Max Haupt has worked in the Montreal textile trade for over 40 years, and in 2003 he and his eldest son, Steve Haupt, took on the opportunity to purchase Eugene Textiles, a company that focused on selling textiles to the Montreal garment trade and small independent craft retailers across Canada. With more international trade agreements, the Haupts saw the writing on the wall for the Montreal garment industry and started to refocus the business to independent retailers in the arts and crafts business segment.
The company’s 25 employees are led by Max, as the company President, while Steve handles sales, operations, and product development, and Joshua Haupt, Max’s younger son, joined the company in 2006 and manages sourcing and production.
“We started to refocus strictly on the small and large retail fabric shops who sell fabric by the yard. We are not in the fashion industry, and the fabrics that we supply today focus strictly on the crafting world. We sell fabrics to those who sew and work on projects at home and to those who create their own products. That’s in essence our customer,” says Steve Haupt.
“At the onset, one of the biggest barriers of entry to the craft market was the need to establish ourselves within this time-honoured industry. In order to do so, we had to prove ourselves so that our customers would be confident that we can provide top quality products and services, and we have achieved that,” added Joshua Haupt.
About two years ago, the company also started to recreate its whole brand positioning, with a new name and logo, Camelot Fabrics. The company also started to focus on a new design strategy to reinforce their new “Freshly Made” slogan. Today, Camelot Fabrics invests heavily in design and licensing.
“Our designs and licences are new and innovative, and we are always working to be ahead of the competition. That’s also one of the biggest challenges, but I believe we do this successfully”, says Steve Haupt. Camelot currently holds rights to more than a dozen popular brands, such as Superman, Star Wars, Batman, NBA, Marvel, The Simpsons, and Star Trek.
Today, the company converts millions of metres of fabric every year, including cotton, polyester, flannel, fleece, crafting fabrics, nylon and outerwear fabrics. To provide the best quality fabrics and modern designs, the company employs a large in-house design team. The company’s spirit is all about fun, fresh designs and ideas that satisfy all clients – crafters, sewers, and quilters – by constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to venturing into new territories in the fabric industry, taking chances with the designs, creating bold colour combinations and experimenting with specialty printing, such as glow-in-the-dark, metallic, and glitter. Camelot designers are always on the lookout for the next big thing, working with talented artists, who are in essence an extension of Camelot’s “Design Family”.
To give back to the community, the company created Sew Social initiative. The project consists of creating lap quilts, and donating these to the Quilts for Kids organization, an organization dedicated to providing comfort to children with life-threatening illnesses and children of abuse. The purpose of this project is to create lap quilts that will bring some warmth, comfort, and happiness to kids in need.
“We work every day to sell fabrics and craft kits, but we wanted to get people involved in sewing through social media in a meaningful, charitable way. We sell fabric, so we came up with our Sew Social project. In essence, people can visit our Sew Social microsite and create virtual quilts using our fabric designs, and these designs will be turned into real quilts and given to children in need,” says Steve Haupt.
Through Camelot’s affiliation with the NBA, the company has also partnered with the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) for the charitable “Sew Social Project”.
“The crafting world is a trade unto its own, and it is growing every day. There are many retailers who are focused on the craft world, and we are there to support their crafting needs. It’s everything from the independent specialty retail shops and all the way up to big box retailers with a focus on crafts and fabrics,” says Steve Haupt.
Camelot Fabrics’ products are distributed not just in Canada and the United States, but also in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Japan. To grow, the company plans to expand its offering into different markets, and pursue markets in Asia, South America, and the Caribbean.
With Camelot Fabrics’ focus on new and innovative ideas, their future looks bright.