Fiberactive Organics’ founder and CEO, Julie Moore, has more than 20 years in the organic industry. This company and other businesses that she has built, stem from her drive and dedication to preserving and cleaning up the environment and doing business in a manner that supports the health and dignity of all people.
Ms Moore has lectured about her business model at Duke University’s School of Business, she has been featured in industry publications such as Green Business Quarterly and is a continuing member of the Organic Trade Association’s Fiber Council.
Below is her own casual statement about her life and career.
Almost the Life Story of
First, let’s get one thing straight, I never intended to be a business person, I’m an artist, and I’ve been telling people that since I was three years old. I have degrees in Illustration and Graphic Design with minors in biology and psychology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. I came into business ownership and management with a completely open, if not blank, mind. OK, that’s not totally true, I learned common sense business principles from working in, and eventually managing, my father’s dental office. And I supported myself in dental management into my 30s.
Eventually I stepped out of dentistry and worked in large corporations doing technical documents, graphic design and executive assitsance for a number of years; all the time working on my own fiber art pieces, mostly portrait quilts.
Eventually I began to combine my loves for illustration and quilting, I created a series of continuous line quilting designs I called Earthlines. These patterns, still sold around the world, are available through Linda’s Electric Quilters web site, www.lequilters.com. .
In 1993 I opened Fiberactive Organics. My business model was developed from my experiences in medical management, my own ethics, and a lot of creativity. My philosophy has always been, if you don’t know how to do something you do it the way you think it should be done. As it turns out, my way of conducting business was so unique and became so sucessful I’ve been asked to write papers, I’ve been featured in magazines, and I even guest lectured to business students at Duke University.
As a fiber artist, I taught quilting techniques in shops and symposia all across the country. My designs and I have been featured in international quilting publications and I’ve appeared in magazines and on television. Fiberactive’s organic products have been featured on the Today show, in magazines such as Natural Home, Textile Intelligence and QuiltMaker, Vogue Sewing, Better Homes and Gardens Decorating, Sew News and many more.
I am now a businesswoman, I’ve even been called a serial entrepreneur, but the standard business suit doesn’t fit me very well. My philosophy is Business Is Personal. I don’t think outside the box, in my world, there is no box. In building Fiberactive’s line of products I have let the market lead me; if a customer asked for a specific product, I would develop a whole line then introduce it to the rest of the world. One thing lead to another and I began to see where there were holes in the organic fiber industry, the biggest need I saw out there was for organic cotton sewing thread, so in 2007 I partnerned with YLI Corp to bring Fiberactive Natural into the world. Next we needed colored organic cotton thread, so in 2012 we partnered with Forbitex of Holland and now Fiberactive is the North American distributor of their Scanfil organic cotton thread.
Along with the thread, Jim Miller of YLI Corp developed a braided tape made on an antique braiding machine using 16 strands of Fiberactive Natural thread. The braid is about 1/4″ wide and my customers use it for all kinds of things – the Montagnard ladies and I love to knit with it! We’re now offering custom made, hand knitted shawls. I swing one around my shoulders on chilly days and they’re a natural for bridal wear. (Sorry for the pun, I couldn’t help myself)
OK, I said there is not box in my world, but there are lots of fabric vessels. I use a technique of wrapping cotton cording with strips of fabric to make cremation urns and even caskets. Yes, I said urns and caskets – as in natural burial products. I’ve always wanted to be wrapped in a quilt and laid in the ground someday, and I find that there are a whole lot of people that want that too. I started making urns in 2012, the Associated Press did a story on me and my urns in 2015 and since then I’ve beeg getting orders from around the world.
I launched Earth To Earth Burial in 2013 as a place to show and sell my burial and cremation fiber art. Since then I’ve seen cremation urns become a recognized art form with shows and competitions around the world. It has been my privilege to serve on the Guiding Board of Abundance NC’s very first Death Faire in Pittsoboro, North Carolina, an event that is probably the first of its kind in the world. People being able to talk about death and plan for the end of life is important to me. I’ve been asked to conduct funerals and make all kinds of burial products. It’s a joy to serve people in such a profound time of their lives.
This spring I finally launched Sewpure, a new brand of organic cotton thread in two weights; Tex 40, a multi-purpose thread that is stronger than our other threads and will expand on the color palette that Scanfil comes in, and Tex 70, a heavy-duty thread suitable for upholstery, jeans and other products that need durable sewing. Sewpure is finally on the shelf after a grueling year of development.
After Sewpure, what’s next? I have lots of ideas for filling gaps in what’s available in the organic thread and notions market. I take my direction from customer requests; if lots of people ask me for something, that makes it a product development priority.
For me personally, my artwork is and always will be my outlet, my sanctuary, my therapy; but, my business sustains me in ways that I never expected. It’s thrilling to see the products that are being made with our thread! I love helping young designers get started and seeing sustainable fashion and sustainable business become the norm in our society. I want to be a catalist for that, and that keeps me creating and moving forward every day.