20 Years: Looking Back and Thinking Forward

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5 comments » Behind the Scenes, Personal Stories

In honor of our 20 year anniversary, we recently sat down with Matt Petkun, Connecting Threads’ president and CEO.

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When you were watching your parents form Connecting Threads, did you expect you would be running it 20 years later? (If not, what were your plans back then and what convinced you to change them?)

20 years ago I was just beginning college, and I certainly had no intentions of working with my parents at that point in time. I was passionate about my studies, and knew that focusing on them could lead to a variety of opportunities and careers, but I never thought that I would ultimately end up working with them.

It has always been very important to me to keep family first in our relationship, and I worried that working together could distract from family.   I had a 12 year career in business before working with CT, and was happily engaged in that when my parents started discussing retirement.

 At that same time, I was looking for ways that I could take my skills and experience in the business world and use those to focus on a market that connected more closely with people and things that they are passionate about. The timing worked out, so that we have (mostly) been able to eliminate the challenges of a family business while at the same time continuing to support the crafting markets and customers that mean so much to our family.

 

What do you think has changed the most within the company from then to now?

Within the company, very little has changed. We were founded to provide the very best products to quilters and the most affordable prices possible. In many ways that mission hasn’t changed.

The world around us has, and that’s where one can find differences. Probably the biggest changes have come in the digital world. 20 years ago books were one of our biggest product categories, and catalogs were the only way we could reach out to quilters.

 Today, the internet has made wonderful patterns and projects so much more accessible. This is great for existing quilters, and also allowed quilting to open up to a whole new generation. I am excited that we can be a part of sharing the traditions and joys of quilting with so many new people.


What are your favorite achievements CT has accomplished?

We measure our achievements only by the products we provide. Products always take work, and tweaking. The quality and hand of the fabric is equal to the best quilting fabrics in the market, the collections are diverse and exciting, and the price is unmatched. The feedback we get from customers is great, and I am really proud of our team for all the work it has taken to make this happen.

 

What is your hope for CT’s next 20 years?

The next 20 years is about spreading the word. We want to share our amazing products with every quilter, and we want to be part of sharing the joys of quilting and fabric arts with as many new people as possible.

 



5 responses to “20 Years: Looking Back and Thinking Forward”

  1. Linda Froggie Says:
    06/11/2014 4:54 pm

    Love ya, Matt! I agree, your fabric is very high quality and the best price around. I am hooked for sure!
    ~Hopppy quilting~

    Reply
  2. Stephanie Dunphy Says:
    06/11/2014 5:18 pm

    CT is such a great company – products, service, people. Unmatched as far as I’m concerned and NO ONE matches your prices! Happy Anniversary and congratulations! Here’s to 20 more.

    Reply
  3. Marilyn Lessner Says:
    06/12/2014 5:17 am

    I was thrilled when I first discovered CT and also the network of fellow quilters via Quilt With Us. The quality of fabric and notions is equal to all.
    But I have a question for Matt……..What is your response to those folks who say that online shopping is part of the cause of the demise of local quilt shops?

    Reply
    • Matt Says:
      06/12/2014 1:42 pm

      Hi Marilyn!

      Your question isn’t unique to Quilt shops. Local retail has been faced with three tough issues in the last 10+ years: rising rents, the growth of “big box stores”, and e-commerce. They have made things more difficult for everyone from local hardware stores, to music stores, to quilt shops.

      Perhaps the toughest thing for local quilt stores is that they tend to be run by one or two very dedicated owners who give everything they have to their craft. It’s hard work. We are so thankful for their service and we at CT are frequent patrons of some great local shops! We encourage all of our customers to do the same.

      Speaking for the local shops in my hometown, the quilt stores have faired better than most. Nothing online can replace the fun of sifting through fabric by hand, or the inspiration and education that can come from the passionate and dedicated staff in local shops. In many ways, the internet has also aided the best local quilt stores: allowing them to attract fans from around the country and to share their ideas and unique assortment with everyone.

      At CT, we see ourselves as part of the overall quilting community and, by enabling quilting to be a more affordable craft for everyone, we are helping to create new customers for local stores as well.

      Reply
      • Marilyn Lessner Says:
        06/12/2014 4:14 pm

        Thank you for your reply Matt. I intend to share your words with my local quilt guild at our next meeting.

        Reply

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