All About Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Robert Kaufman Fabrics began as the dream of Russian immigrant Robert Kaufman, when he settled in New York and became proprietor of a very successful menswear company named Meadowpark Clothes. Unfortunately, after the stock market crash of 1929, he experienced the demise of his company. Robert continued to persevere, and in 1942, from a showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York City, he set in motion the company that exists today.
For years, the company served as a jobber for men’s suits, first as a fixture in the New York garment industry, then as Robert and his family relocated to Los Angeles, they expanded the business into a thriving retail fabric store. In the early 1950s, Robert was joined in the business by his sons Saul and Alvin. With the creation of a fabric named “Windjammer,” Saul and Alvin began to move the company away from Jobber to Fabric Converter. “Windjammer,” a rayon/cotton linen, became a hit with major department stores throughout the country. Following “Windjammer,” Saul and Alvin introduced a line of velvets, plaids, and seersuckers as well as a program of printed chiffons and satins imported from Japan. Harvey, the youngest of the brothers, joined the company in 1963 and established a nationwide sales force. They continued to expand their line of fabrics, and in the mid 1970s, 100% cotton prints were introduced to the line as well.
As the business evolved into the 1980s, the existence of fashion fabric retailers was dwindling and this shift in the retail fabric market pushed Robert Kaufman to focus on the quickly emerging quilting industry. Although a new market for the company, the transition was effective due to the expansion of Kona® Cotton Solids and the unique talents of their very first signature artists Debra Lunn and Michael Mrowka. With the further addition of Jennifer Sampou, Robert Kaufman was catapulted into the quilting mainstream.
Today, Robert Kaufman operates an extensive in-house design studio, generating roughly 3000 new SKUs each year through quarterly releases. In addition, Kaufman has the biggest offering of in-stock basics, including proven brands such as Essex, Kona® Cotton Solids, Quilter’s Linen, and Artisan Batiks: Prisma Dyes, to name a few. Robert Kaufman also boasts a variety of designer collections, including collections by Ann Kelle, Lunn Studios, Jennifer Sampou, Carolyn Friedlander Elizabeth Hartman, Jill Shaulis, Julie Letvin, and many more, as well as in-house brands Flowerhouse, headed up by Debbie Beaves, and Wishwell, led by Senior Stylists Linda Fitch and Vanessa Lillrose.
Though Saul passed away in 2011, and Alvin in 2021, Harvey is still lovingly involved in the business their father began more than eighty years ago. Robert Kaufman Company continues the family tradition into the third generation with sons Joe, Steve, Ken, Ron, and son-in-law Eric now heading up the company’s management. Robert Kaufman employees have become part of the Kaufman family, as well. Many have even played an integral part in the company for over thirty years.