I love to hear all the chatter and optimism surrounding the Jaftex purchase of FreeSpirit. On Facebook, I saw someone said, “Good things come to those who wait” and I couldn’t agree more with that statement.
My family is in this for the long haul. We are studying all aspects of the business to see what can be improved, simplified and streamlined. I spent a bunch of time reviewing the surveys, that Coats compiled in 2017, to read what shop owners had to say about the business. The info was very insightful. There were a few common themes that will be tackled first.
You will be happy to know that we are doing all we can to level the playing field on pricing and shipping. This is so critical for such a well known and highly visible brand. That being said, make sure your payments are up to date to avoid shipping interruptions from any of the Jaftex companies. If you are in arrears, you don’t have a strong leg to stand on when bringing non-shipping complaints to our attention. Many people were asking for invoices, those will be emailed and attached to shipments when we take over.
We will have to address distribution as time goes on as it seems too many shops are not being well-served, when in fact they want to order FreeSpirit. We can’t afford not to reach every person that wants to order. We are not too good for anyone, trust me. If need be, we will figure out other reasonable means to sell to those customers that aren’t getting enough attention. Please let me know if you have this problem: email@example.com.
ALSO, in the news:
- We are going to have a brand new website.
- We will have a dedicated shipping facility.
- We are adding more inspections at the precut facilities to ensure top quality.
- We are focused on keeping your favorite basics in stock. In fact, we have loads of basics in process as we speak, if they aren’t already on the boat.
- We have a full team of multi line reps assembled to cover all states, but for West Virginia. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off).
- Domestic shipping will be faster as our international partners buy more fabrics directly from the overseas mills instead of buying from our US stock.
- There will be plenty of inventory to cover regular orders so we can ship complete as often as possible. We especially want to be stocked up when the line is initially shipped so everyone gets their proper allocation and no one is left in the dust. We don’t want to mess up your planning whatsoever!
Some of the items being sold by the old FreeSpirit were being sold at below market prices. Yeah, I know! Sure Scott! For example, everyone knows digital is more costly than regularly printed goods. With that, we will be getting the digital pricing in line with the market. The same goes for poplin lines. Like digital, poplin is more expensive. There are a couple other price changes, but in general we are not trying to fleece everyone with much higher prices across the board. REMINDER: We are providing you with a premium brand from world renowned designers and the overhead of maintaining such a stable of designers is not low.
The major transition and official takeover of FreeSpirit is quickly approaching. I expect that everything should be wrapped up by May 1. By the way, the company is now only known as FreeSpirit. Short & sweet!
The next couple of months are going to be nothing short of crazy for my peeps. Please please please be patient with both Coats and Jaftex. Coats is still going to be shipping for themselves and then a little bit for us to keep things flowing. Keep in mind that we have to move over 1000 pallets of fabric across the state. Yes 1000 pallets! (I will have to get some photos.) We have to move everyone to a new office….over 20 people. We have to move and transfer all the technology. We have to decorate and furnish the offices. I can go on and on, but I am sure you get the drift.
It has been a pleasure to work with the Coats team. Considering that the business was almost closed, everyone really rallied to turn it around. I am very thankful to Coats and especially Keith Howard who is handling the lions share of the logistics for this deal. I think Coats has acted very fairly, they have been fully respectful of the deal and extremely helpful in trying to do whatever it takes to maintain the reputation of this amazing brand. You have no idea what a difference that makes. Kudos to team Coats!
Looking ahead, you should expect to see the latest and greatest lines from FreeSpirit starting in early May. We will have a major presence at market. I am hopeful that you will come by to see the new lines and show your support of the resurrection of FreeSpirit. Please contact your sales rep to set up an appointment at market. If you don’t have a rep, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly help you out.
Let me wrap this up as it is getting very lengthy and I have hit on most of the major points. Please know that there are a lot of moving parts with this deal. We hope to have everything under control, but there are always surprises lurking. Please hang in with us as best as you can knowing that the future looks very bright. One word of advice: it may not be the best time to over promise. Tread with caution until everything is under control and I give you the green light message.
I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support and patronage!
P.S. ANNA Maria Horner and her conservatory is going to be hosting the premier school house at quilt market. Hope to see you there.
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Ugh! Over 1000 words including these. I had to!