A crafty innovation
Local company’s kiosk takes the guesswork out of cutting fabric


Nov. 7, 2014

Jill Repp, vice president of sales and marketing for June Tailor Inc. of Richfield, introduces the company’s newest product, a self-service fabric cutting kiosk to the media Thursday. 
Linda McAlpine/Daily News

RICHFIELD — A new product developed by June Tailor Inc. of Richfield, a maker of tools for quilting, crafting, sewing and home decor, was born of the frustration of standing in long lines to have material cut at fabric stores.

“I’ve been sewing since I was about 5 years old, and getting fabric cut at a fabric or retail store has always been a process done by hand,” June Tailor Inc. vice president of Sales and Marketing Jill Repp said Thursday afternoon just before the company’s latest product debuted to media at its headquarters in Richfield.

That’s about to change.

June Tailor Inc. is introducing to the market, a free-standing, self-service fabric-cutting kiosk.

“It really is easy to use,” Repp said as she stood in front of a kiosk to demonstrate it. “The kiosk has a touchscreen. The customer enters the amount of fabric they want, such as 2 yards. They then open the kiosk, place the bolt of fabric inside and close the door. The machine then cuts it precisely.”

Once the fabric is cut, the cost to the customer is calculated and displayed on the touchscreen, Repp said. When the customer indicates their order is complete, they pick up their material at the bottom of the kiosk, which then prints out a receipt that contains a bar code that the customer presents at checkout.

While a boon to crafters, quilters and those who sew, the kiosk can save a retailer money.

Repp said during the development of the kiosk, she would go out and buy material at various sellers and bring it back to the company and measure it. Almost always, the measurement was above what had been requested, meaning that over time, a lot of money could be lost in overages.

“The kiosk, in addition to making accurate measurements and precision cuts can help a retailer keep track of inventory,” Repp said. “All they have to do is put a bolt of fabric in the kiosk and it will display how much material is on it and how much has been sold.”

The kiosk software will allow a retailer to enter sale pricing and the display seen by customers can even have an advertisement on it to entice them to do even more shopping in the store, Repp said.

The kiosk made an appearance recently at the International Quilt Market trade show in Houston, and the response was positive, Repp said.

“We knew we would have the interest of quilt shop owners and retailers that sell fabric, but we were surprised by the attention it has received from Internet companies,” Repp said. “There are many companies that sell fabric-by-the-yard and kits that contain fabric online that could use the kiosk instead of cutting by hand.”

Hancock Fabrics in Marshfield has tested the kiosk in its store, Repp said, and it was greeted with enthusiasm by customers.

“The kiosk is extremely intuitive for the customer and offers us an opportunity to promote products on the display screen that directly relate to their purchase,” Hancock Fabrics Senior Vice President of Store Operations Cheryl McDonald said in a news release regarding the kiosk. “We also have a better grasp on our inventory than ever before and can respond quickly to purchasing trends.”

The kiosk took about two years to develop, June Tailor President Fran Yogerst said.

“When we first started talking about making something like this, we wondered why no one had thought of it before,” Yogerst said of the self-service kiosk. “We did a patent search and found that no one had taken one out for something like it.”

Economic Development Washington County is sold on the idea and is supporting the company’s expected growth and the production of the kiosk with a $300,000 low-interest loan.

“While we have fun working with numerous growing companies in Washington County, June Tailor has been an especially exciting project for our team because the kiosk that the company has created is a real game changer for the entire textile industry,” EDWC Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok said Thursday after the paperwork for the loan was completed. “This is a homegrown innovation for Washington County that our communities can take pride in having fueled.”