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.
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.
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.
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.
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!