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October 2015

September 2015

For The Love...Of All Quilt Shops.

Seeew...

Quilt World is going through a transformation and nearly every brick and mortar quilt shop knows exactly what I'm talking about. The trouble is...many are afraid to speak up on the matter. I however.... always speak up. If you don't - others will do it for you.  The matter, dear Quilters is the continual undercutting of quilt shops by those "on-line only" websites. Before I get too into this topic, I am not referring to on-line only websites that sell products at the MSRP, nor am I talking about discounting of older products. I'm talking about the on-line sites discounting new products before these products even have the chance to arrive on the shelves of your local brick-and-mortar.  Most often, these "on-line only websites" are being run out of home offices, garages, attics, basements, off-site small warehouses etc. Sometimes as a secondary business and sometimes to obtain wholesale pricing to support their quilting hobby - always a bonus for those paying for spaces to inspire you and create jobs. To be fair, not every on-line only website undercuts quilt shops but there are many that do.  Discounting is the primary way they get noticed, but what beyond that is offered? Are you willing to pass up exceptional in-store service and inspiring displays...for a discount? I've been to places that offer excessive discounting...trust me, service and "inspiration" isn't the top priority. You're lucky if you even get a hello.

I can't tell you how many times I've had this conversation with people visiting the Shoppe when they talk about how so many quilt shops have closed in their area. I then ask them, "Well, did you support the shop? Did you visit often? Did you get to know the owner and let them know what you like?" 

GASP! I can literally hear the clutching of the pearls as I say this...

Nobody wants to really have a conversation about it.  

The reality is, if you do not shop local, if you do not support brick-and-mortars, they either will start changing their business model, or they will simply go elsewhere.

Your local brick and mortars, whether they be quilt shops or whether they be some other form of small business - pay for not just the space, but for the endless creativity it takes to inspire you including the quilt samples. The employees that help you as you need them - are also not free.  I could go on and on and on but I think you get the idea. In today's on-line obsessed world, I welcome new brick-and-mortar businesses. To me it shows they are willing to to come out from hiding behind the computer, serve the people and create jobs. There is a personal connection that you will never receive on-line. Like...ever.

On average you will probably pay $5 for shipping seeew even when you are getting 25% off $10.99 to $11.99 fabric...that's $8.24 to $8.99. Add the $5 shipping and you're at $13 to $14. No matter if you are purchasing 1yd or 5yds, when you add it up, wouldn't it be better to shop your local quilt shop? Sale fabric below $5 and that store is taking a loss. Based on that small example, even our regular price here beats a sale price with shipping. Don't misunderstand...there is nothing wrong with discounts. The problem comes in when folks visit quilt shops to "look at the fabric" or call me to ask product information with the goal of ordering on-line for a discount....elsewhere. Oh yes...I've had people tell me that on the phone. I've even witnessed people writing vendor information from our bolts to order on-line. I'm here to provide complete service, I'm not here to simply give service...awayDidn't know we were opening our doors to be a showroom for the internet. Normally I would shrug it off and not say anything, but it's been happening all too frequently for me to remain quiet.

In the  conversations I've had with some of our customers, they told me they shop on-line because their local quilt shop..."didn't really have what they liked." Well, why not get to know the owner? Show interest in their shop regularly and I guarantee your LQS will start listening to what you like. I can tell you from experience that the most vocal employee is not the owner. The owner is often the more quiet one or the one buried in work. If the owners seem hesitant, maybe past history is an indication. Just as an example: People used to ask us to order patterns, we then would order the pattern and call them only to receive this response: "Oh I found it on-line." And therein lies your answer when people ask me, "Why don't you carry...." etc.

I can't speak for everyone, but Quilt Shop owners have to see activity...we can all say we want something, but actions always speak louder than words. If that particular owner isn't able to bring your favorite fabric in, do they have classes you can take? What about their notions? Love us some amazing new notions! I'm sure we all could use a new pattern to break up our stashes! Don't we? There is usually more than one shop in an area - perhaps if your first choice didn't  have what you need, maybe your other options will? One shop cannot carry it all, but at least you are supporting your local brick and mortars.

The point is, your support stays local when you shop local. Businesses grow and the community thrives when you shop local. If you have to shop on-line, learn the differences. I figure that brick-and-mortars with on-line websites are wonderful because you can always go in and visit them if you have a question or want to shop the product...and by that I mean..actually purchase it from the shop. They are the ones doing the work, right? Would you want to do your job, but then have your paycheck go to someone else that didn't?   

I keep telling people that one day we are all going to look up from our phones and there's going to be nothing to do. We will...indeed...have ghosttowns. SERIOUSLY. When I was growing up, historic towns like ours were filled with local shops. Now today, more and more are becoming filled with bars, restaurants, insurance offices, spas, nail salons, hair salons, accountants, etc. Not very exciting if you ask me.  My advice...get out, engage, stay active...be seeew-cial. Thankfully...many of you have and we greatly appreciate it. 

Just remember...when the world gets cold, a quilt will be your cover. If you don't love your LQS, who will? 

Stay seeew-cial! ~ Brian


Seeew Much Seeew-cial-ness Going On!

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Before I get too in depth, let's open up this blog post with something special. As many of you know we began our first Farm Girl Vintage B.O.M. last month. I might add that this is our very first B.O.M in the age of on-line. Now...I can sit here and tell you all what an amazing job Jan (my "Mothership") has done in producing a quality product, but I think it is more important to hear it from the minds of our customers. A few weeks ago we received this email from "Carrolyn" who is participating in the on-line portion of our B.O.M:

"I am blown away by the quality of this BOM.  The instructions etc. are excellent.  Such care, even in the packaging of the blocks.  I am so impressed. My daughter and family live in Beaverton and I often visit (at least once a month) and always get to see your shop.  It has become my favorite shop of all......and continues to excel in every way.  It takes a lot to impress me......and you have.  Kudos to all there." 

Awww Carrolyn, you definitely have inspired Jan & Christine to keep going! P.S. Here's a little wave back at you and the rest of our on-line participants from our Thursday night group! Look at how precious they all are! Happy Quilters spreadin' the Farm Girl love!

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And here's our Saturday Farm Girl Group...I told them to "get crazy" and they definitely did! LOL. L-O-V-E it. Gee...I wonder how much I can get them to do? What can I say? We have two very fun groups of quilters! I relish fun, happy, smiling, hilarious quilters.

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The next four blocks will be heading your way shortly! If you are in our Farm Girl Vintage Block of the Month, Jan has uploaded some quick videos on the Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe YouTube Channel of the various tools we showcased in the in-store meetings to help you. She's even included a Farm Girl Vintage Tool Pack in the Notions section of our website. We can't say enough about the Bloc Loc and the Steady Betty! Everyone should have these tools...especially Steady Betty just because I like the name. "Ohhhh that Betty, she's always steady". "Hey Betty, you wanna go steady?" LOL.  The Steady Betty will insist that you press instead of iron. It truly is the best thing ever. We like Betty in the 12" x 12" for Farm Girl Vintage. 

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BTW, you may have noticed a variety of different fabric manufacturers appearing in the Shoppe such as Riley Blake Designs, Lakehouse and these adorable Flower Sugar coordinates (below). Aren't they adorable? I'm sure we can find many uses for these as we travel through Farm Girl Vintage.

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As I said at the beginning...there is a lot of seeew-cial-ness going on around the Shoppe.

Personally, I'm glad Summer is over. I'm not a fan of warm weather.  People don't come out because it's "too hot" and everyone is on vacation. If I heard, "It's too hot for quilting" one more time, I was going to shut the doors, lock up and say, "See ya in the fall." LOL. THANKFULLY we saw lots of you despite the heat and THANKFULLY, the "Mothership" had a line up of three talented designers to help you create!  

First up (below) was the American Jane Workshop with the fabulous Sandy Klop! Sandy was here to teach her Sky Diamonds Quilt and trust me when I say they all appreciated her guidance in constructing those blocks.  I didn't get my yearly picture with Sandy, seeew instead we have Elaine and Cynthia! Not only have each of them been longtime customers, but they are very consistent with attendance at our workshops.  Elaine even brought her version of Sandy's "Oh, My Stars" pattern. Isn't it gorge? Sandy's next collection is called "Lorraine" which just happens to be the name of my late grandmother seeew to me it's already very special! The collection can be seen in the last two quilts in the picture below. 

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If there is one thing I know for sure it is that the "Mothership" always goes above and beyond when it comes to our workshop experiences. Even with just a basic afternoon table runner class  - she had appetizers ready for those attending the Antler Quilt Design Workshop with Doug Leko! Did you know Doug started quilting at just six years old and then at 14 created Antler Quilt Design? That's impressive!

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In addition to his two classes, Doug brought his latest trunk show featuring quilts from his all new book, "Winter's Songto share at our monthly Breakfast Club. We kept the boy busy! The book is definitely one to add to your collection as it contains lots of projects - from runners to quilts! It's one of those books in which you will want to make every project and has a great price! I will add that he is the best at creating patterns to use those Holly Taylor panels! 

Last but not least we were lucky to have the talented Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts teach two different projects in her popular vintage Halloween color palette, Navajo Stars & Spools Quartet. 

In case you don't know who she is...that's her right below in the figgy orange sweater. The one everbody is looking at. All eyes on Joanna. 

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As you can see in the photos above, we made the Navajo Stars Quilt in two different styles. One is the four star Halloween version and the other is the nine star version made with Joanna's Somerset collection. We do have complete kits for the nine star version here if you are interested. C'mon you know you wanna. If anything you'll get plenty of that popular green fabric that is practically non-existant these days. 

Before I forget...those watermelon lemonades were to die for. Not kidding. It was like sending my tastebuds to the moon- that's how delicious they were. Of course, whenever Joanna comes to town, she likes French food seeew we took her to La Provence in Lake Oswego where I had the most amazing salad...

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Oops! I just became one of those "foodie" people who photograph every meal they eat. Sorry!  

PHEW! Now that I can breathe and reflect, we were BUSY! 

Coming up next is our Wool N' Harvest Workshop with Kathy Cardiff of the Cottage at Cardiff Farms! Have you met her yet? Sweet, sweet, gal and her designs are beautiful! I've got ears that can hear through walls (minus the drinking glass) and from what I've heard the "Mothership" discussing with Kathy, they've got a beautiful sophisticated set of fall projects planned!

I'm just looking forward to the food.

Seriously. Priscilla Queen of the Dessert dropped by the other day to discuss her spread.

Let's just say I'm going to the gym relentlessly until October 3.

Oh and just in case you can't remember what day the workshop is, you can always ask Aaron Samuels....

 

LOL. 

Alright, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I have caught up with everything we've been doing (or at least I think I have.). That's it for today, but there is always more to share! Seeew stay tuned and stay seeew-cial! ~ Brian