Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Quilt Market

Happy Monday Folks,

In anticipation of the Quilt Market in Houston, that begins later this week, I wanted to share some words of wisdom so we can all maximize the potential of Quilt Market.  As an industry, there is nothing we all need more than to have a successful show.  No matter how things play out, my team and I are going to keep a positive attitude, keep our heads up, have smiles on our faces and work as hard as we can to SELL FABRIC!

What we aren’t going to do is be Debbie Downers, bashing on what might be the weaknesses of market.  There is no more time for that anymore.  It is what it is.  Everyone, and I mean everyone attending market, needs to unite to maximize the potential of this show because our industry needs it badly and the people of Quilt’s Inc. need it too.  Not only that, but the people and city of Houston could certainly use our help through our patronage of local businesses.  Come on people, let’s get pumped up.  Stop the negativity and let’s make things happen.

Enough with my preaching.  I want to give some pointers on how we can make things run more smoothly to the benefit of everyone attending and working the show.  Here goes in no particular order:

  • Be mindful of your quilt market etiquette which would not be much different from your regular etiquette.  Don’t forget that many people are on the clock working and not there to mess around and be distracted.
  • Avoid interrupting people that are in the middle of meetings.  Yes, all customers are important, but the person sitting in front of me at any particular time with a proper appointment is my priority.  If you need me, there are plenty of other people at my company that can help you.  They can also take your business card so that I can get back to you asap.

  • Try to stick to your schedule and don’t over book.  In theory it is good to have big plans, but once that schedule starts to run late and fall apart, your day is totally screwed as are all the people that you have appointments with.  If you are running late for an appointment, communicate that with the person you had the appointment with so that they could use the time productively and not just linger waiting for you.

  • Keep in mind that everyone is under a lot of different stresses and pressures and everyone handles them differently.  Try not to add any undue stress to those working.
  • Be respectful of company booths.  Ask to take pictures.  Ask to touch.  Don’t leave your trash in the booth or candy wrappers on the floor.  Don’t linger over people that are working at the booth.  Don’t chat on your phone while people are working nearby.  It’s all about respect people which unfortunately seems to have been lost a little in this day and age of technology.  Common courtesy is critical and is greatly appreciated by all.

  • Smile.  Say hello.  Make eye contact.  Introduce yourself.  Don’t be afraid to say, “I am sorry, but I can’t remember your name.”  I love meeting new people and I love it when people come up to me and say hello.  I promise to welcome you with open arms as will the rest of my team at the Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp., the Henry Glass Fabrics, the A.E. Nathan and the Fabric Editions booths.
  • Don’t be insulted if I don’t remember you.  I probably remember your face, but maybe not your name or company.  Please understand that I meet tons of people every year and if I meet you at just one or two quilt markets a year, it isn’t easy to remember everyone as you might imagine.  It is nothing personal at all, so please don’t let it hurt your feelings.  With that being said, please make sure that your quilt market badges are facing in the right direction so that people can see your name clearly and no one has to be embarrassed.

To have your badge spun around makes it difficult, drives me crazy and makes the name badges useless.  Sometimes you will see me attempting to spin the badge around by waving my hands in a fan motion or trying to blow the badge around very subtly when the person isn’t looking.  That’s a joke, but make sure you badge is working for you and not against you.

  • Speaking of not being insulted, I can’t help myself from having a wandering eye at market as much as I try not to.  Don’t take this personally as you need to understand that I have a crew of people that I need to manage and make sure everyone is doing what they should be.  I try to stay focused, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.  Sorry in advance and thanks for understanding.
  • Be careful what you say and who you say it to.  Everyone knows everybody in our industry and you don’t want to embarrass yourself by saying something stupid to the wrong person.  As I like to say, “Loose lips sink ships.”

  • I suggest chatting random people up at market.  There are so many smart and knowledgeable people at market and you should certainly get to know them.  Usually when I grab lunch in the convention center, I try to sit with random people and stir up some conversation.  This is not a time to be shy.  What do you have to lose?  You just never know who you are going to meet and how meeting that person is going to change you or your business for the better.
  • Quilt Market is very conducive to an unhealthy and tiring lifestyle for a couple of days.  Make sure to take care of you.  Try and eat healthy.  Drink lots of water.  Don’t over drink alcohol.  Exercise. Get plenty of sleep.  Go out of the convention center and walk around the block.  Whatever it is, know that we all need a break and need to take care of our mind, body and soul to be able to work at full capacity.

  • Get involved.  Go to school houses.  Go to take and teaches.  Go to events at booths.  Make the best of this trip because there is so much to take in which can certainly help your business thrive.

I am sure there are lots more suggestions on how to make the market work for you, but these are the first ones that come to my mind and I am sticking to them.  I wish everyone attending market a safe trip and I look forward to seeing you very soon.  If you need me, I can be reached at scott@jaftex.com or 917 751 5487 and I am at booth #2319.  Now let’s have some fun and make this an awesome show for everyone and make sure all those that aren’t attending see all the greatness they are missing out on so maybe they will reconsider and in fact attend the next show.

Quilt Market Sage Scott

1185 words including these (Sorry)

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.

22 thoughts on “Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Quilt Market”

  1. Very good advise for many aspects of our lives. I have nothing to do with market, but enjoyed reading your article.

  2. I’ve never been to a market, but hope to some day. All of your suggestions are sound good etiquette rules to follow any time.

    Good luck there!

  3. Good advice for Market and every day! Be careful with flipping those name badges. I can only imagine the comments that would be made if you actually tried to flip with over with fanning motions or blowing. Oh my! You may not be remembered as the “sewing machine giveaway guy” after that. I look forward to your post-market posts. Have fun and be safe!

  4. Great rules to live by at any meeting or venue! I will be referring to your post as I get ready and make the most of my day at the Festival! I AM INVOLVED!! (I’m just a volunteer, but it still counts!)

  5. Hi Scott, Wow, what a way to terrorize me first thing in the morning!!! I heard footsteps at my front door, banging of boxes, 2 beeps and footsteps going away. I cautiously opened the door and found, GUESS WHAT(?) a SEWING MACHINE!!!! My terror became jubilation when I realized my good fortune! I am thrilled with the machine and the added bonus of a sewing starter kit. Perfect timing too. Now I can show up at my Mom’s at Christmas bearing gifts!! (They won’t eat my cooking, so a gift of food was completely out of the question.) LOL I plan to call my cancer center to see if they will accept handmade gifts (you an I discussed this). This is truly a blessing, Scott. Photos to follow when I learn how to that. HA Thank you, Scott, for your kindness. Patti Walker

  6. Hi, I would love to win a new sewing machine so i can pass my present one down to my youngest child. Thank you!

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