Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Watch Out Pittsburgh, Here Comes Studioe!

It is Wednesday morning, and as promised, let the consistency begin for my blog…here we go, one in a row.


I am rolling now. So the madness continues in the Jaftex offices as the team puts the finishing touches on the quilt market presentations and boy are they going to be a doozies….if I couldn’t say so myself.

 

First off, if you aren’t able to make it to market, please check out my YouTube review of the 11 new quilt market releases.   

 

If you are going to market, please don’t watch the video so we can dazzle you in person.  Studioe will be at booth 735 with winning quilts from the Colorful Peppered Cotton Challenge flying high.  The booth will also be decorated using fabric from the Pearle line which has shiny pearlescent metallic.  Come check it out and make sure to say hello to me and let me know that you are a fan of Studioe and my blog, of course.  I may have a surprise for you.  Henry Glass will be located at booth 727 so while you are visiting me, please make sure to go check out their great new lines as well. 

 

Secondly, please come and see Studioe at booth 76 at Sample Spree and Henry Glass at booth 77.  Studioe and Henry Glass will be offering mostly fat quarter bundles and cigar rolled fat quarters assorted in 10 piece bundles a.k.a. mish-mosh.  The lines that will be offered from Studioe will include:  Peppered Cottons, Pearle, Pirouette, Cream & Sugar, Watermark and Just Color!  Make sure to get a discount coupon for Sample Spree by attending the Studioe School House, entitled The Shot Cotton Party Continues.

 

Thirdly (is that a word?), Speaking of School House, Pepper Cory will once again be the emcee extraordinaire on Thursday from 11:35 to 12:05 in room 316 where she will discuss what is new with her Peppered fabric lines. Goodies will be given out, new fabrics and solid shot cotton colors will be introduced, contest winner’s projects will be displayed and Pepper will take questions.  Make sure to listen closely for details about the free freight promotion being offered on Pepper’s new lines of solids and fancies.  Come check us out before lunchtime and try to arrive early as last year there was standing room only.  I am hoping to have that high class problem again this year….fingers crossed.

 

Finally, if you would like to make an appointment with myself, or one of my able co-workers, to review the new lines, please email me at scott@jaftex.com.  Also, you are always welcome to just stop by without an appointment and we will be sure to accommodate you.  Thanks so much for your time.  Hoping to see you next week in Pittsburgh!  And make sure to come back next Wednesday to see my next blog and the Wednesday after that and the Wednesday after that to infinity.  Go Studioe!

 

Safe Travels!

Scott

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Oh, How Things Change

Now that I have committed to writing consistent weekly blogs, that now means I am going to have to come up with subjects to talk about….a lot of them. 

 

I will make all efforts to make sure this doesn’t become a blah blah blah-g.  I will be sure to keep it fresh and interesting and try to spare you the boring details of my life, but you are sure to get to know me a lot better. 
 
So why am I calling this blog, “Oh, How Things Change?”  As you know from my last entry, I spent one night in Ann Arbor last week at my alma mater, University of Michigan.  It has been over 2 decades since I was back and oh have things changed.  For the better?  For the worse?  You can decide for yourself.  Me personally, I have mixed emotions leaning toward the negative.
 
From the positive side, the campus is beautiful and more brick has been laid in Ann Arbor than I have ever seen before.  To me, this shows that the University is thriving with endowments that would make Warren Buffett look poor.  At the same time, it probably means that tuitions are through the roof.  In any case, the campus is truly beautiful. 
 

 
From the negative side, the town immediately surrounding campus now looks like a who’s who of the New York Stock Exchange.  Gone are the quaint family run businesses that I used to love to frequent.  In their places are Walgreens, CVS, Five Guys, Buffalo Wild Wings, etc.  I could go on.  Is change good?  Or bad? 

 

I have seen a bumper sticker that said “change is good.”  I don’t know who to listen to anymore, but let me tell you that I changed to the iPhone and so far I miss my Blackberry.  Maybe the iPhone and Ann Arbor will grow on me in the future.  For now, not so much.
 
Thanks for listening to me vent and please feel free to post any blog ideas that you might have for me.
 
See you in Pittsburgh and please email me for an appointment at scott@jaftex.com
Signing off,
Scott e

COLORFUL CHALLENGE FINAL WINNERS

Announcing – the winners of the COLORFUL Peppered Cotton CHALLENGE! 

 

First let me say that the judges found this task to be particularly tough. The top 10 finalists were all beautiful works of art. You can see them HERE.

In Third place: Fresh Packed Potential by Dorie Schwarz of Mason, Michigan. The store where she purchased Peppered Cottons is Pink Castle Fabrics. This quilt is an original design and measures 60″ x 70″. Dorie will receive a cash prize of $100. and $250 in retail value of Studioe Fabrics. The shop, Pink Castle Fabrics, will receive 5 bolts of Peppered Cottons. 

 

“Fresh Packed Potential” by Dorie Schwarz

 

 

 

In Second Place: Round and Round, Bumpity, Bump by Susan Garrity of Wilson, WY. The store where she purchased Peppered cottons is called Stitch ‘n Time. This quilted piece is an original design, measuring 40″ x 46″. Susan will receive $300 cash and $250 in retail value of Peppered Cottons. The store will receive 10 bolts of Peppered Cottons. 

“Round and Round, Bumpity, Bump” by Susan Garrity



Finally, the WINNER of the COLORFUL Peppered Cotton CHALLENGE is: “Ebb and Flow… Action and Reaction” by Deb Schultz of Jackson, Wyoming. The store where she purchased Peppered cottons is called Stitch ‘n Time. This quilted piece is an original design that measures 33″ x 33″. Deb will receive $500 in cash and $250 in retail value of Peppered Cottons fabric. The store will receive 15 bolts of Peppered Cottons. 

 

“Ebb and Flow… Action and Reaction” by Deb Schultz


 

Additionally, the finalists will all receive some Peppered Cotton fabric, valued at $50.

 

Studioe Fabrics wants to thank each of the contestants who signed up for the COLORFUL Peppered Cotton CHALLENGE. We appreciate your creativity and most importantly your decision to choose Peppered Cottons for your projects. 

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Consistency

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive:  Consistency

 

Pink Castle Fabrics

 

It is 9 am Thursday morning and I am sitting at Amer’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan pondering the last two weeks of my work travails and travels, prior to heading to my appointment at Pink Castle Fabrics.  Last week I was in the Carolina’s, showing off the new Studioe and Henry Glass lines, videotaping a YouTube video previewing the Studioe May release and visiting all my fabric at the SNS warehouse.  After finishing the video, I sat down with my Studioe marketing, advertising and social media team.  That sounds very official and fancy, but in all honesty, it was just 3 of us:  me, Vanessa and our newest social media guru, Katie.

 

As we got to talking about some ideas for Studioe, the conversation turned into a schooling for me about how we need to get some consistency going.  The point being that if we want to continue to gain followers, things need to be done more consistently.  For example, I need to start blogging weekly.  So, with that, I intend to have a blog posted every Wednesday.  That way, you can put it in your calendar to read Scott’s blog every Wednesday after 9 am for the rest of your life.  In addition, I am going to have to do something similar with Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.  Drum roll please……in order to be able to do all these tasks, I finally caved and bought an IPhone.  Vanessa told me that the IPhone was the panacea for all my woes….thus far it definitely isn’t.  In any case, you can expect more consistency from me and Studioe in the coming weeks and months.  The truth is that everyone likes a little consistency in their lives.  So in my infinite efforts to make Studioe totally amazing, I will be bringing the consistency.  I hope you appreciate it.

 

New iphone

 

Finally, if you are intending to go to the Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, I would love to set up an appointment.  Please contact me by replying to this blog or emailing me at scott@jaftex.com….you will be happy you did.  Off to Pink Castle!  Have a great weekend.

Scottconsistency.

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive, The Peppered Cotton Challenge Is Officially Over, 10 Finalists Announced

Dear Studioe Fans and Especially Peppered Cotton Challenge Contestants,

A big AMEN to the 31 contestants who took the time to participate in the Peppered Cotton Challenge.  Thank you!  I hope you enjoyed yourselves.  I was pleasantly surprised with the number of participants in the first big Studioe contest and I was especially happy with the quality of all the entries.  I was getting kind of nervous as we got closer to the deadline, but as I expected, I received over a dozen entries in the last 3 or 4 days….Procrastinators of the world did unite

 

Of the 31 entries, 13 people bought their fabric at the Stitch N’ Time Quilt Shop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  If you recall from one of my previous blogs, these entries were all from the guild members that I met when I spoke at the Jackson Hole Quilt Festival.  Needless to say, I am glad I made that trip, otherwise the contest might have been a bust.  So a big shout out to all my new friends in Jackson Hole…thanks for your enthusiasm and participation.  I can’t wait to come back.  No doubt that Kim, the owner of Stitch N’ Time, is excited about her prospects of winning one or more of the top prizes.

 

Two of the finalists were from Michigan and they both bought their fabric from Pink Castle Fabrics in good old Ann Arbor, Michigan….the city of my alma mater, University of Michigan.  Go blue!  Ironically, I just made a date to go see Pink Castle Fabrics shop at the end of the month and I am looking forward to that as well as visiting a lot of memorable places from my college days. I am sure that Brenda of Pink Castle is excited about her prospects too. Lastly, the other two finalists were from Ohio and Kentucky and I was happy to note that one of them was a man.  Go boys!

 

Of the 31 contestants, two of them were from out of the country, so unfortunately they can’t win as only US customers could participate….no offense of course, but we need to keep things as simple as possible.  Sorry, as we do appreciate all the international Studioe fans.  With that, I must give a big shout out to the designer of Pepperpot.    What an awesome piece of work!  If I were judging, Pepperpot would have given the bear a run for the money, but I am not a judge so who cares what I think.  I would like to personally let Pepperpot know that I would love to use your project and show it off if you were willing to send it to our offices.  Nice job!

 

 

So without further ado, here are the 11 finalists. 

There really are supposed to be 10, but I had to make an exception for the 11th finalist.  I am not going to post each finalist’s name because I want to assure each finalist has privacy and I don’t want them to have to deal with the media and paparazzi.  The photographers at FabShop News and Fons & Porter are way aggressive….NOT! (note sarcasm if you haven’t figured out my sense of humor yet).  Drum roll please…………………….in alphabetical order:

 

Ascend

Beacon

Current

Disco

Ebb & Flow…Action & Reaction

Fresh Pack Potential

Mr. Bear

Moons of Metropia.jpg

Round and Round, Bumpity, Bump

Urban Amish

My wavelength design from the front cover of FabShop News February Issue.  Go me!     

 

I spent part of my afternoon yesterday contacting each of the finalists.  Each of them was so excited to have been selected and so enthusiastic about their projects.  I always love to speak with consumers and shop owners as they have so much love for fabric…just like me.  Several projects used all 25 colors that we were offering at the time when the contest began.  Moreover, several of the project designs were original.  I just love the creative energy.

 

I have advised all the finalists that they need to send their projects to Vanessa by April 15 for the final stringent judging.

The 3 winners will be contacted before the end of April and the winner’s names will be posted around May 1, and available for viewing at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh May 17-19.

 

Have a blessed day!

Studioe

Scott

 

P.S.  Check out this photo of cornice that I made with Peppered Cottons for my son’s room.

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Mother Nature In 2014 (A Word Play On The Weather)

Mother Nature has been a real….bit…bit….bitter cold lady this year. Her wrath has been fierce and the gravity of her weather patterns have been rainful (sic) and snowful. Not just for those of us in typically breezy and gusty areas, but this bit….bit….bitter ice lady has spread her turbulence and haze throughout the US. Polar Vortex, global warming, el nino, ozone depletion could be too blame, according to the flood of talking heads on TV, but who really cares about the root cause. It is what it is and all of us have to roll with the downdraft. We have no choice in the matter. Personally, the climate has affected my work in dif-front (sic) ways…mostly bad…which I will discuss more b-low.

Moreover, I will discuss how this has pressured all the people associated with my work and our fabric. Let’s start with work travel. I travel often by car, t-rain and plane and as I write this sentence I can only think how perfectly the movie Planes, T-rains and Automobiles depicts the suckiness of having to travel when a weather advisory is being deciphered from the radar readings. Airports and train stations have scattered crowdedness. Schedules are delayed. Flights are cancelled. I am sweating my butt off in my thermal underwear. The roads are a nightmare as they are slick and there are large potholes everywhere. Chalk me up for two flat tires. I think you get the point and have probably experienced similar atmospheric drama somewhere along the line.

Dew (sic) to the blizzards, hail and ice storms, our offices in NY have been closed for a couple days. Those days are gone and we can’t get them back. It is costly and there is no insurance for that. Even the office in South Carolina and our contract warehouse closed for two days and that is more or less unheard of. All days that we can’t get back this year or ever….it’s just an avalanche of problems. The days are gone as fast as lightning, a fleeting rainbow or a melting snowflake. Business and money more or less out the window for Mother Nature to burn and evaporate into the stratosphere.

For our dedicated traveling sales professionals, the road has been cloudy and misty and it has certainly taken a toll on their wallets and will. For our customers, you the quilt shop owners, you too have had your share of problems. You probably don’t even want to see sales reps because business has been so slow or just slower than normal.

Customers are too cold and too afraid to deal with the bit…..bit…. bitter lady and her ominous forecasts. Bills are piling up and some fear and depression sets in about how the first quarter will affect the year among many other converging issues like Obamacare, minimum wage, competition, etc. It takes a toll on your life and the stress can put you in a fog. Deliveries are probably delayed by Fedex and UPS throwing a wrench into budgets and the list goes on and on.

But I am not here to depress you. In fact, I want to calm you and get you excited about the chance of things heating up. So here is the brighter side, an untested theory by one Scott Fortunoff. The dedicated quilter and the ultimate consumer loves to quilt and has been home quilting rather diligently lately because that is what she does when she has down time. She is digging into her stash that she had been building for a snowy day and it is now depleted. Yes, depleted! This could be a cardinal sin of the first order. Everyone can’t wait for more normal weather and an Indian summer so they can go outside and spend their money that is burning a hole in their pockets. The pent up demand is building and it is hopefully going to translate into a tornado or cyclone of better days ahead.

I hope you are ready to ride the wave because it is going to hit so fast like a gust of wind, tornado or a flash flood. If you are not ready, give me a call as I have some great fabric for you. So smile because hopefully the sun will come out tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. Keep your head up, stay in the game and chill out. Better days are ahead for all of us. Amen to that! Signing off from The Studioe Studio, this is your fabric weather forecaster, Scott Fortunoff.

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Time Is Running Out.

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive:  Time Is Running Out. 

 

Can you hear that noise? It is getting louder! Tick, tock, tick, tock…that is the noise of time running out on your big chance.   Your big chance to win some great prizes, publicity and pride for winning the Peppered Cotton Challenge.  Chop chop, get a move on it and upload your project and fill out the entry form by March 31st at midnight.  As they say, time is money and fabric and these days we could all use some of both.

 

I can bear-ly contain myself.  Did you happen to see one of the most recent submissions to the contest of the bear made with the Peppered Cottons?  I am pretty sure that it is a bear, although when I emailed it to my dad he called it a lion.  That’s just semantics anyway….to-may-toe, to-mah-to, po-tay-toe, po-tah-to, lion, bear.  In any case, it is really awesome as are all the other cool submissions so far.  I can’t wait to see what all the procrastinators have up their sleeves.  Bring it on!  The suspense is killing me.

 

Speaking of procrastinators…I myself waited until February to submit a little something to the contest.  I bet you want to see it and had no idea that I could quilt.  You wouldn’t believe it, but somehow it ended up on the front cover of the February issue of FabShop News.  I thought I submitted it to the Studioe site, but somehow Laurie Harsh and Julia Marrone of Fabshop sabotaged it and smacked it on the front cover of the February Issue.  Those gals sure are crafty, even Snowden would be impressed. What do you think? 

 

If you ask me what I think, I think that I wish I was so talented to make such an awesome quilt.  So I must give credit where credit is due and tell you that this 64″x84″ quilt called Wavelength was designed by Heidi Pridemore, made by Deborah Fenton and quilted by Karen McTavish.  Nice job ladies!

 

You will be happy to know that I won’t be judging the Peppered Cotton Challenge….so no conflicts there.  I am rooting for everyone!  Good luck and thank you for participating in this contest.  If we get enough submissions, it might be worth doing more of these.

Stay Warm,

Scott    

FACEBOOK WINNER!


Winners of this Week’s Facebook Giveaway! 


Renee Ruddell HootenPlainview, Texas Hexagons

Susan Kramer Blumenshein Washington State Watermark quarter cuts

Emily Callender Pennsylvania Metropia Quarter cuts

Elaine Mercer – Mr Roboto Quarter cuts       


 

To claim your prize please send an e-mail to LWALKER@FABRICEDITIONS.COM with your NAME, ADDRESS, and PHONE NUMBER. The package will be put in the mail as soon as possible!

 

Thank you for your participation! Please keep an eye for more giveaways on our Facebook page!

 

Tales of a Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Procrastinators Unite For The Peppered Cotton Challenge!

Dear Studioe Blog Reader,

It is now early March and I anxiously await your submissions to the Peppered Cotton Challenge for which you have only had about 6 months to prepare.  Please stop procrastinating! 

As I write this blog, there are only 6 submissions and I imagine there are many more to come at the 23rd hour.  Please don’t wait until the very last moment in case you run into any technical snafus….you don’t want to get excluded over a technicality.  That would be a shame.

Do you like money?  How about free fabric?  How about fame for being a talented artisan?  If you answered yes to any or all of  these questions, it is not too late to start your project for the contest as you have until the end of March.  Come on, let’s do this!  You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. 

In other Peppered Cotton news, let me give you some inside scoop: 

First off, Studioe is selling Peppered Cotton Fat Quarter bundles.  There are two rotations comprising of 10 different colors in each bundle.  These are the top 20 selling colors.  Store owners must buy 8 bundles…4 of each of the two rotations.  That is what will come in a box.  Of course, you can buy more than one box while supplies last.  These are only being sold through sales reps or on the website and the price is very competitive.  So contact your direct Studioe sales rep or go to www.studioefabrics.com to order the bundles.  These will ship April-May.  

 

Second off, at the May quilt market, Studioe will introduce 15 new Peppered Cotton colors to get to a total of 50 solids.  It seems like we will stop at 50 colors until Pepper and Megan can come up with additional colors that will add some more spice to the current line. 

Finally, and most importantly, at the May market, Studioe will also be offering, let’s call them Peppered Cotton Fancies, which will include:  plaids, checks and stripes.  We have 18 new skus and they will go perfectly together and with many of the Peppered Cotton Solids.  You can expect the same hand and quality as the solids.  Trust me, you will love them.  I am super excited about these…thank you Pepper!  We will have some nice projects to support this new offering.  In addition, there may be another Peppered Cotton Challenge on the horizon.  Stay tuned. 

Make sure to stop by the Studioe booth to say hello to me at the Pittsburgh Quilt Market.

 

Happy quilting with Studioe Fabrics!

Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Genius Behind It All Part 3: My Father

The Genius Behind It All Part 3:  My Father

Now that my dad survived this ordeal with the blood clots, I wanted to delve into more detail as to why he is the brains behind Jaftex. 

In 1930, my great-grandfather, Jacob A. Fortunoff started Jaftex. 

He mainly dealt in flannelette and cotton fabrics.   So of course he gets the credit for starting the business.  Jacob had 3 sons, but only two ended up in the business, Dan (my uncle) and Everett (my grandfather).  As time went on, the mainstay of the business became women’s lingerie and various types of sleepwear.  Uncle Dan’s son, Glenn, and my dad, Robert, each joined the business too.  My dad started working for Jaftex when he was 17. I am not sure exactly when Glen started, but I think it was when he was in his twenties.

At that time the businesses included Jaftex, E-D Knitting (named after E-verett and D-an), Bertenn Textile (named after Ro-bert and Gl-enn), Andrea Knitting (named after my dad’s sister) and Oxford Printing and Finishing (a textile mill in Oxford, North Carolina).  Recall my earlier blogs about working at the plant in Oxford, North Carolina.

Sometime in the 1980’s, my dad started to make his big moves.  First he bought out his uncle, Dan, and cousin, Glenn.  Thereafter, my dad, and to a lesser degree, my grandfather, were the owners with my dad running the show.

The timing wasn’t great because much of the lingerie and sleepwear business started moving overseas, but this is where the real genius comes in to play.

In the ensuing years, my dad made some critical business decisions that would shape Jaftex to what it is today.  What you will notice is that almost all the companies were purchased and that is why there are so many different names used.  The big question is whether my dad had the foresight to get out of the lingerie business and into the over the counter business or was he just lucky?  I guess at this point, the answer doesn’t really matter because dad is being credited for being the genius either way, but I think he had the foresight.    

In no particular order,

  • He bought A.E. Nathan which owned a plant in the Carolinas.  A.E. Nathan primarily sold fabric to the retail chains as it still does today.  
  • He purchased Henry Glass Fabrics which was the first foray into the over-the-counter quilt shop only business.  
  • He purchased the Stylemaker which specialized in yarn dyed flannels from Portugal.  
  • He purchased Chanteclaire Fabrics which was another company in the quilt shop only business specializing in reproductions.  
  • He hired a gentleman from JP Stephens who brought over a book of business that he built up with the chains when JP Stephens went bankrupt.  He specialized in sourcing fabrics from India.  That was the first foray into sourcing fabrics from India.

Recall from previous blogs that I visited India with this gentleman.  At some point, my dad closed the two plants that we owned and starting working with SNS, a contract warehouse.  This decision also proved to be prescient as we never did well running plants, dealing with unions and labor or running businesses that we could not be intimately involved.  The distance between New York and the Carolinas proved to be a major hurdle. All of this happened between the 1980’s and the early 2000’s. 

More recently, we purchased Fabric Editions in 2011 from which we spun out the Studioe division.  So as of 2014, the business looks like this:

  • Studioe Fabrics sells to quilt shops only worldwide.
  • A.E. Nathan continues to sell mainly to the chains.
  • Henry Glass sells to quilt shops only worldwide.
  • Fabric Editions specializes in pre-cut fabrics mostly for the chains.

All of the other companies were absorbed into what remains to be the current structure.

I hope you enjoyed some of the history of our family business.  I look forward to what lies ahead and hope one day that someone can write about what I did to shape the company.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our 85th anniversary celebrations at the 2015 Houston Quilt Market.