Like many of you, I was taken aback by the news that Free Spirit is closing it’s doors. Wow! How can that be? The artists designing for Free Spirit are an amazing group; including but certainly not limited, to Tula Pink, Anna Marian Horner, Joel Dewberry, Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey and Kaffe Fassett. It is hard to get my head around this as the news seems so sudden.
For those of you who haven’t already read this, here is the note published on the Free Spirit website:
We are certain you have heard the news. Please forgive us for delayed communication, but our first priority has been to support our employees and designers. It is with great sadness that we announce, effective May 1, we are exiting the Westminster Lifestyle/FreeSpirit fabric business. Our sister company, Coats and Clark, Inc. will continue as part of the sewing and quilting landscape just as they have always been for over 200 years.
We appreciate your support and love of our fabrics throughout the years. We’ve enjoyed bringing to you the best designers printed on the most luxurious of fabrics and watching you create incredible works. Thank you for your love of our fabrics.
For customers: We will continue to fulfill orders placed to date for delivery prior to Tuesday, May 1, with new orders for existing collections on a first come first service basis. We will not be producing new Westminster or FreeSpirit Fabrics from today onward.
I can only guess why something like this is happening. For Coats & Clark to close this division, it must make sense for their bottom line. Hard to imagine a company isn’t profitable with such an AMAZING team of fabric gurus designing for it, but it must be the case. I have been reading with interest the responses from some of the designers.
There is a video on Tula Pinks Facebook page where she talks about her feelings.
The note on Kaffe Fasset’s Facebook page is shown below:
By now you have heard the news that the fabric company that we started over 20 years ago will be no longer in business by May. Coats has made the decision to stop producing the Kaffe Collective line, the Artisan line and the fabric lines of many of our good friends.
We have been caught completely by surprise and have not yet gathered our thoughts on how we will move forward, but rest assured, we will! Our fabrics and books are popular and in demand and there is no doubt that we will have a bright future.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement.
Kaffe, Brandon, Liza and Philip
So many people’s lives are in a tizzy, I am sure. I don’t know how many people are employed by Free Spirit but surely this will take a toll on a good number of families. I hope they are able to land their next position relatively soon and that Free Spirit treats them well as they close their doors.
I look forward to hearing about the next path taken by each of these amazing designers. Surely the larger fabric companies are looking to pick up some of them. I have long wanted to carry Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner and Tula Pink in my shop but had not yet created a purchasing relationship with Free Spirit. I could see Andover picking up any one of these three and if so, I will be eager to start purchasing their lines.
Wishing only the best to all those impacted by this change. Change can be difficult but hopefully this one will lead to new opportunities for those involved.