Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Am An Addict

CJ over at Created By CJ  had an interesting post about the costs of fabric and where the industry is headed and the responses posted had me thinking.  Check out her blog.

I don't think quilters will ever stop quilting or stop paying for good quality fabric.  We are addicts and nothing will change that.  We may slow down but we can't stop.  It's not in our nature.  Fabric/notions call to us.  Most of us can find a quilt store in any town just by scent.

I do think LQS will have change how they do business.  They have to compete with the internet and with the decrease in some spending.  You now have to "sell" your fabric and notions you buy instead of letting sit on the shelf for years.  One of LQS has fabric that I bought 8 years ago and still hasn't moved off of the shelf.

Here's what I would like to see in LQS:

1.  The ability for you to order supplies for me if you can't carry them and not wait 3 weeks for when you put your large order in.  As much I want to support your store, I need that item in a couple of days.  I'll pay for my shipping/handling and guard your store until it gets here.

2.  I know it takes time to cut up kits, but they are a lifesaver to people.  If I can grab it and go, even better for some projects.  It's a great way to sell books, speciality notions and your fabric.  I don't have a problem buying the book/specific notion if you have a kit to go with it.  Having a set of rulers that I have no clue how to use hanging up will just sit there forever unless you have a project ready to go with them.

3.  Please have lots of notions and not just the fad ones.  I don't care about an XYZ celebrity notion. I also don't want cheap pins/scissors/needles that don't work.  I'll pay for quality.  If I want cheap, I'll go to a Hobby Lobby type place.  So many stores don't have a variety of thread, needles, scissors, and other notions that are necessary. I hate having to order something simple like needles via the internet because a local store doesn't carry it.

4.  Show how something works.  If you have a fad notion that is actually worth it, show me how it works.  Have one on hand for demo purposes.  If I know you are willing to teach me, that beats an internet deal anytime.

5.  Classes for more experienced quilters.  I haven't taken a class in eons because I can do most of the simple things.  I see more classes for experienced via all of your blogs then I've ever seen in a store.  I recognize space is a premium, but if we can do mystery quilts and other sew-ins via the net, surely a store could do something similar.

6.  I despise BOM quilts.  If you can sell me the entire pattern, I'll buy all my fabric right then and there.  I'm not about to pay 20 bucks a month for 12 mos.  The only BOM I'm looking forward too is "Fiesta"   by Fat Cat Patterns.  I'd still rather buy the pattern up front despite it being free every month.  I'm going to go bonkers waiting each month.

7.  Order Matchbox car plastic cases.  You won't be able to keep them in stock if you can do it under 10 bucks.
There are other things, but those are basics.

I am a quilt addict.  There is no hope for me and I know it.  I may slow down my spending, but I can't resist the perfect kit and the bread/butter notions I need.  I don't want any LQS to go out of business, but if everything I need is online via another quilt store/warehouse, that's where I go.


Happy Cottage Quilter said...

We actually have NO LQS in my town. The only one we had only catered to batiks, and more of the modern fabrics. I know they are the craze right now, but that is not what all quilters want. She also had fabric there for eons and did not have many sales. At $10 a yard, I don't know many people who can buy backing and larger cuts at that price. She ended up closing her shop without notice. Doors closed........gone! What do you use the Matchbox car plastic cases for??

onlymehere said...

I have to feel my fabric before I purchase it so I never buy fabric online unless it's Moda, and I've only done that once. I agree about teaching you how to use a new ruler, notion, etc. and I too hate BOMs! I want to sew it at my own leisure when I'm in the mood and not have to wait a whole year. In my area at least there'll always be plenty of fabric stores. I don't worry much about them closing up shop bz the demand is too high. They've survived the superstores and continue to thrive.

Barb said...

My name is Barb and I am an addict...and soooo glad you mentioned the BOM at Fat Cat patterns...can't wait to do that one...hope I remember....

SewCalGal said...

Excellent "Sew-Biz" article that every quilt shop owner should read and seriously consider. I agree with you 100%.


Anonymous said...

There are realistic limitations on how fast a shop _can_ order things for you to have.

Generally it takes at least four to six days to put in the order, get the distributor to receive, pack and ship the order and the delivery company (generally UPS) to deliver it to the store (no deliveries on weekends).

And, almost always, if the store does not meet the distributor's minimum order amount (i.e., doesn't wait to place their big order), the store will have to pay the shipping as well - which, nowadays, is running an additional 10% to 15% above the wholesale cost of the item.

Are you willing to pay for that extra shipping cost when you buy the item ... or do you expect the shop, which has very kindly catered to your desire for a speedy delivery, to pay for it on your behalf and just fold the cost of that into the rest of their 'profit'?

Since the real 'profit' margin on most goods is about 5-10%, tops, that means the store is doing you a favor AND paying for the privilege in addition.

As the owner of a quilt shop, I wish more of my customers could stand in my shoes or those of my staff for a week or two - they'd be a lot less likely to think we are 'making a killing' or being contrary to them!

BTW, my shop DOES do special orders for our customers and have for many, many years.

Not being critical of your desire to get things quickly - just pointing out that there is more than one side to this story.


Jackie said...

I have to ask what the Matchbox case is for.

I agree with you that local quilt shops need to realize that they're loosing business to online stores and that there are things they can do to get me to shop there instead.

West Michigan Quilter said...

I agree with what you say. I know Chris, the owner of our LQS tries to have sales to make room for new product. It isn't always easy though with the price of fabric going sky high and we have to compete with JoAnn's prices. I like your thoughts on classes. Thanks for the news of the new BOM. I love it and can't wait for it to start.

Chatterbox Quilts said...

I agree with your comments. Reality is that LQS have to realize that the internet - and shopping on the internet - is here to stay and adjust their policies and prices accordingly. Here in Canada it is even worse as I can order fabric on-line for $8 - $9/yard, whereas the average price in the LQS is $15 - $16/meter (3" more). I do appreciate the customer service that I receive at the LQS (we have several in town), but if they don't have the selection and I can find something and buy it on-line cheaper, even with the shipping and handling, what's an addict to do? :)