On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about building a fabric company with my guest, Arvin Pairavi.
Arvin is the President and Co-Owner of Shannon Fabrics, a family owned importer and distributor of plush fabrics. Arvin joined the company in 2000 to work with his father and has helped grow Shannon Fabrics from a small business to a team of more than 50 employees.
The Shannon Fabrics team at Spring 2017 Quilt Market.
In this interview we trace the Pairavi family’s history in the fabric business. Arvin’s grandfather and father had fabric stores in Iran before the family fled to the United States as refugees in the late 1980s. Once settled in Los Angeles, his father went into the fabric business again, opening a retail and wholesale fabric shop focusing on garment fabrics.
When the family hit hard times due to the stock market crash in late 1999, Arvin left his job in the electronics business to help his father. They began importing fabrics, expanding their wholesale business significantly. On a buying trip Arvin discovered a new, exceptionally soft polyester fabric that was different from anything currently on the market at that time. He placed a small order for what Shannon Fabrics called Cuddle fabric and was thrilled when this new substrate became an immediate success. Today, it’s one of Shannon’s premier products and is available in nearly 100 colors.
A few years later Shannon Fabrics entered the quilting industry, attending Quilt Market for the first time. Later, a licensing partnership with Robert Kaufman led to more popularity among local quilt shops.
We also touch on:
- Over saturation in the fabric market
- Whether Fabric.com should be considered a big box retailer
- The importance of setting a low minimum order threshold for new wholesalers
Arvin and Jenny Doan in Hamilton, Missouri.
And, of course, I ask Arvin to recommend great stuff he’s enjoying right now. Arvin recommends:
- anything and everything by Tony Robbins
- Persian cuisine
This episode is sponsored by Okan Arts. Okan Arts offers vintage Japanese fabrics for adventuresome sewists and quilters. The shop specializes in high-quality yukata cottons that are hand-dyed and traditionally used to make summer kimonos. The fabric patterns range from classic geometrics in indigo and white, to bold, lyrical motifs in vivid colors. Be sure to visit Okan Arts when you are in Seattle, or online at okanarts.com.
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