This is a follow-on from a thread posted by another reader.
Cranston Print Works (VIP & Quilting Treasures brands) will no longer be selling through distributors after August.
I've spoken to their customer service department to find out exactly how this will work, so that I can share the information with anyone who would like to know.
They will sell direct to business customers, through their sales reps (or over the phone), but you have to buy a minimum of five bolts and you have to have a tax id (to prove you're a business or organization).
Quilt shop owners (such as myself) probably already know this... it's the crafters that I'm concerned about. The "little person" has either been buying at Wal-Mart (not a common option anymore, as they close their fabric departments) or via the distributors, where you can pick and choose a bolt from this maker and a bolt from that. I do a lot of business with Cranston (they're very, very nice to work with) and I feel like we have a very good relationship, good enough that I can speak openly with them. So I explained that if they weren't careful, they could lose that whole segment of the market (crafters and other cottage industry businesses). After much discussion, this is what they came up with: anyone who would like to order their products (by the bolt) but can't meet their 5-piece minimum, can order through me, and they will drop-ship directly to the customer. It won't quite be a wholesale price or even a Wal-Mart price - I don't qualify for the kind of pricing that Wal-Mart and distributors get - but it will be a much better price than regular retail because we will not have to handle the goods ourselves plus Cranston surely gets a better rate from UPS than we do. :wink:
This is all new territory for us (both my little business and Cranston) - and anyone with questions is welcome to send me a private e-mail.