Q: Explain how you fit into the Hoffman family tree.
A: The Hoffman Family Tree. I get this question a lot. So Grandpa Rube started Hoffman Fabrics in 1924. He is my great grandfather. Grandpa Rube had two sons, Philip or “Flippy” and Walter. Walter is my grandfather. He and my grandma have four kids and the youngest is my mom, Robin. My mom and her brother, Tony are CFO and CEO. I have now entered the business as the fourth generation along with Tony’s son and my favorite cousin, Aaron. I am incredibly excited to be here and am so grateful for this opportunity to learn textiles from the best of the best.
Q: When was your first Quilt Market?
A: I first went to the International Quilt Market in Portland in 2014. I went with my mom and grandfather to casually walk the show and then travel through Oregon seeing family-friends. I think this was their secret plan to slowly introduce me to the home-sewing industry, and now that I look back on it, seeing the show in Portland helped prepare me for my first market as a member of the team. This year, 2015 in Houston was my first market working, and by working I mean everything from planning the booth displays five months ago to getting the sales reps coffee as they furiously wrote orders!
Q: Explain the amount of preparation for this 2015 Quilt market in Houston.
A: Preparation. Big word. There was lots of it. We brainstormed ways to associate emotion with the fabric lines that we were launching in Houston to create fun displays. We came up with ways to foster our relationship with the retail stores and packed gift boxes for them. We came up with fun and inspiring bundles and project kits to sell at sample spree. We spent hours in Home Depot buying the materials we needed to pull off the displays. We labeled water bottles so everyone at market could drink Hoffman H2O inspired by our H2O fabric line that was released. We packed crates and over-stuffed suitcases and we were on our way. I took on Quilt Market as my number one responsibility and I had some big goals to accomplish. I want the world to see Hoffman on a new level. The only way for this to happen is to prepare with big dreams and to keep preparing and progressing as each day passes.
Q: What were you most excited for?
A: I was most excited to see our customer’s faces when they received their appreciation kit this year. I took so much pride in packing the appreciation kits, and I wanted it to feel like Christmas morning every time I gave one out. Hoffman was sporting new booth signs this year, so we made a little beach arrow Hoffman sign that looked like ours for all of the stores to take home. This, along with other small goodies in the gift box, was our first step in strengthening our partnership with the stores, and I was so pleased to see the smiles on their faces. My dreams came true as I gave our appreciation kits at the completion of an order.
Q: What did you fear most?
A: What did I fear most? Hmm, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be taken seriously by our salesforce. I was aware that I was the new kid on the block, and the sales team would be meeting me in person for the first time. I wasn’t just at Quilt Market to learn or help out; I was at Quilt Market in a big way. I was there to build friendships with our salesreps so that they know I am on their side. I was there to make a splash with new and different ideas in booth design and aesthetic taste. I was there to sell the heck out of fabric at Sample Spree and allow for the School Houses to run smoothly. I was there to speak directly to the salesforce about the bright future of our family business and most importantly, I was there to be a Hoffman. Now, I look back and wonder why I was worried, but at the same time I am grateful for the acceptance our salesforce showed me.
Q: What were some of your favorite looks (besides Hoffman of course)?
A: Well yes, I will always believe that Hoffman has the best and most sophisticated look of all, but that would be biased. I saw an amazing quilt in Dear Stella’s booth, and that brand had some very cute lines of Fabric. I thought Art Gallery had an amazing presence with having the actual artist and designer of the fabric line sit and paint canvases that looked exactly like the prints. The one artist, Bari J, had an amazing look and talent about her, and it was like watching the fabric come to life as she painted. I enjoyed seeing the different looks of designers and the technical side of the industry with sewing machines and engineered technology to make quilting easier. Overall, I really enjoyed exploring the other parts of our industry.
Q: What would you say to those who didn’t attend this most recent Quilt Market?
A: To those of you who are storeowners that don’t attend Quilt Market: YOU ARE MISSING OUT. BIG TIME. It would be in your best interest to take the time to come to Market. Not only are there some amazing show specials on price and freight fees, but you also get to see all your reps in one fell swoop. You can’t ask for more, this ultimately saves you money and time in your store that you would need to allocate to a meeting with your rep. And let me tell you, there are some hefty deals to be had. Second, it’s unreal to feel the energy of our industry in one giant room. People are inspiring each other, booths are captivating and just gorgeous, and the talent that is expressed is jaw dropping. The schoolhouses and classes that you can take throughout market are avenues that will only help you grow your business, and the networking with other storeowners, brand partners and creators is really the icing on the cake. Think twice about joining us in Salt Lake City, Utah in May. It is 100% worth every penny and every minute. I look forward to meeting you, and if you have any questions email me at [email protected] !