As one of South Jersey’s largest and longest operating family owned fabric stores (45 years and going strong), we receive calls from crafters, artisans, designers, sewing novices, and even expert seamstresses/tailors constantly. Some call inquiring about proper yardage for commercial projects, some call seeking advice regarding the characteristics and use of specific textiles, and still others call in a desperate attempt to secure hard to find and otherwise unavailable prints from the one source they know that has built its reputation on providing their customers with some of the industry’s most popular licensed prints and top quality decorative fabric at discounted prices over the years. J&O Fabric Store even has customers who have been with us from the start and can still remember when a yard of a novelty cotton cost as little as $1.50. Unfortunately, though our reputation as a reliable one stop source has remained, the days of pulling out a dollar or two for a yard of fabric are long gone. What’s even more challenging is that at the current rate the textile industry as a whole is going, what we pay for novelty prints one month, has the potential of increasing by the next without warning. Like unstable oil and gas prices we’ve been forced to endure, we are experiencing fluctuations at every turn when it come to cotton material as well, as a result, everyone from the manufacturers down to the individual consumer feels the sting of it.
Some say extensive damage to crops in China and Pakistan (worlds largest suppliers of cotton) from drought and rain is to blame. Some say the subsequent cost to manufacturer and import is to blame since the increase forces manufacturers and retailers to pass on their costs to consumers. And then there’s Wal-mart’s hand in it all. Yes, made-in-America-Wal-Mart. After playing their part in undercutting fabric costs of local fabric stores and small mom/pop businesses to the point of forcing them to hike their prices up in order to stay, or even worse, going out of businessis alltogether, is it any wonder why we all are left feeling the pinch of supply vs demand? Then Wal-Mart turns around and phases out their fabric department leaving many seamstresses and crafters left scrambling for textile goods wherever they could find them. If not for online shopping, crafters from Canada all the way down to the Carolina’s and stretching westward, would find it next to impossible to sustain their thriving hobbies and businesses against the cost of goods to produce. With no relief in sight, and the use of eco-friendly, Earth-sustaining, and re-purposed goods gaining popularity, I suspect we will see a greater resourcing of reusable fabrics, textiles, and notions from consumers in order to meet their own personal and client demands.
So what’s the real deal with the costs of textile goods? Do you think Wal-Mart’s to blame or the industry and economy overall?
We posed this question to our fans on Facebook a while back and this is what they had to say.
If you have a comment to add, feel free. We’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, we hope to keep serving you with the best selection of hard to find designer and top shelf fabrics at discount prices, one yard at a time.
” Yes, I am angry at Wal-Mart. One of the Super ones near me has a little tiny fabric section, I’m not sure they are restocking it though because it seems to be getting smaller. Our local quilt shop is over $9 per yard!! Some of the out of date stuff is 50% off though. I can barely afford to sew anymore. No one can afford a bag that’s like $100, so I charge $40 and walk away with like $10 profit for 4 hours of work. Sewing is really going to turn into a lost art not because no one can do it, but because no one can afford it.” - Andrea Harrison
“ Most consumers do not realize how much material goes into those hand made items. I have had to cut my prices drastically on so many things because I just needed to move them out of my inventory. It doesn’t help that people are also willing to buy junk because it is so much cheaper. Never mind the fact that most items made by hand will hold up for years, not months like the aforementioned junk.” -Nora Ockerlander Kelly
“A huge chunk of change goes to the pattern to start with. THEN, add material, zipper, thread, etc. If we have sewn long enough, we might have some of these things on hand, but still, the cost is way too much. On the other hand, I really enjoy doing custom work, but I still have to think about the cost.” -Anne Marie Olsen
” I’ve been wondering who made the decision at Wal-Mart to stop selling fabric. It was probably a man who didn’t realize the value of selling fabric. Everyone I talk to about this is very sad to see Wal-Mart stop selling fabric. I think they made a very bad decision for themselves and for their customers.” -Valerie Bragdon Crawford
” Our Wal-Mart got rid of fabric a year ago. The local shop, is lovely, but $10 a yard is highway robbery. Thank goodness for J&O!” -Maura Fitch McNulty