Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Demise Of The Quilting Industry Is Greatly Exaggerated

noun: a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is.
synonyms: overstatement, overemphasis, magnification, amplification, aggrandizement; More

dramatization, elaboration, embellishment, embroidery, hyperbole, overkill, gilding the lily
“his testimony was a laughable mix of contradiction and exaggeration”

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!

Serious Scott



Author: Scott Fortunoff

Author of Tales of 4th Generation Textile Executive Blog. President of Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. and A.E. Nathan Co., Inc. Co-President of FreeSpirit Fabrics. V-P of Henry Glass Fabrics. President of Scott’s Free Sewing Machines. Creator of the #sewrevolution.

3 thoughts on “Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Demise Of The Quilting Industry Is Greatly Exaggerated”

  1. This is a thought-provoking post. I’ve been reading about the inevitable demise of the quilting industry for quite a while and much of it is being blamed on internet stores. The fact that you can shop at 3:00am while in your pajamas, have a pdf pattern e-mailed instantaneously, and get free shipping or a price reduction simply because you spend more than a predetermined amount of money is very appealing to many people. While I appreciate the idea and convenience of it all, I do understand the pressure it is putting on the brick and mortar shops.

    So, what do shops do in response? The have a sale, give away more than they can afford, etc. and they just dig their hole deeper. They believe that if they can get people in the door, they will sell them not only what’s on sale, but many items that are not. Unfortunately that isn’t what always happens.

    Just yesterday I heard a customer/student say that she doesn’t purchase her rulers in shops because they are too expensive. Instead, she waits for a 40-50% off coupon or a sale at one of her favorite on-line shops and gets them then. The shop owner overheard her and said that it exactly why she is considering not selling notions any longer. The price of fabric quickly made its way in to the conversation and the customer said that she just can’t believe that very many people are going to be able to continue buying fabric if the price continues to increase. She predicts that within ten years there will be only one or two main manufacturers and that we’ll be stuck with whatever THEY want to produce and not with what the customers want. I sort of chuckled and said that as long as studio e is who remains I’d be a happy camper. She wasn’t amused and suggested that I get my head out of the sand. How said for her. But, just in case she’s right, I bought extra fabric so I’ll have some when they are no longer available. 🙂

Comments are closed.