As of lately the question has been on my mind as to why people choose Amazon over small business websites. If both sites are carrying the same item what makes Amazon the better choice?
Pricing? Are these items being sold at the same price? Most of the time I see smaller business sites are pricing lower than Amazon to try to compete for customers. ( we do the same on our site)
Shipping? For prime members on Amazon I understand the free 2day shipping. It is a great option. But is that why people would want to buy a product from Amazon rather than the same item that is priced less on a different website?
Customer Service? Is it easy to get helpful answers from Amazon? What makes their service better than other sites? Most small business websites have multiple ways for a customer to get in contact with them.
As these thought run through my head I also wonder what other small business websites think as well as customers out there. Is Amazon just the BEST? Can small websites compete with Amazon? We have started to sell some of our items on amazon as well and we see that selling on Amazon has brought us new customers who may not have seen us if we weren’t on Amazon. Then at the same time we sometimes see traffic/ customer chats on our website asking for information/ searching around then only for these customers not to buy from us but to go back and purchase on Amazon.
It does not help that similar products are being offered on amazon at an insanely lower price. These come from vendors overseas who are selling these items at such a low cost it is hard to compete. We try to lower our prices as much as we can to the point that we are taking a loss and losing money to these sellers. We offer a great quality product and we see that price is always a main factor. Does the customer not care about quality anymore?
We just want a better understanding to why customers choose Amazon over us. How can we get the amazon shoppers to shop our website as well?
To my other business owners who are reading this I would love to know if these thoughts have ever crossed your mind. Are we the only ones thinking this? What can we take away from this, and how can we better improve our sites. At the end of the day we want our customers to be happy with our product and services we provide them with in hopes they will become loyal customers. We want to be given chance. We have a great team ready for when a customer has any questions. Our customer live chat is always available during our working hours. You can always email us or call too! We want to show our customers that they can get a more personal experience with us. We take pride in our products and want to share that with our customers.
What will we be seeing a lot of this spring? Well, we believe that what we have been seeing on the runways is an early indicator of trends from clothing all the way to home decor, bright colors and mix and match patterns are gaining traction! These trends are easy to work with and can turn your home into a beautiful work of art. We see spring in our future and now we want to start to brighten things up in our home!
Pantone has released their color of 2017, called Greenery. It is a refreshing color that is easy on the eye and great on the walls. (Like the image above) You can also add smaller amounts of this bright, refreshing green to your home decor items and it would have the same brightening effects. Below you see those kitchen stools are the bright colors that were added to this beautiful white kitchen. Simple yet BOLD. I love seeing different ways you can add color to any room in your home.
This colored subway tile back splash is subtle yet eye catching! You can match or accent the tile with other kitchen items. Helpful tip- have your table linens match or complement the back splash.
Along with the pantone colors of 2017 you will be seeing many other bright colors. Don’t go with the old run of the mill dark colored couch. Make a statement with a brightly colored one. (Like the image above) Adding bright colored furniture is an easy way to bring color into your room. (It doesn’t involve paint!) No mess here! In the above picture you also see that the pillows are all different patterns. Mixing and matching the right patterns together somehow make it look like they belong together. Those pillows, such a simple accent piece that transforms this couch and living room. If you are up for a do it yourself project you can make pillows like the ones in the above picture. Fabric Textile Products Inc. has a wide range of fabrics that could be used for a DIY pillow project. I have also seen this being done in other rooms too! The options are endless when it comes to these trends. Even if you have a low budget but still want to freshen a room up in your home, you can! I am looking forward to taking these ideas and updating rooms in my home. As a renter I cannot paint the walls so I will be choosing to use smaller accents to help accomplish a bold look.
Here are those bright colors I was talking about again! The products in the above image are from www.fabrictextileproducts.com. Don’t they just SCREAM Springtime! Polka Dots are a favorite of mine. I love the bright colors of the table runner above. This is the perfect runner to transition into spring. Not ready for bright colored walls? Linens are the best way to bring in some colors and patterns. What is great about using items such as table linens to add something new to your dining room/ kitchen is they are not permanent. They are easy to switch when you want to go for a new look. I love updating my kitchen linens for each season. Spring I am ready for you! You can shop this print and many others now! Click Here
My favorite time of the year is the fall. I love photographing the changing leaves, going apple and pumpkin picking with my friends, drinking copious amounts of pumpkin spice lattes, thanksgiving dinner with my family, and of course, the fall fashion. Sweaters. Moccasins. Boots. Scarves. Flannel shirts. Skinny jeans. You name it and I most likely have it in my closet. Every year we see a new trend emerge in terms of the types of prints we can expect to see. This goes for apparel, shoes, accessories, home decor, linens, fabric, napery, and more. Vivienne Westwood, Marc Jacobs, & Alexander Wang all included several plaid pieces in their fall 2015 collections. If one thing’s for sure, we’re mad about plaid this season!
Whether it’s a shirt, lounge pants, a handbag, a phone case, or anything else you can think of, I most likely have a plaid style in my possession. Seriously though. It looks like I raided Kurt Cobain’s closet. It’s my favorite print! (How many people do you know that actually have a favorite print?) I even have a red plaid hair bow. I’m obsessed! I thought since plaid is super hot this season, I would share a little bit about the types and styles out there. Believe it or not, Cher Horowitz rocked at least 53 different plaid styles in 1995″s Clueless. Plaid is an under-appreciated print and I plan to show it a little extra love this season by highlighting some of the current items on the market!
Tartan is by far the most common and definitely my favorite. This style originated in Scotland and is usually what comes to mind when we say “plaid”. This style is most often seen with dark colors such as blues, reds, and greens. Below is the beautiful Pembroke Plaid Sheet Set by Pottery Barn.
Windowpane plaid is also quite common this season. The design is simple, yet sophisticated and makes for a handsome suit. This season Old Navy tackled the plaid trend and I am in love with their wool-blend ponchos! The black and white windowpane plaid pairs nicely with a solid knit top underneath.
Glen plaid is very easy to spot! Almost always done in a black and white scheme, this style of plaid is prevalent among tailored suits and more formal attire. This style can be seen year round as with J. Crew’s Glen Plaid Cap-Sleeve dress. It’s clean, classic, and fashionable. Some plaids can be a bit overwhelming, but glen plaid is subtle. I love it!
Buffalo check plaid is my second favorite plaid style. It is said to have originated in the USA around 1850. This black and red style is synonymous with outdoorsmen and gives a very rugged look. Sometimes buffalo check is also referred to as “lumberjack” plaid. Pottery Barn has a large array of buffalo check plaid items this year, but what really grabbed my attention was the Buffalo Check Napkin Set. Normally we think of plaid clothing, but not often table linens. It’s certainly a fun change!
And of course, I had to highlight Fabric Textile Products, Inc. This year we introduced our Country Plaid Napkin Collection! Available in Black, Navy, Red, Taupe, & Grass Green, our country plaid napkins are sure to compliment your fall tables! With my plaid addiction, it was only a matter of time before launching a plaid napery line.
I could go on for hours about plaid. This beloved style seems to be in it for the longhaul. Every so often we see a bit of a “plaid revival” if you wish. Almost all of us own atleast 1 plaid item. I guarantee it. Take a walk through your home. Scan each room. Take a look in your closets. You may be surprised at what you find. From tartan to gingham to madras to windowpane, there is a plaid for everyone!
Warm Regards Always,
Fabric Textile Products, Inc.
PHOTO DISCLAIMER: Please note that unless otherwise noted, photos and images do not belong to myself or Fabric Textile Products, Inc. All photos have been properly cited with source information. Thank you.
Greetings all! It’s Joanna here and I’m happy to return back to work after my vacation! I was lucky enough to spend a week at the most magical place on earth- Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! This was my first time visiting in 20 years and it was amazing. I know there are a lot of fellow Disney fans out there and I thought it would be fun to share some of my trip highlights with all of you.
Here’s a little background story for ya…
(insert my best Sophia Petrillo voice here) Picture it. Summer of 1995. 4 year old Joanna and her brother are surprised by their parents with a Walt Disney World vacation. They have a great week and make lots of memories along the way.
Flash forward to 2015. Joanna and her brother are now 24 years old and actually remember very little about their childhood trip to the Magic Kingdom. Sure there’s some old dusty Mickey Mouse ears in the attic and a faded character autograph book in the bottom of a junk drawer, but minimal memories come to mind. Joanna took it upon herself to take a trip back to Florida and re-do Walt Disney World as an adult with her best friend, Chrissy.
And here we are now! I have returned back to beautiful New Jersey ready to share my trip with all of you!
I had the pleasure of spending an entire week at Walt Disney World (for short, I will now simply refer to it as Disney) with my best friend. We flew into Orlando International Airport from New Jersey and hopped on Disney’s Magical Express. The bus took us to our resort and the trip had begun! We stayed at one of Disney’s Value Resorts – All Star Music. It was conveniently located near Animal Kingdom and fit neatly within our budget. The themed buildings were adorable and the 2 pools (yes, I said 2) were great for a late night dip after spending the days in the parks. We took advantage of the free bus transportation everyday and it made our commute to and from and parks quick and painless. I highly recommend staying at one of these resorts if you are looking to book a trip with a large group or family. Friendly staff, clean rooms, 2 large swimming pools, quick service food court, fully stocked gift shop, and free park transportation. What more could you want? It was great!
Over the course of 5 days we visited Downtown Disney, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park hopper option gave us total flexibility and we were able to visit multiple parks in 1 day. It was well worth the money! The Disney Dining Plan also made meal times a breeze. Reservations were set and we were able to enjoy all kinds of cuisine. I could literally write an entire novel about my vacation, but I will keep it short and sweet for you, just highlighting my favorite parts of the trip. I took over 200 photos (yes, I really mean that) throughout the course of roughly 5 days, so the spark notes version is up ahead!
Downtown Disney was a fun place to start the trip. There was a huge array of shops, eateries, and attractions. The first purchase was of course my ears. These things have really changed since my last visit! Now you can get headbands instead of hats and there are literally hundreds of styles to choose from. A simple red bow and black ears combination worked for me. I wore my ears all week and everywhere we went, even to dinner! It’s totally necessary and I felt like a little kid again! After dinner at Paradiso 37, we made a quick stop at the Harley Davidson store. I bought t-shirts for my family and headed back to the hotel. It was a wet and rainy night!
While at Animal Kingdom we took a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safari and saw some really cool animals. The safari even came to a halt as we waited for a family of rhinos to cross the road. As a huge animal lover, I had a great time. There were giraffes, zebras, flamingos, and so much more! An ostrich even came right up to our tour vehicle. It was a really fun way to start the morning! The animals were a little camera shy though!
I was flooded with emotions as we approached the front gates of Magic Kingdom. I saw the beautiful castle and was almost in tears (happy tears of course!). It truly is the happiest place on earth. Throughout the week we made several trips to Magic Kingdom. I am not much of a roller coaster fan, but I made sure to test out all the kiddie rides. I think I enjoyed them way more than some of the little kids! Some of my favorites were Peter Pan’s Flight, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and of course, It’s A Small World. If you haven’t noticed already, I truly am a kid at heart. I may be 24 years old, but I’m forever a little girl on the inside!
The best part of Magic Kingdom was all the character meet and greets! I got to meet most of my favorite Disney characters and take full advantage of the photo opportunities! Below are a few of my favorite shots. Let me tell you, the 1 hour wait to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen was certainly worth it! Breakfast at the Crystal Palace was great too. Winnie the Pooh and all his friends were there with us! And how could we not enjoy lunch at Be Our Guest? It was amazing! The fireworks show at the end of the night is probably one of the prettiest displays you’ll ever see.
If you’re a foodie like me, Epcot is definitely the park for you. I spent most of my trip wandering around the World Showcase. The cuisine is authentic and delicious. Of course I had to pay a visit to bellissimo Italia! My father was born and raised there, so Italy was #1 on my list. I was able to pick up a couple of my favorite Italian candies and treats from a small gift shop. It felt like I was at my Nana Rosa’s house! Mexico was my absolute favorite country to visit. Chrissy and I are both true Italians, but my goodness do we love Mexican food and culture. Donald Duck even made an appearance!
Germany was so much fun too! They had some of the greatest beer I ever tasted and provided a very interesting dining experience. There was music and dancing and it was such a fun environment to be in. We even got a chance to meet the beautiful Snow White herself while strolling along Germany.
I hope to visit the U.K. someday, but until then, this is the next best thing. We had way too much fun with the red telephone booths and talking in British accents. We made sure to pick up some Doctor Who merchandise for our dear friend, Jess and stop for a quick photo with Alice too! Not much of a fish and chips kinda girl, but it sure looked delicious!
We even had dinner with the big man himself at the Garden Grill – Mickey Mouse that is! I couldn’t leave Florida without getting a hug and kiss from everyone’s favorite mouse! …M-I-C-K-E-Y- M-O-U-S-E…
The last park we visited was Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It was a blast from the past and I loved everything about it! We ate lunch at Pizza Planet, which was a childhood dream come true for me. Toy Story is one of my absolute favorite movies and it was super cool! We also had time to see the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at the Hyperion Theater. We may have been the oldest people in the theater, but we had a great time. I’m a little obsessed with Frozen and I had to belt out at least 1 rendition of “Let It Go” while visiting Disney World. (I’m so sorry to anyone who was sitting next to or around me that day.) It was a short afternoon spent at the park, but it was a lot of fun. The scenery was so nice to look at.
Sadly, our vacation came to an end and we had to head back home to the Garden State. Way too much money was spent on souvenirs, but it was all in good fun. Walt Disney World is for children and adults of all ages. No matter who you are or where you are from or how old you are, it puts a huge smile on your face that you just cannot experience anywhere else. It is a really nice break from reality and it makes you feel good. I’m hoping to take my whole family for a visit next time!
Congratulations! You made it to the end of this blog! You kept on scrolling down and reading and you made it, so thank you! I absolutely love sharing my vacation and travel stories and I hope you find them enjoyable. It’s not all about fabric here ya know! We like to have fun outside of work too! Coincidentally, the day before I left for my vacation is the day our new Disney fabric delivery came in. Somehow it all comes back to Fabric Textile Products, Inc. I look forward to hearing about your Disney trips as well! Feel free to comment below! (PS- Thumbs up to those of you who totally picked up on my Golden Girls reference.)
With Warm Regards Always,
Fabric Textile Products, Inc.
*Disclaimer: All personal images used in this post belong to Joanna Maruca and Christin Fimiani. They may not be reused or recopied without our permission. Peter Pan image is courtesy of Pinterest. Thank you.*
July 4th weekend is almost here! BBQ’s, fireworks, beach trips, & family fun have become staples of this American tradition. 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays since I was a little kid. My family (large Italian-American family to be exact) would have a huge BBQ at our house every year. I was on decorating duty of course and would cover the backyard in red, white, & blue streamers. Mom would make every kind of salad known to man. Dad would grill every kind of meat the butcher could supply. My brother and I would go swimming in the pool for hours and then eat tons of ice cream until we couldn’t stomach anymore. (Yeah, Mom really “loved” that part.) At the end of the night, we would always watch the local fireworks display and go back to our house and make smores. If we were lucky, we would get to play with little sparklers too!
Our family tradition has changed since we are all getting older, but I still really enjoy the holiday. This year I have the opportunity to spend the holiday weekend in our nation’s capital, beautiful Washington, D.C. and I could not be any more thrilled! D.C. has become one of my favorite travel destinations and what better time to go than to celebrate our freedom and independence? It is going to be amazing. I will certainly do a follow up blog about my trip! I am looking forward to the parade and fireworks display. I’m sure the view from my hotel in Capitol Hill will be amazing!
To get in the patriotic spirit, I just wanted to share some pictures from my previous trips to D.C. with all of you. If you have not been there yet, I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip there with friends or family. The monuments are beautiful. The museums are excellent. The local food is delicious. The National Zoo has pandas! You don’t come across them very often! Most importantly, it is our beautiful country’s capital. It is a diverse city rich with culture and history.
I hope you enjoy celebrating 4th of July with your families! I will share photos from my trip with you in a few weeks!
Fabric Textile Products, Inc.
All below photos belong to Joanna Maruca and may not be used or reprinted without my permission. Thank you.
Susan and I officially met in the spring of 2012. She was hired to be the newest Assistant General Manager at my job, which meant she would be my direct supervisor. From day 1, we immediately connected and really hit it off. We both eventually said our goodbyes to the ice rink and embarked on new professional journeys. We have always kept in touch and still remain friends.
In January, Susan decided to open up an Etsy shop, Susan Knittman, and sell handmade knitted goods. While in between jobs, it was a great way for her to keep up with her long-time hobby and also make some extra money in the meantime. From scarves, to headbands, to napkin rings, her shop has it all. With business booming and her shop on the rise, I wanted to share Susan’s shop with all of you.
Susan and I talked over coffee and got to catch up last week. I purchased custom napkin rings from her and I was super excited to see the finished products. They were absolutely adorable and incredibly creative! You don’t see knitted napkin rings every day!
Joanna: “When did you first learn to knit?”
Susan: “I was probably around 12 years old and my mom taught me. First it was needlepoint, then knitting.”
J: “When did you open your Etsy shop? What prompted you to do so?”
S: “January of this year. So 2015. It sounds funny, but every winter I would keep my hands busy by knitting. I would start a new scarf every year. First I started with arm knitting and then needle.”
J: “What types of products do you typically make and sell in the shop?”
S: “Scarves, baby bonnets, blankets, napkin rings, hats, headbands. A little of everything. My best selling items are scarves. I have these really cool asymmetrical scarves that have a few buttons on the side and wraps around. It’s my best seller. “
J: “Have you considered making this a full-time thing (expanding beyond Etsy), or is this just a hobby? Would you eventually like to turn this into a standalone business?”
S: “Personally, I don’t think I have the stamina to do this full time. I did it while I was in between jobs. I am looking to expand and attend craft shows in the fall. There’s some local ones I want to look into. I’ll start small at first. Knitting will stay a side business for now.”
J: “What products are you hoping to add to the store, if any, in the future? Is there something you are hoping to perfect and offer to your customers?”
S: “I want to do a lot more, but I’m not sure of the demand for certain items. I have these antique Parisian buttons that I would like to do more with. They are actually from Paris and they were purchased by a family friend in the 70s. She gave them to me. I would love to do more baby bonnets. I did a custom Batman hat for a friend. It looks like there is a lot of superhero-type items in demand. I’m going to start working on Harley Quinn and the Joker hats too. I am very open to custom orders. It’s just about finding the patterns. My brother wants to add some items to his comic book shop too. I did a Batman baby headband so far. It looks like I’ll be doing a lot of superhero items, but I will do whatever is asked of me, and with little turnaround time of course.”
The possibilities are endless. Susan was kind enough to make our napkin rings as a custom order. I was able to choose the colors, styles, & buttons that I wanted. She is willing to do whatever necessary to meet your specific needs. There is a warm knitted gift for everyone! All items are proudly made by Susan in the USA and can be hand washed. I wish her all the best as her business continues to grow! Susan’s products will soon be available for purchase at her brother’s comic book store, East Side Mags, as well. Be sure to check them out if you’re in the Montclair, NJ neighborhood!
Father’s Day is Sunday June 21st! I like to keep things interesting when it comes to gift giving. I always give the traditional Hallmark card, but I like to give unique gifts to my loved ones. This Father’s Day I bought my Dad a sketched portrait of the old Yankee Stadium. He is a huge baseball fanatic and loves all things NY Yankees! It will make a beautiful addition to the walls in our home. I know he will love it! I have compiled a list of fun gift ideas. There’s something for every kind of Dad in your life.
1. sporting event tickets to see his favorite team (my Dad loves baseball!)
2. Dollar Shave Club subscription service (www.dollarshaveclub.com)
3. brewery visit & tour
4. framed vinyl(s) of music by his favorite band or performer
5. Fitbit wireless performance band (www.fitbit.com)
13. a day or weekend trip to his favorite city or travel destination
14. white water rafting or kayaking (the Poconos is an excellent location for this!)
15. painted portrait of his pet(s)
16. home beer brewing starter kit (www.mrbeer.com)
17. his favorite TV show on DVD (Seinfeld still remains the highlight of my Dad’s collection)
18. custom sports jersey (www.modells.com – you can get any sport, team, and number)
19. Bespoke Post gift box OR gift subscription (www.bespokepost.com/gift)
20. TOMS classic slip-ons (keep dad looking cool AND give back at the same time! http://www.toms.com)
Every Dad is different with his own personality and interests. I hope this list of gift ideas has served as a source of inspiration for you this year. It’s nice to let the important men in our lives feel appreciated and important. Celebrate this Father’s Day with the special men in your life. And as always, be sure to thank them for all they do.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Fabric Textile Products, Inc.
Photo disclaimer: Please note that photos credited as property of Joanna Maruca belong to myself and Fabric Textile Products, Inc. All other images and photos used have been acquired through a search of Google images. Those photos belong to their rightful owners and do not belong to myself or Fabric Textile Products, Inc.We claim no ownership of those images. Thank you.