As we come to the end of our JOYful blog, I knew this series wouldn’t be complete without one special person. Our president, Mr. Mark Dunn!  🙂

This week I got the opportunity to visit with him about this wonderful company he built and
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.

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31 comments on “enJOY!

  1. Alicia says:

    Great story! I always ENJOY being around you folks and cherish those of you I’ve gotten to meet personally! Mark is top-o-the-line, he treats his customers that way, and of course the products are top-o-the-line as well! MODA is the BEST!

  2. Margaret says:

    A beautiful tribute.

  3. I love this story, you KNOW you have a great company when you see so many group pictures. This shows that everyone enjoys thier jobs and participates in activities. Thanks for sharing

  4. ga447 says:

    Thank you for sharing and thanks for Moda. I love the music that Neil Diamond did for Jonathan Living Seagull.

  5. SarahZ says:

    How fun! That really tops it all off!

  6. Mark
    Congrats on a wonderful, successful and fun company, it is a pleassure to be part of it. Your generosity to all the worthwhile causes is a testament to your continuing generous spirit. We will always be so thankful for your support of Semper Fi Injured Marine Fund!
    Polly Minick
    Minick & Simpson

  7. I’m so blessed to be apart of this great company, Thank you Mark Dunn for enjoying your job, it allow us to enjoy ours.

  8. SewCalGal says:

    Thanks for sharing. Absolutely heartwarming story. Inspirational what Mark and his team has accomplished. Way to go!

    Merry Christmas to the entire Moda team. And thank you for making our world of Quilting so wonderful.


  9. quiltmania says:

    This story definitely shows the true character of this gracious man. At quilt market he always takes the time to talk to anyone who approaches him. A great inspiration to us all!

  10. Janan says:

    Thanks for sharing this message of JOY!

  11. JudyCinNC says:

    Loved hearing the story of Moda and Mark – Very sorry however that you have chosen only Facebook participants in the giveaway. There are those of us our hear that would have loved the opportunity to participate. Judy C in NC

  12. Christine S says:

    Love this story! It’s nice to know the history of Moda for us newbies 🙂

  13. JudyCinNC says:

    Correction – “are those of us out here that would have loved the opportunity to participate …” Tks from Judy C

  14. Karen says:

    I am so disappointed that I can’t enter your amazing give away! I do not have a Facebook page, so I am sad to be excluded.

  15. Wow I never knew the story behind United Notions…….congrats Mark on a wonderful company……wishing your family and staff a wonderful Christmas…..

  16. Cecilia says:

    Mark’s story is very inspiring. Thank you for all that you do or the quilting industry. Merry Christmas!

  17. Loved reading all of the meanings of the word “joy”. Looking forward to reading the last one to come tomorrow. Wishing all who read this to think about all of the comments and “pay it forward”. May your life be filled with joy to last you a lifetime of giving back.

  18. Thanks for sharing Mark’s story! Love his philosophy and great spirit!

  19. Marianne says:

    Thanks so much for telling us about Mark. I’ve long wondered about the origins of Moda!

  20. Corrie says:

    It’s an incredible company with great people. A pleasure to work with. Inspiring!

  21. Rosa says:

    Great story and thanks for sharing it.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    I love this story, thank you for sharing!

  23. Faye says:

    This story hit home as I am a graduate from the NCSU School if Textile, in the 1970’s…. Mark has done extremely well with not not only his successful business, but his passion… A true success story I enjoyed reading!

  24. Such a beautiful story about a hand’s on man, who cares for his employees and appreciates the shop owners who really grow the business.
    Loved seeing the pictures of family, employees, and friends. Also love Moda fabrics!

  25. Emilou says:

    Hi Lisa, thanks for sharing the person behind the name MODA, Mr. Mark Dunn. This was wonderful. Blessings and smiles, Emilou 🙂

  26. So wonderful to read about the beginnings of this amazing company!

  27. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the Joy series. I’ve always been curious about the beginnings of Moda, and now I know.
    I also love the Collections for a Cause lines!

  28. KaHolly says:

    Thanks for sharing and giving us this insight!

  29. Karen Propes says:

    So nice to read about Mark, he has a beautiful family and a GREAT BIG HEART.

  30. Pat says:

    It’s wonderful to hear about Mark and his passion. I also thought it was great that he mentioned Pam Weiland as she was my Moda Rep and I became very fond of her. I’m so happy to have her daughter Stephanie as my rep now. Family to family and that’s what Mark believes in. Such a wonderful write up.

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