Crafters, home sewists, and small businesses will soon lose a major online fabric source. Fabric.com, a longtime retailer of fabrics, trims, notions, and other supplies, is shutting down.
Since launching in the late ’90s, Fabric.com has been a mainstay for casual crafters and small business owners alike, offering by-the-yard fabric from hundreds of companies as well as other sewing supplies. When Amazon acquired the company in 2008, the tech giant said the acquisition would give its crafting customers more variety to choose from. The website’s vast inventory and competitive prices made it a favorite for many craftspeople and companies buying in large quantities to make products.
The impending closure was first reported by the Craft Industry Alliance. Fabric.com employees were notified on Monday, and vendors whose products were carried by Fabric.com were notified on Wednesday via an email, which was viewed by The Verge. One vendor who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely about the situation says they were shocked to hear the news.
In an email to vendors, Amazon says today is the last day for customer orders
“It’s sad when any when any business closes, but when a company that’s owned by Amazon closes, it’s can be devastating for those employees,” they say.
Fabric companies received the news just a day before orders are scheduled to permanently close. In the email sent to vendors, Amazon says today is the last day for customer orders and that it would be “moving quickly to wind down our operations.”
Amazon confirmed the closing of Fabric.com in an email to The Verge.
“As part of our regular business planning, we continually evaluate the progress and potential of our offerings and have made the decision to close Fabric.com,” Amazon spokesperson Betsy Harden says. “We are focused on supporting our employees through this transition.”
At the time of acquisition, both Amazon and Fabric.com owner Stephen Friedman said the move was good for business and the customers. But in recent years, vendors started seeing signs of problems. Some fabric companies were getting paid late, according to a vendor, but beyond that, it seemed Amazon didn’t understand even the basics of selling fabric.
For example, one vendor told the Craft Industry Alliance that earlier this year, Amazon told vendors to upload their fabric on Amazon.com in one, three, and five-yard increments, despite the fact that wholesale fabric is sold by the bolt, which can contain as much as 100 yards each. As the Craft Industry Alliance notes, precutting fabric would create an enormous amount of labor for vendors, who would have to measure and cut fabric themselves. Management also reportedly asked if precut packs of fabric could be sold, a suggestion that might sound reasonable to a non-crafter but that sewists would immediately recognize as untenable. When fabric is purchased by the yard, it typically comes in one continuous piece — for a person needing six yards of fabric, a couple three-yard packs wouldn’t be adequate because pattern pieces don’t neatly fall into a one-yard increment space.
The fabric vendor told The Verge that Amazon and those steering the ship at Fabric.com didn’t seem to be committed to selling the products.
“The people that were doing it, they didn’t know anything about the fabric they were selling. They really weren’t fabric merchants,” the vendor told The Verge. “They didn’t take ownership of what they were selling. They were just moving numbers around.”