History: 20 Years of Superior Milestone

It's been 20 years since Superior Threads began. April 29, 1998 to be exact. But the Superior story started before that. After many years living and working in Japan, Bob and Heather Purcell were living in Honolulu in 1993 when Heather signed up for a class to learn about quilting. A talent was nourished and a passion uncovered. A few years later after a move to St. George, Utah, Heather found a local quilt shop and took another class. One class lead to another and before long she was asked to work at the quilt shop. In 1997, Heather recognized the need for more quality threads in more varieties. Bob returned to Japan and met with five thread manufacturers. Having lived in Japan for 10 years, finding contacts and communicating were no problem.

Superior Threads was officially established April 29, 1998. We started working in our basement, them moved into a large garage, and then added on to the garage. In 2006 we designed and built an office and warehouse building and three years later, built another and tripled the size.

Superior Threads Office

Superior's first product was Superior Metallic. The manufacturer had been supplying high grade metallic thread to the kimono industry for many years. If the thread is good enough for a $30,000 kimono, it should be good enough for quilters and embroiderers. Heather chose the first few colors and later expanded the range to 25. As quilters and embroiderers discovered a metallic thread that didn't break, word spread quickly. At our first quilt shows, the only product we offered was Superior Metallic thread.

colors of metallic thread

Our goal was to offer new and unique threads -- something no one else had. The quality had to be so high that we could unconditionally guarantee every spool of thread we sold. Our products are labelled in sequence as we developed them. Metallic thread was 101, Glitter hologram thread was 102, and so on. Our third product was Halo, a decorative variegated serger thread. Next was Polyarn, the first "woolly-like" polyester serger thread, followed by NiteLite (glow-in-the-dark thread), Vanish (water soluble thread), and prewound bobbins. The first product that really made a big splash was Perfect Quilter, a high grade cotton thread. We asked our manufacturer to produce 36 colors, 30 of which were to be variegated.

In 1999 or 2000, variegated colors were rare. If a company had a line of 40 colors, perhaps only two or three were variegated. Introducing a line of cotton quilting thread, mostly in variegated colors was rather bold. Quilters loved the idea and Perfect Quilter was a very popular product. Looking back, we went in a wrong direction due to lack of experience. First, Perfect Quilter was a 30 wt. thread, which is heavier than standard 40 wt. quilting threads; and second, we wound it on mini cones rather than standard home-machine spools. We corrected both of those matters when we developed King Tut.

King Tut Quilting Thread

Our 10th product was another very popular product, Rainbows. It was the first variegated thread on the market with precision-dyed one-inch color change intervals. Even a competitor commented when he saw it, "Wow! You really have something there!" Rainbows has been very popular over the years. We are now replacing it with Fantastico because a stronger version of Rainbows high-sheen thread was finally developed. Our next product will be numbered 151, which means our 51st product or thread line. We continue to work on improving existing products, developing new products, adding new colors, and filling needs in the sewing industry.

It's been a wonderful journey for 20 years with many more yet to come. Many of our favorite memories are teaching thread seminars and working quilt shows and becoming friends with quilters. It is at the shows where we hear your stories, ideas and suggestions. Many of our products have been developed as a result of your recommendations.

Superior office staff
Superior warehouse staff

One of our company's mottoes has been Success = Quality x Education x Service. We have always believed that if we provide the highest quality products, offer excellent customer service, and if we teach all we know about thread and needles and machines and quilting, customers will come and stay. If we fail in any of those three areas, the result equals zero. In the office we often say, "We don't sell thread. We sell success." If we can help our customers achieve success in their work, we have fulfilled our goal.

With much thanks to you, it's a Happy Anniversary at Superior.

Bob and Heather Purcell

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