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