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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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Bits ‘N’ Pieces Is Back

Dear Readers,

I realized that I haven’t done a bits ‘n’ pieces blog in awhile.  Nor have I done a fabric yenta blog either.  Don’t you worry though, the fabric yenta will be back real soon with a brand new series called “Big Macher.”  With that, let’s focus this week on some bits ‘n’ pieces.

First off, it is great to have my son home from sleepaway camp.  The first summer was a big success.  I could go on and on about his summer in detail, but that would be too boring.  Instead, I wanted to mention how much he learned.  What did he learn?  He learned some very important things that will help him be a huge success in life….NOT!  On the car ride home from the bus stop, he asked us if we knew the a, b, c, d, etc. curse words.  Uh- vey!  Can’t wait to hear what he learns next summer.

Second, I thought you should know that my family took a short summer vacation last week.  We went to Toronto and I gotta say, it was pretty awesome. The flight was short which was a big plus.  The weather was great.  There was so much to do.  Here is some of what we saw and did in the short time (I need a vacation from my vacation):  Blue Jays game, Niagara Falls, CN Tower, aquarium, zoo, winery, Toronto Island, swim, foot massages, eat, eat, eat and did I mention…eat.  Highly recommended.

Third, I wanted to let everyone know that my local JCC no longer needs any sewing machine donations.  Thanks to the generosity of the following people and companies, we have met and exceeded our quota.  Standing ovation.  Thanks so much to:

  • Mr. Philipp Ueltschi, the brand manager of sewing machines for Brewer.
  • Mrs. Diane K. Plunkett of Qbee Quilting Lodge in Jay, New York.
  • Mrs. Joanne Hubbard who is my friend from the fabric industry, an amazing quilter, my most loyal blog reader and commentator, a super knowledgeable quilter, a judge and just one of the most kind people I have ever met.  (Joanne, you are not allowed to comment on this blog!)
  • Mrs. Kathy Aust who is one of our amazing sales reps.  I was shocked by the kindness of Kathy’s gesture to buy 2 machines for the JCC.  Amazing!

God bless you all and thank you so much.  It’s great to know that kind people still exist in this crazy world and I didn’t even have to beg.

Finally, I wanted to elaborate on the machines that Joanne attained for the JCC because she truly went above and beyond.  She went to a local school that was selling all their old sewing machines and she bought them so they could be donated to my local JCC.  She was very clever and fixed up a couple machines and sold them off to pay for all the machines that she bought.  Very resourceful if you ask me. This boy from Long Island wouldn’t have thought of that one…that’s for sure.  The problem is that now she is stuck with some extra machines that she doesn’t need.

Joanne and I were discussing a plan of what to do with the extra machines.  She mentioned that some of them needed to be fixed up and I said I would pay for the fixes.  After they are fixed, we agreed that we would offer them (not sure how many are available yet) as a free giveaway to someone in need of a machine that lacks the resources to get one.  With that, keep your eye out for a future blog where I will ask you to give me some suggestions of people who deserve one of these machines and why they deserve it. And the winners will get machines.  How about them apples?  (Quote from Good Will Hunting.)

That’s all the bits ‘n’ pieces that I have for you this week.  Please people, make the best of what remains of summer.  Take the time to re-energize yourself for the rest of the year.

Scotty Bits ‘N’ Pieces

 

 

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Stop The Trash Talking

Growing up, I often heard this from my mom, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I too say this to my children because it is one of those sayings that is always spot on. You may be wondering where did this come from and why is this blog titled Stop The Trash Talking?

It recently came to my attention, from very reputable sources, that some people or a person in our industry is talking smack about the Jaftex companies and other fabric suppliers to try to make their own products and company look better.  Not only are they talking smack, but what they are saying isn’t even true.  In other words, they are lying.  To me this is such an underhanded and weak way to try to sell fabric.

When I sell fabric, I sell based on the positive attributes of the products that I offer for sale.  That makes sense, right?  A great design, a popular designer, excellent quality, beautiful projects and so on and so forth. Those are reason to buy a product.  I never put down my competition to try to make my product or me look better. To me, that is just immature and so unprofessional.

At the same time, I believe that the fabric buying audience is not stupid either.  They don’t need me to tell them that this technique of bad mouthing another company to try to benefit themselves doesn’t really work.  In fact, it probably backfires and it makes the speaker look bad and reflects poorly on his company. Moreover, the audience probably wonders about the positive attributes of the speaker’s products because they tend to leave that out by spending so much time bad mouthing others.

I know times are hard people, but let’s cut this nonsense and start calling out the culprits on the spot.  Next time you hear someone bad mouth another company to try to make their own company or products look good, you should call them out and say WTF (WHAT THE FABRIC?).  Not only that, but you should consider not doing business with people who are so unprofessional.  Just saying.

Have a great week.  My big guy gets home from camp tomorrow which unfortunately means that the summer is coming closer to the end.  WAH! Wish me luck.

No Smack Talking Scott

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Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: All The People I Meet

I hate when people cancel on me, so I rarely ever cancel on others unless I have a legit reason.  It’s just not my thing and drives me absolutely crazy. With that, I kept my promise to speak at the fabric retreat thrown by Scarlett Wells of the Fabric Cobbler in Forsyth, Illinois. Scarlett did give me the “out” when she heard my uncle passed away, but I didn’t want to let down all the attendees or my friend, Scarlett.

Once and awhile it’s nice to be the only guy in the room.

Above you can see the great picture that was taken with myself, Scarlett (red head to my left) and the rest of the Cobblerstock Crew of 2017.  The thing about the fabric business is that my customers and the ultimate consumers are spread out all over the country and world.  So it isn’t like when I was in finance and all the people that I worked with were a stone’s throw away.  That makes it really hard to build relationships as I am sure you can imagine.  That being said, when I attend events like this, I truly bond with all the people in attendance.  By the end, we are exchanging info, joking around and connecting with each other on social media and such.  When it is all said and done, I hope to have made a lasting impression on each and everyone of the attendees.

The people are shockingly listening to everything I am saying. It’s amazing what the offer of some free fabric can do to get peoples’ attention. Works every time! Too bad my kids are not that in to fabric.

This isn’t very different from when I attend quilt market.  Year after year, I meet people at the market where we work together and bond over our mutual interest of fabric.  Perhaps the customer and I have a meal together, run in to each other at a schoolhouse, say hello in passing, grab a drink together at the bar or see each other in the am at the gym. However, it is sad to say that this may be the only interaction that we have with each other during the entire year since most of the customers have their own sales rep for their territory.

The thing is that I wish I could be in touch with all the people that I meet in the fabric industry because they are all truly so nice to me….especially as compared to those Wall Street guys from my prior life. The kindness was clear from all the cards, emails, blog comments and social media comments from people expressing their condolences when my uncle died. Also, when I recently blogged asking people to help me to collect sewing machines for my local JCC. I was absolutely floored about how many people stepped up.  There were so many offers that I think we will have too many sewing machines and nowhere to store them. Go figure.  Thanks for your kindness.

The bottom line is that the fabric community is full of kind and special people.  I appreciate you all and hope you appreciate me a modicum of how much I appreciate all of you.  With that, I would like to challenge you and I would like you to challenge me to try to stay in touch more throughout the year instead of just at quilt market or at a speaking engagement.  An email, a call, a note, a social media interaction what have you.  I will take what I can get and I will appreciate it.  It’s so easy to communicate nowadays, so let’s make this happen because I am not going anywhere any time soon (I am turning 45 in December and my grandpa worked until his early 90’s.  Even if I work until 70, that is still another 25 years.  OMG!)  In other words, the sooner we start, the better.

Stay In Touch Scott

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