Jaftex Corporation to buy FreeSpirit Fabrics

JaftexYou heard it here first folks, Jaftex Corporation has announced their intent to purchase the one and only FreeSpirit Fabrics.

Jaftex Corporation is a fourth-generation, family owned business based in New York City. Other names under the Jaftex umbrella include Henry Glass Fabrics, Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp., Fabric Editions, A.E. Nathan Co., Inc., and now, FreeSpirit Fabrics.

FreeSpirit Fabrics is known for their trend-setting artists including none other than Tula Pink and Anna Marie Horner, of whom you can catch at the International Quilt Market this spring in Portland, Oregon, along with the unveiling of the “new” Free Spirit. There Horner will also be hosting a schoolhouse on her new conservatory program.

Outside of Tula Pink and Horner, FreeSpirit is known for their unique collection including Kaffe Fassett Collective, The Original Morris & Co., Dena Designs, Snow Leopard Studios, Jennifer Paganelli, Heather Bailey and more. FreeSpirit was previously under the Coats family, which is known for providing services to the apparel, craft, and footwear industries.

FreeSpirit can be found in many fabric stores, and are known for providing quality fabrics that inspire young and old creatives alike. Jaftex Corporation intends on remaining true to the FreeSpirit brand and cause minimal disruption in the marketplace for what FreeSpirit customers have come to know and love.


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AQR Featured in Stitchcraft Marketing Podcast

Check out this podcast featuring editor of American Quilt Retailer Heidi Kaisand!

The podcast, by Stitchcraft Marketing, features how to keep up with the ever-changing retail world, tactics Kaisand uses to get customers in her studio, and why the telephone is still one of the best tools a business owner can utilize.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 7.47.41 PMThe interview was conducted by Stitchcraft Marketing CEO Leanne Pressly. After working for Interweave Press, Pressly decided to start her own website, The Wool Wide Web, in 2009. The website rebranded itself in 2013 and transformed into Stitchcraft Marketing.

Stitchcraft Marketing helps the creative business world with creating a digital presence, marketing, social media, graphics, patterns, and branding. Also on their website you can check out their blog and listen to the podcast Kaisand was featured on, Business of Craft.

Also on the podcast, Kaisand shares that thinking like a customer is the most important way to get customers. Kaisand created a retreat studio in her Hens and Chicks retail quilt shop to encourage creativity for her customers.

Kaisand also asks herself these questions; what am I selling? And who am I selling it to? Asking these questions helps Kaisand take the business out of the relationship and think on the customer’s level.

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And lastly, Kaisand talks about the importance of consistency in running a business.

So what are you waiting for! Check out the Business of Craft podcast today to hear all about American Quilt Retailer’s changes and more.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

The Retail Grind

Working retail is the source of dread for many.

And rightfully so, with sales like Black Friday that everyone and their mom takes advantage of, it’s easy to see why so many former-retail employees cringe at the thought.

We’ve all been there, rummaging through piles of picked-through jeans to find our size, just to discover that it’s been sold out for hours from the all-too-blunt employee. Nobody is happy they woke up so early to get to work or take advantage of a deal, but nobody needs the attitude either.

That’s why it’s so important to eliminate that aspect from your business. No matter what you do, make sure that entering your store becomes a source of joy for every shopper.

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Find ways to motivate your employees. Post encouraging notes around your shop; in the break room, in the bathroom, by the register.

Bring up the importance of being well mannered and thoughtful in every huddle you have with your team. The employees who make being cheerful with customers their priority will get it, and you’ll likely know who those employees are.

But the employees who sometimes let their guard down will need the reminder! Another plug never hurts.

And if you have an employee who still doesn’t “get it,” keep them off the floor. One of the most important things you can do is ensure that a negative experience with a customer is avoided at all costs.

Think about this the next time you have a negative retail experience; what went wrong? What could have made the situation better? As a manager what would you have done? Asking these questions can help you prepare for any scenario you may encounter in your store.

At the end of the day, remember that the customer is always right and if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. If you follow these two rules, you’re off to a great customer service start.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

New Education Director named for International Quilt Market

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 8.45.41 PM.pngYou heard it here first folks—Marcia Barker has been named the new Director of Education for the International Quilt Festival and Quilt Market.

Barker is replacing the late Judy Murrah and will be in charge of directing 150 faculty members and planning over 500 classes and lectures for both the Quilt Market and Quilt Festivals.

Barker’s main goal is to fulfill the big shoes left for her from Murrah, as well as listen to what the consumers want most.

Other team members include Education Manager Jill Benge and Education Assistant Barbara Cline.

In her personal life, Barker has been married to her husband Tom for over 40 years and together they have two children and two grandchildren. She also spends her time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as well as performing across the world with variety dance group Up with People.

On a professional level, Barker has worked with Quilts, Inc. since 2000, and has been a member of the Education show team (including Education show team leader).

Quilting and planning are not new to Barker as she has been coordinator of the Bernina Fashion Show and has been sewing since she was nine years old.

American Quilt Retailer has been a regular supporter of both the International Quilt Festival and the International Quilt Market; even having an education class at the last International Quilt Market called the “Schoolhouse Series.”

AQR is excited to work alongside Barker in her new role, and wish her the best luck!

Check out Quilts, Inc. for more industry news, classes, and events.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.