Strong partners are key to the Canadian Quilters Association’s success and TrendTex is high up on the list of companies we are fortunate to call a partner. You’ve seen their TrendTex Challenge through the years, but who are they? They don’t have a storefront; what do they do?
In some ways, they are the strong, silent partner. A leading wholesale distributor in Canada for independent retailers focused on the quilting and home sewing markets, TrendTex represents some of the best fabric lines in the industry including Moda, Hoffman California, Cotton + Steel, RJR Fabrics, Stof, Benartex, and Michael Miller. Earlier this year, Lewis & Irene, a whimsical line from a strong, family-based business, was added to their portfolio. Helping shop owners help you is their priority.
Quilters love quilt shops – shelves upon shelves lined with temptation. Getting all of those beautiful bolts and pre-cuts to the shelves is no mean feat – it is a process that can take anywhere from four to eight months. Shop owners are constantly juggling timelines and seasons. A manufacturer has five to seven releases a year which means well over 200 collections a year for TrendTex to manage. Their sales representatives fan out across the country visiting shopkeepers to pre-order fabric. With decisions made, massive rolls arrive at the warehouse ready for cutting. Specialized equipment takes it through the ‘doubled and rolled’ process – folding the fabric in half and rolling it onto bolts which TrendTex labels a and sends off to your local quilt shop.
Their admiration for shopkeepers who constantly rethink business strategies runs deep. This ingenuity was apparent during the recent pandemic lock downs. Initially business slowed to almost a complete halt, then they improvised. They enhanced their online stores, introduced curbside pickup, emails, and Facebook Live, and developed PPE kits that included elastic, patterns and fabric, with great success. Anyone familiar with pre-cuts knows that they can sound more like a bake shop menu than fabric – jelly rolls, layer cakes, and honey buns. TrendTex pre-cuts also evoke the notion of sweet treats, but with a decidedly Canadian flavour. Look for their maple cakes, maple rolls and maple squares.
Their interest in carving out a distinctly Canadian niche has led them to work with Hoffman California to develop products available exclusively in this country, including a red version of the infamous Dream Big Flower Bloom panel and a Canadian version of Sun Up to Sun Down. In addition, their work with Moda has resulted in the very popular True North collection designed by Winnipeg’s Kate & Birdie Paper Co. Samples for True North II are out now; look for it on store shelves in November.
TrendTex takes their role as an industry leader seriously and continually looks for ways to support and inform. For approximately 15 years they have very generously sponsored CQA/ACC’s annual fundraiser, the TrendTex Challenge, supplying the fabric kits for participants. They also support shops by sponsoring goodie bags and door prizes when they host retreats and store events. To help quilters stay current, each month their blog shines a spotlight on a different designer and their collections. And in 2018, when Quilt Canada was held in Vancouver, they opened the doors to their warehouse to over 150 attendees for an exclusive tour. Happy quilters were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour, learned about the skill required to manufacture Hoffman’s quality batiks, got to see inside the much-vaunted sample room, and got a sneak peek at the latest collections, even before any of the shops did.
CAQ/ACC truly appreciates the many ways that TrendTex supports both the Association and the Canadian quilting community and we encourage you to look for their products the next time you find yourself in a quilt shop, either bricks and mortar or virtual.
Photos: Jon West