Terial Magic – Terry McFeely

 

Terry McFeely 2017 International Quilt Festival, Chicago

Terry McFeely
2017 International Quilt Festival, Chicago

My name is Terry McFeely, fifth generation native Californian owner of Terial Arts. I am married to a wonderful man who is very supportive without ever telling me how to run my business. We live in a small Northern California gold rush town and we have one daughter, a son-in-law and two granddaughters. Our home (designed by our daughter) was custom built in 2005 to include a large studio and an embroidery/sewing room. It is on five acres of fir, pine and madrone trees complete with lots of wild life and hiking trails.

Throughout my childhood and young adult life I always loved art, drawing, sewing and anything DIY. I am a creative and have always designed things in my head to make them better or easier to construct. I crave nature; its colors, flowers and creatures. My medium for art has always been fabric. I started my career path in engineering design and drafting but always loved sewing clothing, quilts and home décor.

In the late 1990’s I started the Sausalito Bag Company where I designed, manufactured and sold tapestry handbags and backpacks. This is where I learned my own limitations for success when it came to marketing and product promotion. I went back to fashion school in 2003 to better grasp the business and marketing side of being a successful design entrepreneur. I ended up going back to engineering work after fashion school.

The fabric orchid that launched Terial Magic.

The fabric orchid that launched Terial Magic.

In 2010 my daughter was getting married and wanted fabric flowers in her wedding décor. One of the many fabric flower projects that I designed (and made) was fabric orchid napkin pins. They were beautiful and people raved about them. Many said I should make larger flowers, even DIY patterns. The problem was that these flowers had to be small because of the limpness of fabric and the fraying. I went into the market place to try and find something that might work, I tried stabilizers, fusibles, stiffeners, starch, anything I thought might work, but nothing produced the result I desired.

I wanted to play with fabric the same way I play with paper. So, I set out to create a product that kept fabric from fraying while giving it a firmer hand.

My first concern was that the product had to be natural. I did not want to use any polycarbonates or chemicals because they could be harmful, especially if heated or ironed. It took several months of research and ordering many different compounds to finally stumble onto something that worked. I was beside myself with happiness, but then, this compound turned my fabrics brown. I had to do more research and find out how to have it bleached . . . I then had a chemist friend help me with other components to keep it in solution and from spoiling.

Terial Magic Fabric Stabilizer

Terial Magic Fabric Stabilizer

The name Terial Magic comes from the word material. I felt the product was, material magic, but that is not a name I could trademark. So I took the “ma” out of material and got terial, which also has my name in it, not the correct spelling, but still teri!

Once I had a product that worked, I designed flower patterns by actually taking real flowers apart and creating realistic, easy to make flowers from treated fabric. This took a lot of time and illustrations because I wanted the end user to be 100% successful. I even had floral wire special made so that you could tell the different gauges apart by the wire colors. We launched at the end of 2012 and were very fortunate when E.E. Schenck, a fabric and notion distributor, picked Terial Arts up and debuted us in their booth at Fall Quilt Market in Houston in 2012.

Terial Magic in three steps.

Terial Magic in three steps.

The following year, 2013, I had my own booth at Fall Market. I met with other distributors and had several machine companies try embroidery, using just Terial Magic treated fabric, no other stabilizer. Some just stared at me in disbelief, and other educators went for it. They started with simple open designs and when I came back by to see them, I would say, try a dense design, and so they did with great success! I also took a sample of treated fabric to an electronic cutting machine booth; again they also had great success. Terial Magic washes completely out if desired and bugs won’t eat it like starch if left in.

The process of taking a new, never before made, product to market had its challenges. It had no competition which was good, but it also did not have anything to compare it with, which was hard. The customer had to be educated plus excited enough to actually try it once they got it home. I still get customers visiting me at shows who say they still have not used the bottle they bought last year. I feel we all gravitate to what we know, and back away from trying anything new, that might take extra time to learn. But once people do try it, they come back praising it, and buy it by the gallon!

Terial Magic started out as a fabric stabilizer for 3D fabric art but it is now used for: pucker free machine embroidery, crisp, fray free die and electronic cutting, no stretch t-shirt quilting, perfect appliqué and thread painting, better and easier inkjet and laser printing, 3D fiber art, and stress free garment sewing on shifty silks or rayon, to name a few, without the use of any other stabilizer.

Terial Arts did its first craft show January 2016. It was only in a half booth, but I wanted to show how all paper crafts could be done with Terial Magic treated fabric. Stamping, scrapbooking, fabric painting and more die cutting. I met so many wonderful people and companies, and one in particular, Imagination International Inc. The owner saw the potential in this new product that made fabric paper-like, and asked if I would be interested in licensing it so that they could help take it worldwide. Since March 2016 Terial Arts has been with Imagination International, who now manufactures Terial Magic and does all sales and marketing. Shows have increased as have sales! We recently did a show in Frankfurt Germany, which was amazing and, yes, we are growing worldwide!

Terry with Brand Manager, Laurie Chamberlin.

Terry with Brand Manager, Laurie Chamberlin.

I still own Terial Arts and am the face of the company, though I now have much-needed help, even a Brand Manager, Laurie Chamberlin, who is my marketing master! This allows me time to do what I love, designing or creating fun projects for blogs or to share in classes or at shows. My main concern has always been for people using Terial Arts products to be successful and genuinely happy with their results. I will continue to test and try all the many uses people are finding for Terial Magic. It has been an amazing journey so far, and because it is my passion, it has seldom felt like work. If you decide to follow a dream, be sure it is your passion.

 

Terial Magic is revolutionizing the fabric arts industry.

www.terialarts.com
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgYHJ8Do1tw

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