Monday, February 12, 2018

I'm a little heartbroken...

Have you seen this? Can you believe this? Found this here at the Craft Industry Alliance and I just cut and pasted it here for you to see.


Free Spirit Fabrics will be shut down by parent company Coats.

A letter sent to designers today Stephanie Leichtweis, who became president of North American Crafts at Coats in October, stated, “We have worked diligently for the past few years to make this a successful part of the Coats Craft business here in North America.  But I am sorry to say that, despite our best efforts, we have continued to struggle with an inherent weakness in the business model and have not been able to demonstrate a profit.”

The letter goes on to say, “We will not be producing new Westminster or FreeSpirit Fabrics from today onwards.”

Orders placed to date for delivery prior to May 31 will be fulfilled. It is unclear at this time what will happen to designers who are currently under contract with Free Spirit some of whom are among the biggest names in the quilting industry including Tula Pink, Kaffe Fasset, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, and Denyse Schmidt, among many others. It’s also unclear at this time what will happen to the company employees.

The full text of the letter is below. We will publish more information as it becomes available.

+++++

I wanted to make you aware that we are going to exit our Lifestyle Fabrics business.  This will take effect from Tuesday 1 May and includes our Westminster Fabrics/ Fibers, FreeSpirit brand and designers.
We have worked diligently for the past few years to make this a successful part of the Coats Craft business here in North America.  But I am sorry to say that, despite our best efforts, we have continued to struggle with an inherent weakness in the business model and have not been able to demonstrate a profit.

It also means we will be moving invoicing and customer service functions supporting the thread and yarn businesses from Greer, South Carolina to our Albany and Charlotte offices in North Carolina.  You will be provided with new contact details for this shortly and in the meantime your contact details for this will remain the same. 

We will continue to fulfil orders placed to date for delivery prior to Thursday 31 May and new orders for existing collections on a first come first service basis. We will not be producing new Westminster or FreeSpirit Fabrics from today onwards.

Coats is particularly proud of its long association supporting our customers and North America based crafters and alternative options have been considered extremely carefully.  We believe that through making these difficult decisions we will create an improved customer focused business for the future, from which you will benefit, and I hope you will continue to work with us. 

It is our intent to support you, our talented and dedicated artist, during this transition. 

Yours sincerely,
Stephanie Leichtweis
President, North American Crafts
Cc: Keith Howard

I'm shocked at this news, to say the least. This company has some of the very best designers (imho) in the business and they weren't able to make a profit. I know I had plenty of problems with them when I had my shop, but this is just really unbelievable.

I feel badly for the designers and anyone working there who was given no notice of this. This is life changing for people. I know it happens every day, but it just breaks my heart. The world is constantly changing and sometimes I just don't feel like going along for the ride. :(

Take care,







Started 2018 with UFO projects: 22
New YTD: 4
Gave away YTD:0
Trashed/dismantled YTD:
Sold unfinished UFOs YTD:0
Finished YTD: -3
So far 2018: 23

5 comments:

Sally said...

So sad! Hoping other companies will come to the designers' rescue.

CitricSugar said...

That is sad. I know it was tough for us to get our hands on some of those fabrics in Canada because our centres are typically smaller and the orders had to be for double bolts of every fabric. Since we already pay much more locally per yard, it was harder to guarantee the sale of a full double bolt and the brick and mortar stores were eating too much of the leftovers. They courted some beautiful designers but not everyone is comfortable using such bold prints and colours or capable of doing it effectively and a lot of these gorgeous fabrics just languished on the shelves. With the state of trade, too, and tariffs, customs charges, increased shipping costs, it hasn't been cost-effective for Canadians, Australians, UK to shop out of country either. While it's sad, the company simply didn't do enough to make sure it's fabrics were affordable and available to a large enough customer base. As much as it has had a renaissance, quilting is still very much a niche market.

But!!! I would say that hunting the bargain bins of out-of-the-way local shops and hitting the online stores before the rest disappears is an important and valid justification for upping the fabric budget temporarily....? Silver lining??

lalaluu said...

Yes, I had seen it. Two of the online fabric shops whose newsletters I subscribe to have sent it, because it possibly affects pre-orders. I passed the news onto my friend who works at a local quilt shop, just in case they weren't aware. It is a tough economy out there, but I would like to counter that as a consumer, the introduction of new fabric lines is much too often to keep up with. As much as I would like to buy a lot of the lines that come out, I cannot afford to, and even if I could, I don't have time to use it all anyway. This is just the industry resetting itself based on consumer demand. Sad for the designers, as it is in no way a reflection on their skills, but inevitably the market corrects itself.

Diane J. Evans said...

Oh my goodness -- and Jane Sassaman, too, I believe. She's in the middle of designing her next line for them -- she just posted pictures of her designs during the last few weeks. This is so very sad, I agree.

Jackie said...

I wonder what their "inherent weakness in their business model" was - you'd think since it was their business model, it could be fixed! I'm curious too as to what problems you had with them. Overall it's sad for everyone. :(