Our Competitors


When I started my quilted cot cover business a few years ago, I knew that there would be others trying to duplicate our product.

In fact, Ron at Quilted First-Call Covers was actually making quilted covers before I started, although I didn’t know that until almost a year after our launch!

And I don’t know when Marty started up The Last Quilt Company, but I didn’t see her first catalog until about two years ago.

Of course, my focus has always been on finding the best materials, features and designs for our covers, I also keep my eye on the competition to gauge their own progress.

When we introduced each of our innovations (switching from vinyl lining to our new FluidBlocker lining, the VersaPocket, etc.) I knew we only had a 6-8 month headstart on the others.

And I was right!  Less than six months after we offered the VersaPocket, Quilted First-Call Covers created their first-call supply bag.  Several months after the widely successful launch of our FluidBlocker lining, they began offering nylon as a lining option.

Now, they’ve copied a few design ideas from our past (which didn’t work very well for us, but, hey – maybe they’ll have better luck).  Ron now offers printed fabric quilted covers.  These are made from fabric that is printed with a design.  Looks good from a distance, but up close it’s obvious that it’s what the quilting world calls a “cheater.”


(Printed “cheater” fabric cover and table drape by Quilted First-Call Covers)

Cheaters have never caught on in the mainstream quilting world because they just don’t convey the same warmth and quality that a pieced quilt does.  We tried cheaters a few years ago.  And while we sold a few, the negative reactions far outweighed the financial benefits.

The problem was (and still is) that we are a primarily Internet- and catalog-based company.  People choose our products by picture, not in person.  This means that subtle details like “printed vs. pieced” are lost to the viewer.  So if someone chooses a quilted cover because they think it’s going to be a bunch of small pieces sewn together like grandma used to make, only to find out that the cheater fabric was printed in a Chinese factory, they’re going to be very upset.

In fact, one of the best selling points of our quilted covers is that all the quilts are made like real, old-fashioned quilts. 

Ron has also recently begun offering a 3-way table drape, as seen in the picture above.  This fabric drape can be used on a dressing table, embalming table or removal cot.  It’s quite nice, and mirrors the skirt offered by The Last Quilt Company (seen below).

 We haven’t yet decided to offer a dressing table skirt, as there’s a lot of fabric and time involved in making one.  We’d rather focus on a few other prototypes in the works, which are TOP SECRET!  So don’t even ask me about them, cause I’d have to lie right to your face!

Even with the changes to our competitors’ products, I still believe we make the finest quilted cot covers available anywhere!  And a whole bunch of supply companies also think that, because we currently wholesale our covers to eight different medium- and large-sized funeral suppliers.

If you’ve held off buying a quilted cot cover from us because of the cost, remember – we offer a full 90-day money back guarantee.  In fact, we’ll even pay to ship the cover back to us if you don’t think it’s worth the reasonable amount we charge.

Even better – because our product is so well made, we guarantee it for a FULL YEAR after purchase.  So if anything happens to it because of a defect, we’ll replace it for you, at no cost to you!

We’ve got the best warranty, the best money-back guarantee, the best customer service and the best product available.  No wonder we’re number one!

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Leading up to the NFDA convention, we had several options for advertising our booth.

 We finally chose the convention issue of Funeral Business Advisor.  What helped me make that decision?

Besides the great feedback and participation that the publisher, Michael Manley, has offered to Final Embrace, I was also impressed by the reviews of several funeral directors (they love FBA) and the unpaid, unsolicited endorsement of several of their previous advertisers.

When I interviewed Greg of 24 Karat Rose, I asked him if he read FBA.  He told me that he actually advertised in the magazine, and that it was the best industry ad they’d ever run.  The phone actually rang after the ad was placed and he sold a slew of product.

In fact, he told me that he was so used to ads costing more money than they generated that he was surprised when the ad broke the trend.

So I spent a few bucks and got our product into the NFDA Convention Product Showcase in the latest issue of Funeral Business Advisor.  It’s a good thing I did; both of our competitors, Quilted First-Call Covers and The Last Quilt Company are also featured.

Click here to see our product (and a bunch of other great products) showcased in the pages of Funeral Business Advisor.

I had a fascinating phone call last week.  A man called asking if we made quilted mortuary cot covers that resembled the U.S. flag.

At first I was taken back.  “Of course we don’t,” was all I could manage, my shock at the question keeping me from saying exactly why. 

Now, I knew about the basic provision that a flag should not be used to make a piece of clothing or drapery, but I couldn’t tell him exactly where I’d heard that or how that fit into the heartfelt reason that I refuse to turn a flag, or red/blue/white fabrics that can be cut and shaped into a flag, into a quilted cot cover.

He didn’t want to hear about the beautiful “Old Glory” cover that we make, so I told him that our competitor, Quilted First-Call Covers, makes one that ‘looks’ like a flag, even thought it doesn’t have a full complement of stars and less than the regular 13 stripes.  Here’s a picture of it:

 

But I was still bothered by the question, so I did some research.

The U.S. Flag Code, adopted as law on December 22, 1942, lays out the manner in which a flag should be displayed, honored and destroyed.

Features that I find most telling or the following provisions:

  • (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
  • (e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
  • (g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
  • (h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • (j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
  • And while the Flag Code does not provide for penalty (further proof of our respect for free speech) it does give everyone who uses, sees or flies a U.S. flag guidelines to properly honor not only the flag, but what it stands for.

    In the Civil War, the flag bearer held an important position.  Not only was his job to keep the banner flying for pride and honor, but the other troops used the flag as a signal and a bearing point when giving and carrying out orders.  In fact, opposing sides often dedicated sharpshooters to kill the flagbearer.

    “Dying for the flag” isn’t just a metaphorical phrase; it really happened.

    Furthermore, the very people my caller wants to honor with either a real flag or a close approximation, are the ones who will know the proper way to treat the U.S. Flag. 

    And I doubt they’d cut it up and make a cot cover out of it.  Especially if it’s to be used on their own removal.

    And while no one will stop my competitor from making a cover that looks a whole lot like a U.S. flag, our company will NEVER make a cover like that.

    We’ve just signed the contract and, more importantly, paid a BIG CHUNK OF CASH to the NFDA to exhibit at the national convention in Las Vegas, October 7-10.

     I’m excited and nervous.

    Excited because this is our chance to sell our great product on a national stage!  Our main competitor, Ron of Quilted First-Call Covers, has gone the last three years.  Common sense says he wouldn’t keep going if the $2000 booth didn’t pay for itself.

    But I’m also nervous, because we’re already running near our current capacity.  Even with four part-time employees, I’m going to have to start adding some folks if we hope to meet all the demand.

    I’m confident there will be demand, because our product is so much better than the competition, which includes:

    Standard, fake fur covers.  These are those ugly puppet-fur covers that are available in red, green and blue and are sometimes embroidered with a funeral home name on the side.  If they’re lined, it’s with brittle or hard vinyl.  If they’re not lined, you’ve got a germ warehouse in your funeral home.

    Cordura or plain covers.  These are sold by the cot makers.  Besides being unattractive, lined with vinyl and too heavy, they’re also INSANELY expensive.  Ferno charges almost $400 for a slip-over style plain cover for the 24-Maxx cot.

    Cot Quilts.  These are made by Marty at The Last Quilt Company.  They are beautiful, but they’re not fitted or lined.  Funeral directors I’ve talked with say they fall off the cot very easily.  Oh, and they’re a lot more expensive than our superior covers.

    Quilted First-Call Covers.  Ron has a great design, but his product suffers from two BIG problems:  they’re sold unlined (a lining costs $50 extra) and most of the patterns are light colors.

    Homemade covers.  Some folks make their own.  Unfortunately, they don’t have ready access to the great FluidBlocker lining fabric we use.  They also suffer because we’ve made thousands of these covers and we’ve perfected the design and manufacture.  And by the time you pay a seamstress to make it for you, you’ve got almost as much invested as any of my clients.

    So why am I nervous?  Because this is our first time on the national stage.  Because the suits from many of industry chains will be there.  Because we’re being seen by other vendors for the first time.

    Because sometimes success is as frightening as failure.  Imagine it all unfolds exactly the way I’ve dreamed it.  While that would be nice, I dream big!  What if it’s all too big for our little company?

    Wish us luck out on the tightrope!

     

    This ad was posted on FuneralNet.com.  (Completely unrelated – I LOVE FuneralNet!)

    QFFC Ad June 2007

    Our competitor, Ron of Quilted First-Call Covers, has finally figured out that nylon, like the stuff we use in our FluidBlocker™ lining, is better than vinyl.  (Read the last line of his ad above.)

    See, Ronald started selling quilted first-call covers without lining.  He charges $150 for an unlined basic cover.  Now, if you still want protection for the fabric, he’ll sell you a clear vinyl lining that attaches with hook and loop tape.  You and I would call that Velcro, but I don’t know if he actually uses the brand “Velcro” so I can’t call it that without risking legal action.

    Oh, and the vinyl lining costs $50 more.  So a simple lined cover from him will set you back $200.  (Hint:  that’s $25 more than the $175 we currently charge for one with the liner sewn in so you don’t have to reattach it when it comes loose.)

    Problem was (and still is), vinyl is not the best material.  We figured that out early, which is why we switched to more expensive but more durable FluidBlocker™ lining.

    Someone asked me why I would switch to a more expensive lining that would make the covers last longer.  He said, “Don’t you want your customers to reorder often?” 

    Of course I do.  But I also want to provide value to my customers.  There are 22,000 funeral homes in the U.S. alone.  I can afford to offer a product that will last YEARS because I know there are many more people who will be recommended to me because the product provides value and is durable.

    Our FluidBlocker™ is made from non-porous treated nylon.  This stuff is 100% waterproof!  And it’s rugged.  Originally designed for mountain climbing gear, it withstands extreme cold and extreme heat.

    Imagine leaving a huge piece of vinyl in a removal vehicle and letting the summer sun cook it.  Uh-Oh!

    Or, you unfold a vinyl-lined cover in 30-degree weather, only to have it crack and make all kinds of awful noises.

    Even worse, vinyl-lined covers still require washing every few months.  So while it might be fine in the wash, it’ll fall apart in the dryer because of the heat.

    Luckily, FluidBlocker™ lining is washer and dryer safe.  GUARANTEED!

    washabledryable.jpg

    So I’m glad that Ron’s begun offering nylon lining.  It’ll make his covers better.  In turn, it’ll make his customers happier.  They’ll tell other funeral directors to buy a quilted cover and before you know it, both Ron and I are making tons of money, selling his good product and my great product (Yeah, I can’t help being partial to my great covers!) and replacing all the unattractive, non-lined cot covers that are currently industry standard.

    Welcome to the party, Ron.  It’s still early, so stick around while we change some history.