Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Thinking Of Texas & Worried About Quilt Market

Happy Labor Day!  Today we honor the labor movement and all the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of this great country.  Enjoy the day off!

Speaking of well-being of the country, I wanted to give a shout out to everyone who has been affected by the devastating floods and storms. Please be safe and careful.  You are in our thoughts and prayers.  If there is anyway that I can help, please comment in the comments section and I will see what I can do to lend a hand.

This storm situation is giving me flashbacks to Hurricane Sandy when I was grounded in Houston for 3-4 extra days after quilt market.  That was not a fun time and the feeling of being helpless was very discomforting. I am sure many people affected by the storms are also feeling helpless too and probably way worse, but just know that this too shall pass.  Be strong, smart and take one day at a time.

Speaking of Quilt Market and the storm devastation in Texas, I must say that I am extremely concerned about the quickly ensuing Quilt Market.  I think this just provides one more big excuse for people not to attend. The timing could not be worse for us. Unfortunately this is a fairly legitimate excuse because it is going to take time to clean up the mess and who is really going to want to venture in to the unknown.  I just don’t think that is the nature of our industry.

In my humble opinion, the people at Quilts Inc. should bite the bullet and cancel, collect on their business interruption insurance (hopefully they have that) and look forward to the next Quilt Market.  I would just hate for this market to be the nail in the coffin for all future Quilt Markets due to a really poor show since a lot of vendors are already on the fence about continuing to attend market.  Not to mention the companies that have already abandoned market.  In any case, it doesn’t seem that the people at Quilts Inc. agree with me.  I just went on to the Quilts Inc. website and this was the message:

Hi Everyone,

An update to let you know that our offices will continue to be closed for the time being, but we will post information about when they will reopen once we know.  In the meantime, please know that there is no reason to change any plans you’ve made to attend this year’s Quilt Market in Houston.  The show will go on as scheduled …and we hope you will plan to be there!

I am happy to know that everyone at Quilts Inc. is ok.  It is frightening to me though that they could say, “There is no reason to change any plans.” Hmmm…no reason?  I can think of some reasons.  No one knows how long it will take to clean up the mess.  Also, no one knows how bad the attendance will suffer.  But, I guess the show will go on.  The other thing that concerns me is that they say they “hope” we will be there.  I just don’t know if hope is going to get the attendance numbers up.

I am sure we will hear reports and rumors about Quilt Market being on and off, so get ready for the roller coaster ride.  In the meantime, based on everything that is going on, do you plan on attending?  I want to know.  As of right now, I am still attending, but with much trepidation and skepticism. Thanks.

Skeptical Scott


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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.

11 thoughts on “Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Thinking Of Texas & Worried About Quilt Market”

  1. As an independent rep who covers TX, LA, OK, and AR, I can tell you that I couldn’t agree with you more. To hold the Quilt Market this close to a disaster is insensitive. I have spoken with many of my customers who have told me they will not be coming to Houston. I have also spoken to several of my vendors who have the same opinion and I only hope they spread the word, take a stand, and call this Quilt Market off.

    1. Hey David,
      Very frustrating to say the least. This worries me a lot. If this show is really bad, it could be the end of Quilt Market as we know it. Soon the fabric suppliers are going to realize that the risk reward is no longer there for them. Who can afford to keep losing money? Not me. We shall see. Fingers crossed.

  2. I don’t see how they can be ready in time. Even if they manage it, will all the hotels, restaurants, and other services be up and running? It’s not just the show that needs to be ready but all of the peripheral services must be there as well. I was going to market but now I’m not. The vendor I was going with cancelled. It’s a lot of money to spend to be there and then not have people show up.

    1. Hi Cathy,
      No doubt I am concerned b/c Quilt’s Inc. is one bad quilt market away from this entire quilt market thing falling apart. My fingers are crossed and my expectations are low.

  3. I’m optimistic and look forward to getting the green light (although I think we have one on their website already) – but maybe a bit more positive and confidence-building PR on the behalf of Quilts Inc. would be beneficial to all those preparing to spend big bucks to “show” at market or festival.
    I encourage everyone to attend – this is not the time to bail if the show goes on. Houston needs the revenue, those folks need their jobs and if you are inclined towards compassion for the current situation – this is the time to help by ATTENDING.
    All those shoppers, both wholesale and retail, can be part of the “rebuild Houston” and we all know – we love to buy and sell fabric, be inspired and all the good stuff we get jazzed at when surrounded by creativity.

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      The magnitude of this situation is pretty dire and it is hard for me to be optimistic. Yes, they could use some positive pr, but I just don’t know if words are going to change people’s minds. There is a big unknown factor and that worries people especially people in our industry. To be perfectly honest, I am really not thinking or talking about festival. I am really just talking about the quilt market. I think we need to distinguish between the lack of interest in continuing to attend quilt market and the desire of consumers to go to festival. We are talking about 2 totally different beasts. With that, getting back to the quilt market, I just don’t think the people are going to risk it. To be honest, the attendance has been going down and down and down and this is just going to add to that. I just wonder if cancelling and regrouping for a bigger and better May market would be better. Maybe skipping one market would make people more excited about attending and actually help the matter. I wish I had the answers, but these are only thoughts. Time will tell. I just sure hope that I am not wasting 5 days from being home with my family. Thanks for your comments. See you around.

  4. If Quilt Market is held, I will most certainly be there. Many people who are affected need to get back to work, and if they work in the hotels, restaurants, airport, etc.. then they count on us to support their economy. Quilt Market and Festival is the largest event at George Brown Convention Center and thus important to their economy. If they say they are ready then we should be ready to help them get their businesses back on track! And I write this from South Florida as I just finished putting up hurricane shutters in preparation for Irma.

    1. Hi Johanna,
      Thanks for your blog comment. Your comments are all valid, but the words alone are not going to change things. Our industry is probably not filled with risk takers who want to venture into the unknown of Texas. To miss one QM isn’t a big deal in most people’s minds. I am concerned, but I guess we will see how things play out.
      In any case, thinking of you and everyone in Florida. Hoping that this passes and isn’t as bad as forecast. Be safe and smart please. Godspeed.

      1. No words won’t help, but incoming $$ most definitely will help like a boycott of a major convention center event.
        I agree with you Joanna.
        A non-related CFO of a major corporation in Houston chatted with me about the subject we discuss here. He said “Houstonians see it as Life goes On and we need to get on with it. It would be a shame if your organization cancelled their event because of our situation. We need the revenue.”
        Not to mention all those shops who vend at market…this can be a good part of their annual revenue. If any part of quilt market were cancelled it would all be cancelled. If my shops have a good festival they order more goods from me. Therefore, festival is also very important.
        Now, are we concerned about Houston or are we concerned about wholesale market? Some people/vendors just don’t want to go to market and see this as a way out. Surely promoting the non-attendance will further effect our wholesale market.
        My hope is that Quilts Inc realizes they have an opportunity here to turn the PR around. Promote market as a way to HELP HOUSTON. We might get better attendance than ever.
        In any case I most definitely plan to attend and my shops in Texas are right there with me!

        1. Yes we are in dire need of a relief – and although sales might be down during the quilt show, there is a *comic relief* kind of thing that needs to happen for many of us Texans. Houston,Texas and surrounding towns are resilient and will bounce back, but those not effected will bring $ in. I am physically handicapped but intend to go this year (only my second time) – We appreciate everyone who is concerned about Texas !



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