Thursday, November 5, 2015

Post Quilt Market By Studioe Fabrics

This comes from the President of our sister company Studioe Fabrics. Scott Fortunoff wanted us to share his view about Quilt Market and he is looking for your input. The following post appeared on the Studioe Fabrics blog this week.

November 2nd, 2015

Before you delve in to this blog about the current problems of the Houston quilt market and market in general, I think it is important for you to take another look at a blog I wrote previously so you have a full understanding of the situation and where I am coming from.  Once again, this is not an attack on the people at Quilt's Inc., this is about how the Quilt Market needs to evolve based on reality and come up with solutions.  If the Quilt Market doesn't evolve on its own and embrace change, the people will speak and force an evolution.  
I would like to reiterate some of the key problems with this quilt market specifically and quilt market in general:  

  • The US quilt shop customer base for quilt market has dwindled dramatically over the last couple of years.
  • The expense to come to market is cost prohibitive and it keeps getting worse every year.
  • Some shop owners can't afford to be away from the office.
  • Shop owners would rather work with sales reps in their shops.
  • This year the international customers took a hit too due to the strength of the US dollar.
  • Of the 10 or so international distributors that I work with about 4 didn't come.  So that is 40% less business.  Ouch.
  • Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate at this market and that caused a lot of last minute cancellations too.
  • There was a ton of construction going on by the convention center and it definitely didn't help the situation whatsoever.  It was like starting over after becoming so comfortable with the floor plan and such.  You had to go to the third floor for lunch..talk about inconvenient especially when you just want to grab a quick bite and get back to the booth.  If by chance a customer stops by, you don't want to miss it.
  • Attendance had to be down.  I for one do not believe the stats that Quilt's Inc. publishes.  I sure hope they don't try to tell us there was a 20% increase in attendance this year.
  • Sample spree went strong for an hour and then completely went kaput.  I did however appreciate that sample spree was made earlier this year.  So thanks for that.
  • I am not against unions, but the costs inside of the convention center are getting out of control. It is robbery and it can't go on any longer if fabric suppliers are going to survive.
I am sure you get the idea, but now let me tell you some stories about the reality.  As a fabric company owner, I am friends with many other owners and key people at competing companies.  Word got around about my previous blog and my mission to bring the quilt market madness discussion to the forefront. Trust me, I am not alone.
In fact, I was still getting calls about this after market and I will soon be starting a petition or something like that very soon.  Something needs to be done and who better to spear head that than someone from the younger generation in this industry...the future and not the past.
The best suggestion that was tossed around that I heard was to have only one quilt market a year. Another decent suggestion was to combine with the CHA show as I have heard that they are having some of their own problems.  You have any ideas or suggestions as I would love to hear them?
Before I get in to the best part of the story, I wanted to note that we live in a great country where I can speak my mind.  Of course there may be repercussions, but I am willing to risk that.  Everyone keeps saying that the person that runs the quilt market (Karey) is going to put my booth near the bathroom so on and so forth.  To be honest, that works for me because the bathroom is usually very far away and I spend precious time going to and fro.  Not only that, but we really aren't seeing foot traffic...because there is none.  We are seeing the people that are making appointments with us.  So in other words, we are a destination and whether I am in the men's room or on the loading dock, people will come to see me.
Ok finally, here is the good stuff.  So Karey, the woman that runs Quilt's Inc., got a hold of my previous blog.  While she was meeting with an elite group of textile heavy hitters prior to market, she handed out copies of my blog.  Yup...my blog.  Finally some readers.  As the story goes, everyone reads the blog and this is what Karey says, "If he doesn't like it, tell him not to come."  No Joke!  I can't stop laughing. This was the message that was delivered to me from the person in charge.  I guess the quilt market monopoly has gotten to her head. The first thing that came to my mind was how short sighted she is.
The second thing I thought was what a great way to alienate your customer.  Hey Karey, how about coming over to my booth and talking to me?  How about seeing that my family of businesses has about 10-12 booths here and about 25 people in attendance?  How about I am the future of your quilt market? Talk about a truly disappointing reaction.  In any case, this is where we are now.  Stay tuned for the rest as I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg.
  

If you are interested in being a part of my "Let's Fix Quilt Market" crusade, please email me at scott@jaftex.com and I will be sure to add you to my list for when the day of reckoning is upon us.  

What do you think of this?  Please share your thoughts and ideas.

Scott M. Fortunoff


- HG

7 comments:

Bev said...

I am one of the shop owners who cannot afford to come to market. I've always wished that there was an online market where we could see everything that is available and place our orders. Those of us who can't make it are completely excluded and sometimes by the time the fabric company gets fabric listed on their website, it is gone! Thanks for a great blog post!

GranChris said...

I am sorry the response from the people in charge was so negative. I have never been to Market but I do see a change in the good old USA. You have a great product, we will buy it, use it, love it. Stick with your philosophy. The entitlement people out there will soon learn that this country doesn't have time or energy for there foolishness. Move forward.

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carol Steffensen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alicia Key said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.