amazon box filled with fabrics

In a letter to vendors today, Fabric.com announced that it will be shutting down. The company, which is owned by Amazon, said it alerted employees to news on Monday.

Fabric.com was originally the website of Phoenix Textile Group, a company founded in 1993 as a wholesale distributor of apparel fabrics. Phoenix Textiles launched the website in 1999 in order to experiment with selling yardage directly to consumers online. Amazon acquired Fabric.com in 2008 in an effort to expand its inventory of craft and hobby materials. Fabric.com was one of a suite of freestanding websites acquired by Amazon that also included Audible and Zappos.

“We have been selling to them since 1996,” said Andy Weinstock, President and CEO of Edley Fabrics. “We wish their employees continued success. It will be interesting to see if anyone or any company steps up to fill the void.” Weinstock surmised that the labor costs involved in cutting fabrics were too high for Amazon’s current business model.

For many fabric companies, Fabric.com was the industry’s largest buyer.

Over the last few years, though, difficulties had begun to surface. Weinstock said Fabric.com had been paying vendors late. Another fabric company executive we spoke with also said that Fabric.com’s payments to vendors had been slow over the last few years. About six months ago, Amazon reached out to Fabric.com vendors to say that all fabric would soon need to be sold directly on Amazon.com. Vendors were told to upload all of their products to Amazon in one, three, or five-yard increments, seemingly with no regard to the fact that fabric manufacturers sell wholesale by the roll or bolt, and not by the yard. “They expect us to cut and ship overnight for free,” this executive said. “They don’t understand fabric at all.” The longtime former employee we spoke with said that over the last few years, management repeatedly asked if selling pre-packed cuts would work. They said no.

“I think the exit of Fabric.com in this market will ultimately open up opportunities for more business for independent quilt shops, as well as an opportunity for new shops to open,” said Gina Pantastico, Co-founder and Director of Operations at Cloud9 Fabrics and Felicity Fabrics.

“This will be an adjustment for fabric manufacturers, but once we all get over our initial shock and surprise I think this could be a positive change for the fabric industry as a whole,” Pantastico said.

Fabric.com will close down on October 20. Employees have been offered a severance package or the opportunity to seek employment in another Amazon division. Fabric.com is headquartered in Kennesaw, Georgia.

This article was updated with the closure date of Fabric.com.

Abby Glassenberg

Abby Glassenberg


Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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