Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Where are all of the costume and bridal fabrics?!

Mary Jo’s was the first big-box store in the industry. Just a few decades ago, future brides and their families would come to Mary Jo’s for one intense shopping spree. During the spree, they would buy everything necessary to make each of their dresses and turn themselves out as an ensemble by virtue of their coordinating clothing. For years we have thrived as one of the only one-stop suppliers in the nation to costume designers of theater productions and films.

Today, our bridal and costume fabric inventory is much smaller - an index to the fabric industry at large. Fabrics that used to come in quantities of 2,000 yards or more, are now reduced to as few as 500 yards. Unfortunately, almost all of these fabrics are now produced by mills overseas and the quantity they produce is made to order. This method of production does not take into account retail stores, nor does it support the home sewing market.

As more garment manufacturing moves overseas, fewer leftover bolts of fabric, called “off goods,” are available to fabric retailers in the United States. Less selection hurts independent stores, like us, who built their reputation on having the widest selection around. While in the past we might try to keep 15 shades of a certain fabric on the shelves, that’s just not possible if manufacturers cut back to only seven shades.  Today only enough goods are made to fill orders – nothing extra like in the past.

Large quantities of fabric must be requested months in advance, and chances are it’s “one run and done.” No manufacturer wants to be sitting on thousands, or even hundreds, of unsold yards of fabric. While some excess does become available, the majority of it is shipped to New York or the West Coast, at which point shipping it would outweigh the price of the fabric itself.

Let us assure you, our valued costume and bridal fabric shoppers, that you have not been forgotten and that your business is greatly appreciated. It is not by choice that we carry less of your favorites and we too are frustrated by the overall shortage of costume and bridal fabrics.

We cannot say enough how sad it makes us to feel as though a large portion of our client base feels forgotten. We strive to make each and every customer feel welcomed and appreciated; your needs are important to us. Please feel free to come in or message us with any questions and we will do our best to assist you with finding any fabric you might need.

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