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find out what it is that truly brings him joy.
Let me take you back to the 1970's where it all began...
Mark's father started his notions business in Atlanta, GA in the early 1970's.
Mark worked along side his father for several years learning the trade.
It was here that his passion for the textile industry was sparked!
|Mark signing papers to start United Notions|
In 1975, Mark decided to move to Dallas and start his own business adventure.
Starting out with little capital, Mark would spend the first part of his days taking orders from his customers. Then he would drive straight to the vendors to pick up the product before whisking back to the warehouse to package and ship off the orders HIMSELF! It was very much a family business even at this time when family helped answer phones, fill orders and clean toilets.
He found it as a challenge & he loved it!
He referred to a book that has been very inspirational to him as he was starting his business,
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach.
The book tells the story of a seagull who is bored with the daily squabbles over food.
He is seized by his passion for flight which pushes him to learn everything he can about flying.
The idea is to fight for what you love, never give up & share what you love with others.
"Find your passion & enjoy what you do." he told me.
"Don't spend your whole life wishing you had done something different."
Eventually all the hard work & persistence grew his business into the
wonderful company you now know as United Notions Moda.
For Mark it was about way more than simply selling bolts of fabric and notions to quilt shops.
It was about growing the quilting industry he loved so dearly.
He loves working with small independent quilt shops that have the same passion for quilting as he does. During our chat he showed me a picture he had sitting on his desk. It was of the owner of a quilt shop who he said was his 4th customer when he was just starting up the business. He talked so fondly of her and her shop and how it was people and shops like that that made him love what he does.
He prides himself in personally knowing his customers and their needs.
When asked why he enjoyed working with quilt shops so much his response was, "I'm an independent guy and I can relate to the shop owner. They put in the long hours and do all the work from taking orders to taking out the trash. But the main reason is they can teach and educate their customers. Sewing is being cut from our schools and big box stores just offer the product. A quilt shop helps the customer with fabric color choices, teaches new techniques and provides fellowship through classes allowing people to become passionate about quilting and giving back."
Mark noted that the quilting industry has such a huge heart
and quilters are known for their generosity.
When there is a natural disaster, quilters are the first ones to rally up
to make quilts and donate supplies to those in need.
|Semper Fi project in conjunction with Polly Minick and Laurie Simpson|
Mark finds joy in giving back to the industry in several ways such as, serving on the board of directors for the Quilt Alliance, the National Quilt Museum and the advisory board for
International Quilt Market.
Another way Mark finds joy through giving is with his Collections for a Cause fabric lines.
Twice a year a line is reproduced from an antique quilt from his collection and the profits are shared with a charity.
The first collections for a cause collection still continues to be his favorite. This collection was inspired because of one of his dear sales reps, Pam Wieland. Pam was suffering from Ovarian cancer and her spirit throughout the countless treatments was tireless. This is what started it all with the first collection for a cause proceeds going to Gilda's House in honor of Pam Wieland.
|Mark Dunn and Cheryl Freydberg presenting a check at Gilda's House, Dallas, Texas|
Mark wouldn't be who he is without his loving family to help keep him in line! ;)
He finds great joy in spending time with his lovely wife and kids.
Lucky for him he gets to work with several of them every day here at Moda.
As I visited with Mark he was using the word enjoy as he talked and I realized that word is the message he displays in his life.
Doing the things and
being around people is what he
and that ultimately is the JOY he shares with us all.