company or your product.  You can do no wrong by them.  These superfans actually work for you, but they don’t even realize that they work for you and you aren’t even paying them. (Let’s try to keep this between us).  In our case, it is the total and complete obsession with the FreeSpirit designers and their fabrics.  I have never witnessed anything like this before. I truly had no idea and let’s say that I am ecstatic about these obsessions.

With that, I want to remind everyone that FreeSpirit is back in business and ready to serve you with amazing fabrics and inspiration. Please just bear with us as we transition to the new ownership and deal with the immediate changes and challenges.   All the Jaftex companies are still in business too and ready to serve you as well.  Call your sales reps. Call your distributor. Call your local quilt shop proprietor. Call customer service.  Get on the website!  Call me! When the person on the phone answers, you should just start rattling off all the fabrics you want to order by FreeSpirit or any of our awesome family owned companies.  You got this.

What are you waiting for? Go go go!

Superfan Seeker Scott

Have a great week!

P.S……Here is where you can sign up for my Executive Facebook page.   

P.S.S… Also, please subscribe to my blog and get notifications when new blogs are posted.  Look up on the right side of this blog to register.

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