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Newsletter

March 14, 2020

Important Announcement (Continued-2)           

Dear Customer,

I want to give you another update as we are uncharacteristically behind in shipping orders. Normally, we ship your orders out very fast, usually within a few hours. Not this time. We are now about 10-12 days behind and are currently working on orders placed on the evening of March 2nd. That is incredible. Customers who know us, like you, know the reason, but there are also customers who are ordering for the first time and they are, understandably, not happy with this delayed response. A couple of times per day, I hear Kerry explain over the phone why we are so behind.
There are multiple reasons: the shop is very busy with walk-in customers. It's no longer as crazy as the first couple days of March, but it is still very, very busy. The second reason is that we received really an avalanche of orders, many more than normal. The third reason is that most orders are pretty big.... You are stocking up! And the fourth reason is perhaps my own mistake: Customers can order fat quarters on our website, something I know many really appreciate as this sets us apart from other online shops that have half yards minimums. But offering the possibility to order fat quarters during a sale like this, is really not such a smart move on my end as the large orders for fat quarters only really take a lot of time. In the shop we have a minimum of .5 yard cut, but online the fat quarters are part of the sale. We need to look the fabrics up, cut it into fat quarters and put the other fat quarter on its place as we otherwise can't find anything any longer. So, in case you are wondering why it is taking so long, I hope you yourself have been benefiting from all these fat quarters. I could change it, but by now the most intense days are behind us and we will catch up soon. We are working around the clock, are in 7 days per week and within the next 1-2 weeks, we will have caught up in its entirety.
 
Most customers are willing to wait, but I do want to offer the possibility to cancel your order in case it takes too long. Some people need it for classes and deadlines. I fully understand and I apologize for the disappointment. Be assured though that the team is working extremely hard!
 
A lot of fabric has been moved out, but we are still a very full store with a big selection. Heck, I still have to unpack some more bins from Austin! I am re-ordering whites and blacks in the most popular collections, like Hoffman 1895, Quilter's Linen, and Moda Bella Solids. Moda Grunge stays more or less complete as I don't believe my quilt shop can be without this staple basic. I have re-ordered all colors and we have a good stock. I will also get the Grunge extras wides back in. We are getting in, selling out and getting in again in wool mats, aurifil thread, magic clips, rulers... either early in the morning or late in the evening, we are constantly restocking.
 
So far the virus issues have passed the shop (haha, we are already bitten by the quilting bug!), but I will follow the advice from local governments regarding opening hours. If you are planning to come to the shop from a distance, check Facebook or contact us to make sure the shop is open during regular hours. These are such uncertain times and things change so quickly! In a way we will be affected by the virus: my (close-by living ) "medical" children have been requested to make extra hours (my son in law is in urgent care and my daughter in nephrology) and daycare for the baby is closed. All because of the virus. Who can take care of baby Nora? My husband and I are stepping in, probably on different days. That's exactly what we want to do.
 
A brand-new collection? Yes!! Horizon by Windham. It is a small collection of only 10 bolts, but it was one of my favorites at Fall Market. Great fabric for art quilters, with a strong stripe design in multiple colors. I liked it so much that even with a delivery date during the transition sale I wanted to have it. Lucky you!
 
I have been talking to several people about a possible new leadership for Webfabrics. It's interesting and it shows me exactly how much Webfabrics is my own creation. As is to be expected, not much news to mention yet. We will continue with the 25% off sale on everything. The website is much more up to date, but quantities are limited. First come, first serve!
In stead of me announcing a new weekly special, I want to thank you again for making this week so special! You are amazing and I am so fortunate this business has made it possible to get introduced to you. 
 
As always, it is fun to work with fabrics and 'fabric people'!  

Warm regards,
  
Carly

 

________

March 7, 2020

 

My dear, dear, fabric people. This was a most unforgettable week. At one point I will try to send some personal emails, but right now, there is no time for anything. We are working around the clock, helping customers and trying to make a dent in the pile of online orders. We are cutting non-stop, with no time for lunches. I have some nuts next to the register, just like at the Houston show. I would like to thank local guild members, Kate, Barbara and Mickey, who volunteered to become a cutter for the day. Such great help! As I write this newsletter, we are on the orders of Sunday morning and shipped already hundreds of packages. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can plan a lot, but not this response. Monday and Tuesday were unbelievable, with hardly enough room on the street to park and a line at the register all the way going to the back. All days. Most customers were saddened by the announcement, but I told them they could buy the shop and that I would be happy to help, on a part-time basis of course. Haha... now some more serious candidates are looking as well, but it is way too early to know. Webfabrics represents a huge commitment, both in energy and finances, so it may take a while. My children and mother, who didn't know anything either (only my husband and I knew) and who I informed in a separate e-mail right after our newsletter, were shocked but also very happy. They know what I am missing right now and they know that I will be more available in helping out with their growing families. Just like I had it at that time from my parents. 

 

So many remarks, so many sweet memories. There is still no time to write it all down, so I am grateful for all the written ones. But on Tuesday when Virginia voted, a customer said: "The voting line was shorter than the Webfabrics' line".... that is a good one, right? Every election, I will remember that remark.

Or how about: "yes I do want a Webfabrics bag, it is now a collectible...." If so, then I have the quilt that I made to create this collectible!

 

So what is the plan? I will continue to reduce my inventory and make it ready for a move or fresh paint. A new owner can buy all fabric directly from the fabric companies and will not be attached to my current collections. We sold out of essentials like batting, white fabric and basic colors threads, but I have already re-ordered everything and the shelves are full again with these necessities. That will stay the case, until a final decision can be made.

 

The bins from the Austin Quilt show are not even unpacked and I will order new inventory. Top collections like Moda Grunge are also coming in again, but we are not taking orders. That said, a lot of fabric is gone and the website is totally not up to date. It can't be as long as the shop is in transition. Online customers who have placed an order with the request to get contacted in case we don't have something, are being put aside as soon as we notice a shortage. There is very limited time to communicate. We can only fill what we have and that changes every minute with the long lines at the register. I apologize for that. I will try to update the website as much as I can, but I can only do this late at night.

 

Customers who did place an order with "send what you have" are being done in order. Hundreds of orders came in and with the shop being as busy as is, we make slow progress. Again, I apologize. We do the best we can, but 25% off great basics and quality fabrics .....at one point, things will slow down and then everyone will get an e-mail and we will send what we have. I greatly appreciate your patience!

 

I think I have to explain a little bit better what the plan is, as my remark on gift certificates created some confusion. I don't know how long the shop will stay open. I don't know if it will even close. As long as I am the shop owner, I will honor all gift certificates. We are not changing because of financial trouble, but we are changing because of my personal desire to work less. So, for example, if the shop is around in May with me as the owner, your gift certificates are good. I like to keep my commitments.

 

The problem arises if and when I am no longer the owner. A new owner will not honor them, because he/she/they need to know their liabilities as they buy the shop and I have no idea how many gift certificates are out there. Over the years, we have given out so many! So please, use them in time and I think the entire month of March will be good for sure.

In case the business sells, it is all up to the new owner. Webfabrics could move or stay. I'm sure a new owner would like to do some painting and redecoration etc, as that is only possible without all the fabrics.

In case the business doesn't sell, I will really change what Webfabrics is and make it much smaller. In both scenarios, I will stay active in the fabric world, go to Market, write newsletters, probably make some boxes...everything what I love to do, just with much less responsibilities.

I can stay in this building until the end of June. In my current planning, I can sell fabrics until the end of May and then have a few weeks to make the place really empty. Fixtures and tables can be sold and some will go to my home. Already some items have been sold. If the Corona virus allows it, I would like to be with my mother in Europe on my dad's birthday which is the end of June.

Weekly Special: In stead of me announcing a new weekly special, I want to thank you for making this week so special! You are amazing and I am so fortunate this business has made it possible to get introduced to you. I will keep you posted when there is more to share.. of course!   

As always, it is fun to work with fabrics and 'fabric people'!  

Carly

_______________

February 29, 2020

 

The journey of Webfabrics has been a totally unexpected and unprecedented adventure. What started with a few fabrics, initially purchased for my boxes, in the basement of my house, has grown into a very solid business. Webfabrics has become one of the larger quilt shops in the country, with a unique formula as it combines rather large brick and mortar sales, online sales and successful exhibitions at the largest quilt shows in the US. It is a not so typical concept, that I could never ever foresee in my wildest dreams. It has always fitted me and my interests and it grew and expanded.... As a business it has proven to be not only profitable, but most of all also so enriching to, I think, my team and myself. The relationships with our customers, the personal interactions, the growth we all experience at every level together, yes that includes you.
I know that many of you share the feeling that Webfabrics has created a lot of good and you have been so kind to express that to all of us almost every day. Thank you!
 
The birth of my first granddaughter, now 17 months ago started a period of reflection. The desire to have more free time, to have less business responsibility was even more confirmed with the birth of my second granddaughter who lives so close by. The needs of my family are changing, my husband is looking at retirement, my mother is aging....we want more time to enjoy all the good of life together: time to re-balance.
 
It was early 2019 that I started to think about a different scenario for my almost 18 years involvement with Webfabrics. That was a very tough thought process, because I love my business, it is still fun to work with fabrics and fabric people. I'm not burned out, in good health, have a wonderful team and for Webfabrics, 2019 was its best year ever. No reason to stop at all, actually I think the business could be expanded to a much bigger shop. Already Webfabrics has such a regional presence and it would be so much fun to expand.
Yet, the babies grow up so quickly, I don 't need to have a 24/7 responsibility to work with fabric and fabric people and there are many other ways I could be and will be involved in this industry at a less intense level. It is with mixed feelings, but overall, I sense an incredible blessing to consider a change under such wonderful circumstances. It is also quite fun to think what I can do with all that extra time. More babysitting, more family time, hiking on a Saturday with my husband, more quilting, more consulting, more tennis, more travel, more volunteering...the balance will be more, not less.
 
So, a few hours ago I informed my team with the decision that a change is upcoming. Webfabrics is for sale and I would be happy to do anything I can to create a smooth transition. There are many possibilities and the (old) lawyer in me likes a simple solution. The entire business could be sold or just part of it. It could stay in Northern Virginia, it could move elsewhere. There are so many options that I have decided to just watch what happens. I don't know of any successor (yet) and what he/she/they would like, for sure don't have one in my family.
I will reduce the inventory to make it ready for a possible move and if no person is interested, Webfabrics will go back to its source, which is my beautiful home studio in the basement of our house and I will make it much, much smaller. That would be fine too!
 
For now, the entire inventory of the shop is for sale with 25% discount (except boxes). Furniture can be discussed as well. As this has been planned for a long time now, no new fabrics will come in to announce in a newsletter, except two delayed collections. It is time to stock up on all those wonderful basics and blenders we have! Gift certificates can be used until the end of March. I don't know a date of shop closing, as I don't know what will happen. Maybe it will not close, maybe it stays, maybe it moves.....I will keep you posted! 

As always, it's fun to work with fabrics and "fabric" people!

 

Warm regards,  

 

Carly


email: carly@webfabrics.net