Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Share The Love Through Charity

“A man’s true wealth is the good he does in the world.”

I am a board member of my local JCC (SJCCC) which is one of the most impressive charitable organizations around town.  In short, the SJCCC is an extremely well run and well financed organization that offers so much to so many in all different states of need (the list is endless).  It is the JCC that all other JCC’s aspire to be and I am not just saying that because I am on the board (it’s only been a couple years)…this place is the real deal and has been for a very long time. With that, this week I want to discuss my planned visit and sponsorship of the Camp Kehilla carnival and see whether you can help me by donating a sewing machine to another great SJCCC cause.

Camp Kehilla is the SJCCC’s camp for kids with special needs….an amazing place to say the least.  This is the second year that I am sponsoring the carnival.  It is this coming Thursday and I am looking forward to watching all the kids in action, smiling, laughing and having a blast. There is no feeling more rewarding than when the kids come up to me to thank me for the great day they are having. Even if they didn’t thank me, I would feel great. Let’s just hope that the weather cooperates.

Speaking of cooperation, I need some help from all of my quilting peeps. I don’t know if you remember or not, but back in August of 2016, I blogged about the naming of the Andrea & Robert Fortunoff (my parents) Art For Community Program endowed to the SJCCC. Here’s the link to that blog if you want to refresh your memory and the aim of the organization is immediately below:

“Art for Community provides opportunities for children and families to participate in meaningful community service projects creating beautiful and functional items made from fabric to be donated to those in need.”

So here’s the deal.  After a recent brainstorming meeting, the team came up with two great ways to incorporate the fabric donated by the Jaftex Companies (A.E. Nathan Co., Inc., Henry Glass Fabrics, Studioe Fabrics & The Blank Quilting Corp.) in to giving back. The thing is that we are missing one very critical ingredient: sewing machines. That is why I am here today to ask you if you could find it in your heart to donate a gently used (or brand new), portable and fully functioning sewing machine for two upcoming drives and future drives.

The first drive is to make as many pillow cases as possible for a program called Ryan’s Case For Smiles.  This program distributes pillow cases to kids in hospitals in order to help them relieve some of the stress that comes with the traumatic and frightening experience of being in a hospital and all that goes with it.

The second drive is to make place mats for the first ever SJCCC Thanksgiving Community Luncheon for people that are socially isolated. Not only will the attendees get a great meal and not feel socially isolated for the day, but they will also get to take home what I am sure will be a beautiful place mat made with a sewing machine from YOU!

With all that, if you could find it in your heart to donate a sewing machine, please email me at scott@jaftex.com and we can work out the details.  I will even pay for the shipping.  If you help me, I will be forever indebted to you.  You will also become a VIP in my book and I am sure the book of so many others.

XXOO
Sewing Machine Scott

 

The Blank Blog Bonanza (BBB): Monthly Specials for July, August & September 2017

Dear Valued Customer,

NEW RULE:  BBBS ARE ONLY FOR CUSTOMERS IN GOOD CREDIT STANDING OR CUSTOMERS THAT GIVE US PERMISSION TO CHARGE THEIR CREDIT CARDS WITHOUT HAVING TO CALL THEM.

Below are the details for the newest BBBs.  These BBBs apply to orders that are taken in July, August & September 2017 only, but the orders DO NOT necessarily have to ship in those months unless indicated.  Please note that all prior BBBs are now done and these are the only ones that are in effect.  Please note that customers can only take advantage of one BBB at a time i.e. no mixing and matching. Here goes:

#1. PRECUT SPECIALS:  Sorry, but we have no precut specials at this time as we only have precuts for American Honor (fat quarters), Natural Treasures 2 (fat quarters) & Sumatra 2 (strips and fat quarters).

#2.  44″ Quilting Cottons:  Pay close attention because these are good!

  • AT ONCE ORDER FREE SHIPPING:  Buy 8 bolts or more for an at once delivery and get free shipping.  This does not include Sumatra 2 Batiks.
  • SUMATRA 2 BATIK SPECIAL:  Buy any 10 bolts of Sumatra 2 batiks and save $1.25/yard (one dollar and twenty five cents).  Buy 20 or more bolts and get a free order of Sumatra 2 strips also. Buy 35 bolts or more and get Sumatra 2 fat quarters also.  Buy 50 or more bolts and you get free freight too.
  • PEARLESCENT SPECIAL:  Buy 8 bolts on any of these lines and get the 9th bolt for free (must be a 44″ sku unless customer buys 8 bolts of the Pearl Grid 108″).  Crystalline, Pearl Dot, Pearl Grid & Pearl Grid 108″.
  • ECLIPSE SOLIDS:  Buy 4 or more bolts of any of the Eclipse Solids for one shipment and save $.25/yard (twenty five cents).  The order still must meet the regular 5 bolt minimum.
  • STOF MELANGE BASIC:  Buy 8 bolts or more of any of the Stof Melange Basics and save $.25/yard (twenty five).  These must ship before February 2018.  If you buy all 81 of the Stof Melange Basics over 2 shipments or less starting in October and shipping every month or every other month, you save $.65/yard (sixty five).  YES 65 CENTS!  If you take all 81 colors for one shipment in December, you will get free freight also.  Give it a try!
  • STOF AVALANA JERSEY FABRIC: Buy 6 or more bolts of the gorgeous Avalana Jersey Fabric and save $.50/yard (fifty cents).

#3.  108″ FABRICS: Save $.50/yard (fifty) for the at once purchase of 6-11 bolts of 108″ fabrics.   Save $.75/yard (seventy-five) for the at once purchase of 12-19 bolts.  Save $1.00 (a dollar) for the at once purchase of 20 or more bolts of 108″.

We hope that you continue to take advantage of these BBBS.

Contact your Blank Quilting Corp. sales rep to place an order or contact customer service at 800-294-9495 x 245 (Renee).

To Monthly Specials!

Your Blank Quilting Corp. Sales Team

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Camp Update & Mergers & Acquisitions Discussed

So, my son finally left for camp with a huge smile on his face despite all the tears emanating from the rest of us.  He was so brave!  And notice how I use the word finally.  It was time for him to go.  He went.  The rest is history and now I feel a lot lighter with this weight off me.  Now, let’s pray together for 46 1/2 more days of smooth sailing.  Next subject!

Over the 87 years of being in business, Jaftex has had nearly 20 companies under its umbrella and almost all of the companies were purchased from someone else. I wanted to discuss the manner in which most of these companies were acquired because I thought it would be interesting for you to learn.  But also, I think we are on the precipice of a lot of M&A activity about to occur in our industry.  Yes, this is me predicting the future without any inside scoop.  The reason being is that companies can gain more efficiencies by purchasing others. Basically, the total sales volume can increase and the overhead (expenses) on the combined company can decrease due to redundancies and other cost cutting measures.   For example, you don’t need 2 book keepers, secretaries, offices, warehouses, etc.  There is also purchasing power when you buy more stuff, so that too can result in lower costs and higher profits.

Many of the companies that we purchased had been struggling before we purchased them. In most cases, the owners were very relieved to have the life line.  Typically, the purchases were inventory based. Essentially, we and the seller evaluated the inventory and valued it based on the original costs and age of the fabric. This is a simplistic description as other factors did play in to it, but I don’t want to bore you with the minutiae.  We then buy the fabric.  In addition, we take on all the essential employees that we need to maintain the continuity of the business.  We also take on a portion (or all) of the obligations that exist including the sales.  So maybe we take on paying the insurance for the employees, but not the rent for the office since we don’t need the space anymore.  We like to think that we can be value-added to the company and turn it around by implementing methods and processes that have worked for us so well over the years.   It usually takes a year or so for us to get the company running on all cylinders.   We have been fortunate to mostly have asset purchase deals, but not all deals are the same.

Not all companies are purchased while they are in trouble.  Some are purchased at a time when the company is doing great and we wouldn’t be afraid to pay up for the right company if the opportunity arose.  In this case, the owner may want to sell out because he or she wants to retire, go in to another business, try to get out of the business at the top and/or maximize profits and the list goes on.  In this scenario, a simple inventory purchase won’t work.  This person is thinking, show me the money!  The owner will want money for his or her good will, the brand name, future booked sales, websites and so many other things that took him or her time to build and perfect.   The buyer may want a multiple of earnings.  For example if the company earned $1 million last year, they may want to be bought for $5 million plus the cost of the inventory.  That would be 5 times earnings and the buyer would be paying up.

The thing is, what multiple would you use to evaluate a textile company?   It isn’t a biotech company or tech company where the multiples could be 15% or even higher based on the huge growth potential.  Dream on if you think you are getting 15% or even 5% in the textile industry.  For this industry, I would say low single digits would be more reasonable.

It’s not like it isn’t easy to go out and start up your own fabric company. There are so few barriers to entry.  Case in point, Sue & John Linam, formerly of Fabric-Quilt, are now starting a brand new fabric business.  So why would someone pay a double-digit multiple?  If you are thinking about selling and are fantasizing about double-digit multiples, I would start thinking again and fast because it isn’t going to happen.  Once you start merger and acquisition discussions, you will learn very fast what someone is willing to pay and I would guess that the number is under 5%.

Hopefully one of these days I will have a new deal to report to you about. In the meantime, let’s see if my prediction about M&A comes to fruition.

Happy Summer Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Family First, Then Fabric

Happy Monday and happy belated Father’s day to all the fathers out there! I hope everyone has recovered from what should have been an amazing day with family and friends celebrating Father’s Day.  I had a lovely day with my family and some delicious Italian food too.  It was Father’s day and I am a father so why not stuff my face with pasta, pizza and so….so much more?  My belly isn’t so happy today.

Even though Father’s day was a special day for me as a father, I have other much more important things on my mind.  For one, I am so sad that my only uncle has to battle brain cancer.  On the other hand, I was so happy that he and my aunt made the trek out to my house to spend Father’s day with the family.  It truly made it one of the most special Father’s Days and I am sure it was special for him too.  The memories will certainly last forever for everyone.

The other thing that is on my mind and eating me up inside is that my oldest son (8 years old) is going to sleep away camp for the first time. Yes, sleep away camp for 49 long days.  Time is flying too fast.  I could literally remember changing his diapers.  Next it will be college.  In any case, emotions have been high in my house of late with my wife, other son and I all struggling to wrap our brains around the void that will exist in our house this summer.  Needless to say, despite being in a little bit of denial, I am an emotional wreck.  Pass the tissues please!

Thanks for listening.  Too hard this week to write a blog about anything else.  Until next week.

Sad Scott

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: The Proverbial Race To The Bottom

One thing that was very clear at market and something that I have been talking about a lot lately is that competition is fiercer than ever. Everyone, including me, is fighting for customer dollars in order to be one of the survivors. This is our livelihood and why wouldn’t we fight the fight to be king of the mountain or at least be on the mountain and not in the swamp below. With that, I have come to recognize that we are in a race to the bottom that is not healthy for our industry or any industry for that matter. Do you know what I mean by the race to the bottom?

As the overhead of the business equation goes up because that is what it probably does every year (higher rent, higher wages, inflation, insurance and the list goes on), the profit margin side of the equation goes down due to decisions being made to compete.

For example, a simple race to the bottom is that the yardage on a bolt in lots of cases is getting smaller or requests are being made for them to be smaller.  The majority of fabric re-sellers want smaller bolts so they can turn the fabric faster, make smaller investments, take less risk, have more variety and so on. Some vendors are doing this and competing in the race to the bottom.  Others are holding strong whereby they will only go as low as a 10 or 12 yard bolt.

All things being equal, the shorter bolts wouldn’t be the end of the world, but for these facts.  Shorter bolts mean less efficient cutting due to the constant changing of the board for the next piece, it means more boards, it means fewer bolts fit in a box due to the fact that more boards take more space and it takes up more real estate on warehouse shelves.   Guess what this all means folks?  Yes, there are increased costs associated with the shorter bolts.  So now, not only are you selling fewer yards, but the costs to make that smaller bolt are increased too.  So this is at a minimum a double whammy if not triple or quadruple whammy.  Lower margin-ville here we come.  Oh, stop the sarcasm Scott!  You are winning the race to the bottom.  I said stop the sarcasm Scott!  Not a race I want to be winning nor should you want it either.  Please resist because once you do this, there is no going back to how it used to be.

Another example is how buyers are always pushing for lower pricing. Of course, it is their job to get the best prices possible, so why not try? Anyway, I inevitably hear the buyer say that other vendors are lower priced than I am.  Obviously, that is sucky and no one ever wants to hear that.  The thing is that I never know if they are telling the truth or just pushing my buttons.  But they are saying it and getting in my head, so I have to deal with it anyway, otherwise someone else is going to keep eating my lunch so to speak. Assuming they are telling the truth and being that I have a pretty good handle on my fabric costs, I know where I need to draw the line.  At some point it just doesn’t work for me and my business.  I sell fabric to make a profit, not a loss.  Why would someone do that?   Because they want to be the winner of the race to the bottom.  I know, I am sorry, I have to tone down the sarcasm and be happy boring Scott.  I am smiling though.  I digress.

I am sure that you can come up with many more examples of the race to the bottom unfortunately.  But, in short, the winners of the race to the bottom will probably go out of business sometime soon because they are selling too cheaply and that is no way to be successful.  Be careful folks. Use discipline and make sure you know what margins you need to make to add to your bottom line and not detract.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

704 words (gotta get that down)

 

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: What Is The Future Of Our Fabric Industry?

Two weeks ago, I talked about the knowledge I gained at quilt market and this week I wanted to continue discussing the buzz at the show. I am still angry that I can’t write angry blogs.  Am I allowed to still be angry about not being able to write angry blogs?  This is harder than I thought.

Ok, let me get happy boring Scott back.  One second, here he comes.  So back to quilt market.  I am amazed about how fast the world is changing. It is just astonishing and a little scary to be honest.  Well, a lot scary.  So many conversations at market were about what would bring future success when it comes to the fabric business.  Was it digital printing? Technology? Online sales?  Direct to consumer?  Stay the course?  Too bad that no one has a clue at this point, but it looks like the Amazon effect is kicking in allover the place and freaking everyone out.  Will the world ever be the same again?  Not a chance!  Sounds like a good time to retire if you ask me, but unfortunately I am a little young for that.

If I could only see where our business would be in 5 or 10 years, it would be so helpful. LOL.  Will we be in business still?  I must say that the odds are in our favor that Jaftex will be in business since we reached the 4th generation for which the odds of that are less than 1% and that’s a fact.  In any case, I sure hope so, unless we sell out for 100 billion dollars or something close to that.  You are supposed to laugh for, with or at happy boring Scott.  Will we have more companies under the Jaftex umbrella? Will we make it to the 5th generation?  Will the kids (5th Generation) want to work in fabric when it’s not sexy like working at a start up?

What’s the future of the industry?  I wish I knew.  I typically like to make suggestions on my blogs and I am almost always right…oh relax, I am kidding.  Don’t forget that this is happy Scott and all is good in the hood, all the time and everywhere….so get used to it.  I just don’t think I can make that prediction yet.  I need more time.  The future is still unclear, but as soon as it becomes clearer to me, I will be sure to let you know.  If you know or think you know, please share.  It will be insightful to hear where you think this industry will be….I was going to say in 5 or 10 years, but I think I need to be more concerned with the next 5-10 hours.

Have a great week folks!

 

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Something To Think About & Act Upon This Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend at the quilt market, I had a lunch date with a customer. Immediately after, I met up with my brother Greg who was eating at a pizza restaurant called Pi, but it was spelled with the math pi sign. You know that thing that means 3.14159…..

I sat with him while he chowed down on this funky looking pizza with so many odd things on it and so much cheese that my heart was hurting to watch him eat.  It looked something like this, but so much worse.

The pizza place was pretty full.  I did notice that one particular gentlemen was in army fatigues eating with his wife and two kids.  When I noticed them, the random act of kindness Scott was thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice to buy that guy and his family lunch?”  Some time passed, I ran to the restroom, my brother finished and I never did buy them lunch.  Scott Fail! I need to do better.

As we left, Greg went over to the soldier’s table and said to the gentlemen, “Thanks for your service.”  I thought to myself, that was a nice gesture. Dang it, I should have bought them lunch.

Then we headed back to the convention center chatting about business when Greg just blew my mind.  He told me that he paid for the family’s lunch.  WOW!  Not only that, but he didn’t tell the family or anything.  It was a complete and total surprise. A total random act of kindness.  It was an absolutely selfless act.  I imagine that Greg felt really good about what he did.  I was super proud of him, but truly amazed that we had the same idea in our heads.  The one difference was that he acted and I didn’t.  Silly me.

The point here being, as we approach Memorial Day weekend, think about how a small gesture on your behalf will go a long way to show appreciation to those that protect and serve our amazing country.  As my readers know, I am totally a fan of random acts of kindness.  So if it isn’t a soldier, it never hurts to surprise someone who looks like they could use a little help or cheering up.  That’s something for you to think about this Memorial Day weekend.  No one even needs to know about the good deed except you and the recipient.  That is when it feels the best.  With that, be safe and enjoy the long weekend.  Next week I will continue to discuss quilt market.

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: So Much To Learn At Quilt Market

Each quilt market is a life experience in and of itself.  I always learn so much about this industry, business, life, people, social media, the world, selling, buying and the list goes on.

Here are some things I learned while speaking with customers, co-workers, competitors and sages of the industry…..you know, those guys that have been in the fabric business for a lifetime and are a wealth of knowledge.  Kind of like my dad who has worked for over 50 years in fabrics, or like so many others that I spent time with at market chatting about all the changes taking place, the challenges and how fast everything is happening.   It is remarkable how fast things are moving.

On the blogging front I received so much constructive and valuable feedback. For example, I was challenged to make up my mind about who my blog audience really is.  Is it consumers or shop owners?  Hmmm, that was an excellent question.  Well, I didn’t consider my audience as much as I considered my blog brand name:  Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive (TOAFGTE). That is my mantra and I am sticking to it.  Am I being selfish?   It’s always about you Scott.  You sound like my wife.

Anyhow, these are my stories, 50 or so a year, take them or leave them. Read them or don’t read them.  I will just continue to kick that can down the road for now.  Selfish again? I just can’t please everyone. I do acknowledge the suggestion and appreciate the constructive criticism, but I am sticking with my guiding (TOAFGTE) force.

Another suggestion I heard was that I should avoid the grinchy and negative blogs.  I can live with that suggestion because no one cares to hear about my problems, but maybe on the other hand they do.  Usually my most grinchy blogs stimulate the most comments and discussions. That being said, the lawyer in me wants to retort that I am just not happy with everything all the time and I like to tell it how it is without sugar coating. Unfortunately, life is not always filled with rainbows and ice cream, although that would be fantastic.  If you want happy boring Scott, I guess I will have to give in to that one the best I can.  I am going to need to order more happy pills.  I freaking hate happy boring Scott and I am not sure that you will like him either.  Anyway…I guess we will have to wait it and out see.

Another suggestion was to write shorter blogs and newsletters.  (I write those too for SE & BQC in case you were wondering).  You want shorter? You got it.

TO BE CONTINUED……….

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: So Much To Learn At Quilt Market

Each quilt market is a life experience in and of itself.  I always learn so much about this industry, business, life, people, social media, the world, selling, buying and the list goes on.

Here are some things I learned while speaking with customers, co-workers, competitors and sages of the industry…..you know, those guys that have been in the fabric business for a lifetime and are a wealth of knowledge.  Kind of like my dad who has worked for over 50 years in fabrics, or like so many others that I spent time with at market chatting about all the changes taking place, the challenges and how fast everything is happening.   It is remarkable how fast things are moving.

On the blogging front I received so much constructive and valuable feedback. For example, I was challenged to make up my mind about who my blog audience really is.  Is it consumers or shop owners?  Hmmm, that was an excellent question.  Well, I didn’t consider my audience as much as I considered my blog brand name:  Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive (TOAFGTE). That is my mantra and I am sticking to it.  Am I being selfish?   It’s always about you Scott.  You sound like my wife.

Anyhow, these are my stories, 50 or so a year, take them or leave them. Read them or don’t read them.  I will just continue to kick that can down the road for now.  Selfish again? I just can’t please everyone. I do acknowledge the suggestion and appreciate the constructive criticism, but I am sticking with my guiding (TOAFGTE) force.

Another suggestion I heard was that I should avoid the grinchy and negative blogs.  I can live with that suggestion because no one cares to hear about my problems, but maybe on the other hand they do.  Usually my most grinchy blogs stimulate the most comments and discussions. That being said, the lawyer in me wants to retort that I am just not happy with everything all the time and I like to tell it how it is without sugar coating. Unfortunately, life is not always filled with rainbows and ice cream, although that would be fantastic.  If you want happy boring Scott, I guess I will have to give in to that one the best I can.  I am going to need to order more happy pills.  I freaking hate happy boring Scott and I am not sure that you will like him either.  Anyway…I guess we will have to wait it and out see.

Another suggestion was to write shorter blogs and newsletters.  (I write those too for SE & BQC in case you were wondering).  You want shorter? You got it.

TO BE CONTINUED……….

The Blank Blog Bonanza (BBB): Monthly Specials For May & June 2017

Dear Valued Customer,

Below are the details for the newest BBBs.  These BBBs apply to orders that are taken in May & June of 2017 only, but the orders DO NOT have to ship in May or June (they can ship anytime, except where specifically indicated below). Please note that all prior BBBs are now done and these are the only ones that are in effect. Here goes:

#1.  PRECUT SPECIAL:  Buy one set of precuts and get the second set of the same precut from the same line for free.  Please refer to your sales rep’s pricelist to see what is available for this special as some precuts are now sold out and discontinued.  This special does not apply to American Honor or Natural Treasures fat quarters.

#2.   44″ QUILTING COTTONS:  These are really good folks, so please pay close attention!

  • DECEMBER DELIVERY FULL COLLECTION SPECIAL:  Buy any full 12 yard May release collection for a December ONLY delivery and pay just $.10/yard (ten cents) for shipping.  Buy any full 15 yard May release collection for a December ONLY delivery and you will get free freight.
  • SUMATRA BATIK SPECIAL:  Buy any 8 bolts of Sumatra batiks and get a free order of Sumatra strips (4 pieces per order).  If you buy 16 bolts, you get 2 free orders of strips and so on.
  • BASIC LINE SPECIAL:  Buy 8 or more bolts of any of these basics for one shipment and save $.25/yard (twenty five cents).  You can mix and match for this special:  Crystalline, Fusion Illusion,  Honeystone Hill, Intermix, Pearl Dot, Pearl GridPrimitive Basics (On top of the already discounted sale price.  Colors are limited), Splash or Starlet.
  • ECLIPSE SOLID SPECIAL:  Buy 4 or more bolts of any of the Eclipse solids for one shipment and save $.25/yard (twenty five cents).  The order still must meet the regular 5 bolt minimum.
  • STOF MELANGE BASIC SPECIAL:  Buy 8 bolts or more of any of the Stof Melange Basics and save $.25/yard (twenty five cents).  These must ship anywhere from September 2017-November of 2017.  If you buy all 81 of the Stof Melange Basics over 3 shipments or less starting in September and shipping every month OR every other month, you save $.65/yard (sixty five cents).  YES 65 CENTS!  If you take all 81 for one shipment from September 2017 to November 2017, we will also only charge you $.10/yard (ten cents) for freight. If you ship all 81 colors in December, the order will ship freight free.  GO FOR IT!

#3.  108″ FABRICS:  Buy 8 bolts, mix and match, of 108″ fabric and get the 9th one for free. This applies to all 108″ lines EXCEPT Hopscotch 108″, Pearl Grid 108″ and Plush 2 ply flannel 108″. However, if you buy 8 bolts, mix and match, of Hopscotch 108″, Pearl Grid 108″ or Plush 2 ply flannel 108″, you can get the 9th bolt free.

We hope that you continue to take advantage of the BBBs.

Contact your Blank sales rep to place an order or contact customer service at 800-294-9495 x245 (Renee)
To Monthly Specials!
Your Blank Quilting Sales Team