The fabric yenta? Yenta is a Jewish/Yiddish word for a person who is a gossiper. Speaking of Jewish though, I would be remiss if I didn’t say my piece about how disgusting it is that there are cowards making robo-calls to JCCs (Jewish Community Centers) throughout the US. They are trying to instill fear upon these amazing establishments and all the people that enjoy them (both Jewish and non-Jewish) on a daily basis. Not only that, but loads of other Jewish organizations are being bombarded with antisemitic threats too. Without going in to too much more detail on my fabric blog, my parting words to these cowardly haters, and all haters for that matter is, shame on you and get a life you disrespectful freaking losers! Finally, in case you were wondering what you could do to support a JCC, please check out this link as it contains some good ideas.
Before going any further, I am going to take a quick little victory lap around my little office and pat myself on the back too. Ewww…that feels kind of nice. The victory lap is not for the victory, but more for predicting what I saw coming in the quilting industry. Anyway, it is not a victory because I am not happy to see this happen to our industry, nor am I am happy that this is happening to some of my friends. But, that all being said, I think this will be healthy for the industry. What’s going on in the industry Scott? For a while now, I have been predicting, on my blogs,
a contraction in our industry where the number of suppliers and resellers of fabric would be reduced. In other words, it’s like Darwin’s survival of the fittest.
So the fabric yenta is here to tell you what’s going on. The truth is that what I am going to tell you are facts so I don’t know if spreading facts is considered gossip or not, but that is what I am going to call it. Ok, ok…I know you can’t take the suspense. The contraction or shrinkage of our industry has begun. For starters, we not too long ago lost Hancock Fabrics to bankruptcy and there are now only about 3 real major big box chains selling fabric. Number two, Kona Bay just shut its doors after over 26 years in business. Number three, just last week Red Rooster shut its doors and the owners are just sticking with their P&B brand. Number four, I hear on a weekly basis that more and more quilt shops are closing their doors too. This is probably just the beginning.
There is more though. Big shots in our industry i.e. the heavy hitters who we all know so well are losing their jobs. There are many stories like this, but I am not going to name all the names. I will speculate that companies can’t continue to pay high earners what they are used to making because sales no longer justify it. It is as simple as that.
I am going to mention specifically what is going on at Fabric-Quilt, Inc. John & Sue, who I am sure you all know and thought owned Fabric-Quilt, Inc. (they didn’t) were let go, fired, quit, separated, retired or something like that. You can classify it how you want, but long story short is that they are no longer with Fabric-Quilt, Inc. I have to tell you that the timing of that separation was flat out bad in my humble opinion. This is not the time to let go the people that are considered to be the faces of the company and the backbone too. I guess we will have to wait and see how that decision pans out….my guess is not so well.
There is still more though. Rumors of companies not able to pay their bills and bouncing checks. Sales reps not getting paid on time or not getting paid at all. Suppliers cutting their work weeks down to 3 or 4 days. Companies are cutting travel and the expenses that go with it. And of course, people are going to be shrinking their quilt market footprint or they are not going to attend at all. As for smaller regional shows, those too are struggling. The list goes on and on and the carnage continues to grow. People, our industry is in a mini-crisis and the dominoes are starting to fall. Please be careful and try not to be part of the bloodshed. With that, I would say it is time to take a gut check and evaluate if your business can survive what is clearly before us…the contraction.
To wrap this up, I wanted to let you know that you can rest assured that Jaftex and all its companies (Studioe Fabrics, Henry Glass Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp., A.E. Nathan Co., Inc. & Fabric Editions) are in a strong financial position and you can certainly rely on us as a loyal supplier and friend for many more years to come. Finally, for our competitors that are struggling, you know that you can always come and talk to us about joining our organization as we would welcome the opportunity to add more strong brands to our arsenal as well as your experienced employees.
Until Next Week,
This is Scott Fortunoff the fabric yenta signing off.