Last Tuesday, September 13, we published an article I wrote about changes to the Interweave Yarn Fest contract that shifted the financial risk and promotional burden from the show organizers to the teachers. Two days later I received a phone call from John Bolton, the newly appointed General Manager of Interweave, saying he learned of the problems with the contract from the article.
“I was disappointed and upset that we did that,” Bolton told me. “Going forward this won’t occur. I have great respect for the yarn community.”
Bolton is in the process of calling each Yarn Fest teacher, including those who turned down the opportunity to teach due to terms of the new contract, to personally apologize for the missteps and offer them a new contract with revised terms.
Although Bolton is new to the role of General Manager, he’s an Interweave veteran. Bolton co-founded Quilting Arts in 2000. When the company was acquired by Interweave in 2007 he went on to become Senior Vice President and Publisher of Interweave, remaining in that role when Interweave was bought by F+W in 2012. He left F+W in 2013 to pursue another media venture, but a month ago F+W’s new CEO, Tom Beusse, brought him back to “reinvigorate the Interweave brand and its reputation,” according to Bolton. He has been given complete control of the brand.
Today Bolton asked us to publish this public letter spelling out the Yarn Fest contract changes. He can be reached at John.Bolton @ fwcommunity.com.
“We apologize for the communication around Yarn Fest. We are listening. We have made several mistakes during this process and we want to do our best to make it right. Effective immediately, we are offering all instructors a $1,000 honorarium for travel, hotel and lodging. This honorarium should provide each instructor the funds to pay for their travel expenses for the days they’ll be teaching. In addition, we will be increasing the per student fee we pay each instructor. Lastly, we are removing some portions of the contract that are unnecessary and too restrictive to the instructor. The new contracts will be sent to the instructors by Wednesday September 21st, 2016. We hope this change in policy will properly indicate our respect and admiration for the instructors and the yarn community.”
“Last month, I returned to Interweave and F+W after over three years. I left the business based on some of the very concerns that have been voiced over the past few weeks. I was as distraught as anyone to see some of the decisions that were made. I came back to Interweave because I believe that we can reinvigorate the Interweave brand and business by being a partner within the communities we serve. I assure you that we will be transparent, and act with the long-term interest of the community. Give us a chance to surprise you with our integrity and commitment to all of you.”
F+W Media, LLC