Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: 2018…The Year Of The Sewing Machine

Happy Monday To All My Favorite People,

I am going to reveal a secret to all you shop owners out there.  Some may already know the secret, but others may not and I hope that this perhaps opens your eyes to new opportunities that will help to increase your profits and improve your business in 2018 and forward.

As you know, since the summer, I have been giving away free sewing machines to those facing difficult circumstances in their lives.  No doubt sewing relaxes people, helps to relieve stress and also distracts from stress.  All good things if you ask me.  If you take a closer look at the free sewing machine giveaway though, you could see that it might have some unintended positive effects on my business too.  Simply put: more sewing machines in circulation=more fabric used and sold.  The thing is that it doesn’t only help my companies, it helps our entire industry that we all need to thrive for many years to come.  My fifth generation of Fortunoffs surely needs it to thrive as they are going to need jobs in the not too distant future.

Jaftex 5G. My boys are the younger ones in the black jackets.

Allow me to compare razors to sewing machines to put my secret in to perspective. Companies that sell razors don’t get rich selling the razors.  They get rich selling the razor blades since not many people need razor blades without the razors.  With respect to sewing machines, not all sewers need sewing machines, but if they have a sewing machine, that should result in an increased demand for fabric since projects will get completed quicker and more frequently.  In other words, the more fabric machines that are in circulation, the higher the demand will be for fabrics too.  This is a win/win for everyone in our great fabric industry.  Not only that, but if you read my recent blog, this sewing machine growth will help to fuel my self-proclaimed SEWING REVOLUTION that I hopefully sparked  a little in my last blog post.   According to a recent survey that was revealed at quilt market, there is an estimated 7-10 million quilters in the US and there is no reason why that number shouldn’t explode with the help of increased sewing machine and fabric sales.

Now that I have established that the circulation of more machines equals more fabric sales, I must finally reveal the big secret.  My secret for success in 2018 is for shops that don’t carry machines to carefully revisit the possibility and logistics of starting to sell machines in their shop.  Please don’t be afraid to change and try something new because you may be very surprised at the results.  As I often say, change is good.  The advantage of doing this is that you now have an additional source of income with higher margin items and larger dollar sales.  Many shop owners that sell machines tell me that they couldn’t survive without the machines.  I know that isn’t the case for everyone, but bringing sewing machines in for sale could certainly help your shop to thrive in 2018 and forward.  Not only that, but if you sell more machines, you will sell more razor blades….ooops, I mean you will sell more fabric.  This all goes hand in hand and results in growth which we would all welcome.

I often use the quote from the movie Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”  If you bring in the sewing machines, they will come and buy them and then they will come in and buy more fabric, more frequently.    However, before you run out and go crazy finding sewing machines to sell, I suggest that you do some thorough homework because this is a big decision and investment.  Contact a variety of sewing machine companies and find out the logistics of getting machines in your shop.  Contact at least 2-3 different companies so you could compare them and see which one offers you the best deal and which makes the most sense for you based on your specific needs.  Ask about specials and financing.  Reach out to another shop owner you know that carries machines and pick their brains.

You need to see if you have sufficient space for the machines.  If space is limited, you may want to consider smaller machines or work with a company that allows you to buy a couple machines at a time that will be replenished as you sell.  The thing is that the sewing machine companies want to sell the machines, so push them to get you the best deal possible for your circumstances.  My final word of caution is that you make sure that your financial position allows you to bring in sewing machines  because you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin and get yourself in a bind and put your entire business and family at risk.

Now that I got that out of the way, I am going to take it one step further and then wrap up.  Please consider attending the Vacuum & Sewing Trade Show & Convention (VDTA & SDTA) from March 24-26 at the Charlotte Convention center at 501 S. College Street, Charlotte, NC.  Click this link to learn more.  I will be attending this show for the second year in a row and I think it is worthwhile for you to poke around and learn about new opportunities.  Finally, not only might you consider bringing in sewing machines, but you may want to delve in to the possibility of carrying vacuums too.  You just never know!

Food For Thought…what do you think?

Sewing Machine Scott

PS…If you decide to add sewing machines to your shop, I would love to hear about it and I will certainly help to spread the word for you.

965 words including these.

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.

26 thoughts on “Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: 2018…The Year Of The Sewing Machine”

  1. Hi I am a quilter of 20+ years. My daughter has always helped me from a very young age. She is now 27 and is stsrting to quilt on her own and uses a very old second hand machine. It would be so great if she could be surprised with one of your machines..

    1. Hi Debbie,
      Thanks for your request. However, based on what you are saying here, she already has a machine in spite of it not being so new. My mission is truly to give machines to people that don’t have access to a machine at all. I am sorry.

  2. Scott…. every time I use my sewing machine I won I think of your kindness! I also think how happy and lucky I am to have it . Working on a project and I will post pics when I finish. I am going to make bookmarks for my grandkids class for Christmas. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Sharon. That’s great and I am glad you are getting my money’s worth….lol. It makes me very happy. I look forward to see all that you are creating. Happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Hi Scott,
    Another way for a shop to carry machines is to be a Sub-dealer. Their store sells under another store. This is very affordable. I have several customers going this route to sell machines.

  4. Hey Scott – I get what you are saying about adding sewing machines to the sales in fabric shops. May I add my two cents? You know I am going to anyway! There is great wisdom in carrying a wide price point range. There need to be machines that are affordable to the average sewer. My LQS carries machines that start at well over $700. It is mighty intimidating. If the point is to encourage people to sew, which will lead to more fabric and notion sales, let’s not leave them with no money to do so!

    1. Hi Barb,
      Of course you could add your 2 cents. Thanks for that. I think that people who carry machines probably can’t carry every one, so they pick a spot depending on their clientele and what they think would sell best. I do hear what you are saying.

  5. There is a need for quality machines at an affordable price.

    Teaching quilting lets me interact with students and their machines. Oh the frustration that happens when students show up with their machine and it performs poorly. There are specific machines that consistently fail, yet they are the machines that so many recommend.
    To return sewing to a peaceful pastime we need a simple mechanical machine that is made to hold up to use. The current lower end to mid market machines are not built with longevity in mind. One might make the argument that these machines are entry level and as the one using it learns and grows they will advance to new machines. I find this not to be so. They become frustrated and they leave sewing for activities that really do provide simple enjoyment.
    So as a request to sewing machine manufacturers please either show me a “reasonably” priced machine that will consistently preform without perpetual frustration or make a machine that works-this is a challenge to you!

    1. I agree completely! I too have had people give up on sewing for the same reason. I’m tired of seeing every sewing blog pushing the same brand (which by the way many bloggers receive for free to promote the brand). More affordable and reliable machines make for happy sewists with more money in their pockets to buy more fabric and notions. And a happy (not frustrated) sewist stands a better chance of making sewing a lifetime hobby.

  6. A couple of years ago at a time of brokenness, I sat in a rocking chair outside in the cold, wrapped in a quilt. That quilt is now falling apart but I am not. I went out and bought a cheap sewing machine and began to heal. I now make and anonymously donate those things to entire grade levels at the local schools, and make pillowcases for everyone at the nursing home. Yes, it jams, skips stitches, my stitches don’t look right, but sometimes it’s more important what you CAN DO, than what you can’t. People now have known my love and my touch, but will not know me. Someday I will have a new quilt, a new sewing machine, and someday I will even embroider. But until then me and my little machine will keep making things a little better for others. It’s the heart of the person, not the ability of the machine.

  7. Hi, I have a young lady in my Quilt group (age 14) who entered her first quilt in a local quilt show was summer. Her name is Hannah Gwin. She has to use her Grandmother machine. If I win I would give the machine to her. She comes to our meeting every chance she gets. She is really interested in seeing. I have photo of her with her quilt if you’d like to see it.

  8. I would love to win a machine so that I can gift it to one of the girls scouts or young girls that I work with teaching to sew. One special little girl comes to mind. Her name is Kaylie and she has a special talent and shows promise of a love for sewing. Her sister is also a creative young lady and I’d love to put a machine in their home.

  9. Hi I’m Kelcie. My sister Kaylie and I learn to sew with Dawn. We would love to have a machine of our own in our home.

  10. I have been sewing on a hand me down machine from my mother in law for the last 10 years or so. And over the last 2 years my now 7 yr old daughter has become obsessed with helping me. We have made numerous quilts together. Unfortunately, it’s on its last leg and is very temperamental and works when it wants to, which is not always when I want it too. A new machine would be amazing and would help me continue teaching my daughter to sew. She wants to start venturing in to making dresses for herself. Thank you for considering us for a new sewing machine.

  11. Hi, I saw your fb post about giving away 10 more sewing machines. I have been without one for two years now and am chomping at the bit to sew again. You see I sold my old machine thinking that I would replace it with a new one soon as I could. Well, things didn’t go as I planned when my brother who only has one leg, got very sick and almost died. I was living in MO and he in CO. Long story short, I had to move to CO to take care of him. I haven’t been able to afford a new machine because rents and everything are so high out here. Winning a new sewing machine would be a godsend for me. My Mom taught me to sew when I was a teenager and I even did sewing for decorators for 7 years. I am lost without it. Plus, I have a new grandson on the way and have started embroidering some squares for a quilt, but no way of putting it together as yet. After joining several fb quilting groups, I have fallen in love with quilt making and know that is what I want to do. Thank you for considering me! You are a true angel for giving these sewing machines to those in need!

  12. Hi Scott,
    I would love to have a sewing machine.ive been reading a lot about quilting and would love to make some quilts to pass down.Not to mention I could teach my granddaughter who is 8 yrs old how to quilt as she has no mother or father Thank you for all you do wether you chose me or not.Thanks for being a blessing to others in need.

  13. I am writing because i saw that you were giving away sewing machines. I am in need of a machine because mine was taken and never returned. This would be a christmas present that would be cherished by many.
    Thank you for your generous gifts to the many who receive the machines. You are truly a blessed person.

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