On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about running a wholesale distribution company with my guests Stan and Brittany Gray.
Stan Gray is the owner of E.E. Schenck Company, which is a distributor, converter and wholesaler of all types of fabrics and sewing notions servicing customers throughout the world. After 51 years with the company, he is still involved in the day-to-day operations and enjoys his interaction with customers, employees and vendors.
Brittany is the General Manager of EE Schenck Company, and Stan’s daughter. After starting her career in the fashion industry in New York City, she moved back to her hometown of Portland, Oregon in 2014 to work for her family’s business.
We begin the conversation with Brittany giving us an overview of the scope of E.E. Schenck’s current business. Located in Portland, Oregon, Schenck serves US and international customers and distributes over 50,000 products all of which focus on textiles and notions. The company was founded in 1921.
A row of precuts at the E.E. Schenck warehouse.
Bolts of fabric at the E.E. Schenck warehouse in Portland, OR.
Stan began working at E.E. Schenck in 1968 doing odd jobs like packing and delivery when he was still in college. When the owner fell ill several years later he became general manager, and a few years after that Stan bought the company. A math major, he had no intention of running a textile business, has successfully guided Schenck over the course of his career, growing it from 10 to 100 employees and building it into a $30+ million company.
Rows of thread at E.E. Schenck.
Fabrics at the warehouse.
We discuss how the textile industry has shifted over the last several decades and where it might be headed. Will quilting continue to hold a powerful position in the market? E.E. Schenk has Maywood Studios, its own premium quilting fabric brand. We talk about whether there’s too much fabric on the market right now and what that might mean for manufacturers in the coming years.
Stan and Brittany Gray celebrating Stan’s 50th year at the company.
We also talk about:
- digital fabric printing
- Quilt Market
- the trade tariffs
- how brick-and-mortar quilt shops are doing
- Trends, the trade show the E.E. Schenck hosts
And of course, I ask Stan and Brittany to recommend great stuff they’re enjoying right now. Stan recommends:
- cork fabric by Elite
- good wine
- the Rich Roll podcast
Today’s episode is sponsored by June Tailor, Inc., a USA manufacturer of quilting and sewing tools. Our unique and innovative tools help you complete your quilting or sewing project with professionally finished results. Win one of 10 kits containing a Shape Cut Ruler and a set of 6 “Quilt As You Go” placemats. Simply post your favorite quilt project to Instagram and include the following: #myfavoriteproject #junetailor @junetailorinc @abbyglassenberg Check out all of June Tailor’s products at JuneTailor.com. Giveaway ends the 12th.
You can listen to this episode by clicking on the green arrow below, or subscribe to the Craft Industry Alliance podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher so you never miss an episode. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it! Thank you so much.