Every so often we post the blog extracts from Scott Fortunoff who many of you will know took over Freespirit fabrics earlier in the year .. the home of Philip Jacobs and the rest of the Kaffe Fassett Collective Clan.  Sometimes his wisdom really could resonate across the World and not just into his home country.  I feel the spirit focussed in his Blog today could be equally so across the UK too.   To maintain our vibrant crafting community we need to embrace all generations, and this starts with us as well as the Quilt Shops themselves.   We can drive change if we want it to happen.

It’s a vision of the website to offer video tutorials,  and I think the statistic quoted by Scott says it all.  People like Carol Munroe are already doing that with her BOM, and several of the Bloggerati Articles  are embracing the idea with great success.

Do we need a shake up here in the UK … this could be a lively debate I hope!

Tales Of A Fourth Generation Textile Executive: Shake It Up Baby!

July 16, 2018 (In Scott Fortunoff’s own words)

Last Friday, Laurie and I went to a party. As is the case with most Fridays, I don’t love to go out because I am beaten up from the past work week. I am more of a Friday night early dinner type of guy and a Saturday night party type of guy. I needed a cocktail desperately. As I stared into space, I started to focus on the bartender. She was very skilled and all the drinks looked amazingly delicious. I was especially mesmerized as she shook the drinks up and poured them into the glasses. Each looked better than the next and it was hard to select one.

And then it happened. The light bulb went off in my head. No, I didn’t figure out what I wanted to drink! It was the shaking. It got me thinking that our industry needs some shaking up. The world is changing at hyper speeds, but our industry is just slogging along. Yes, there has been innovation and progress no doubt, but not enough to get people super excited.

As I was thinking about the “shaking things up idea”, I thought back to this article in Forbes that I am sure some of you have seen. It was about Joann Fabrics’ and how they were stepping things up to attract millennials. The article ticked me off because with one quote, this woman totally dissed quilt shops as still being grandma’s quilt shop. Ugh, was that annoying! Then the article abruptly ended and I was thinking, “Well isn’t that some BS?” The perception is that shops are not changing with the times and not catering to the younger generations. Perception and reality aren’t always the same, but it was said and I know people will be pissed. We can easily write off this article as poorly written, very one sided or more focused on a large private company over local shops. We can also write it off as an ill-informed author, but the perception is still out there and it was right on the page in front of our faces. It was hard to ignore. GRANDMA’S QUILT SHOP!!!

Lately, as my social media presence has gradually been increasing, I have been hearing from people throughout the industry with all kinds of questions, comments, suggestions, concerns and otherwise. I like to hear what people have to say as long as they say it nicely and respectfully. Anyway, even when people complain, I try to flip the negativity around and turn it into constructive criticism in order for me to identify ways to be better or do better. Oftentimes, people make some great points that I may not have considered or just totally overlooked. I am not closed minded, nor do I think I am perfect or better than everyone else. However, I am trying to shake things up and do things differently to see what will happen. So far I have been pleasantly surprised with the results.

Today I want to encourage you to do things differently too. Change is good! I am speaking to quilt shop owners mainly, but everyone should mix it up once and awhile. Get out of the same ole and stop being a creature of habit. I know it isn’t easy, but no one ever said success was easy. The world is changing and we need to change with it. I am not saying that our industry is all of a sudden going to turn into something that it isn’t because we have limitations, but I do want to encourage outside the box thinking. Take your glasses off and try someone else’s on and you will see the world differently.

Don’t be afraid to try. If you don’t try, you won’t know. I am sure you are thinking, “What the heck does this kid know about my business?” And you are probably right, I don’t know much about your business, but I know it wouldn’t hurt to surprise people with some newness and fresh ideas. Wouldn’t you love to be the talk of the town?

As I have mentioned before, I went to a social media conference last year and I learned that 80% of what we consume on social media will be video. Interesting, right? Have you been on my executive facebook page lately? I am doing tons of videos and people are actually watching them…in some cases a lot of people. The point is that I got a suggestion and I went with it. And yes, it really is working or at least I think it is. So there you go, I just gave you an idea and there are tons more out there for you to discover and reap the benefits from. Take your phone and start creating videos and post them on your social media sites. It isn’t so hard. There are tons of online tutorials that you could learn from. The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

I know that is only one idea, but it is the idea that is going to get your new journey ignited. After you try the videos, figure out some other novel ideas on your own, with friends, with family, with co-workers, with other shop owners or even with customers. You got this! We need to give Forbes a kick in the you know what and show the world that this ain’t just grandma’s quilt shop, it is everyone’s quilt shop, young and old alike.