I have to hand it to Taylor Swift. The girl knows how to get her message across. Nearly 300 million views in almost two weeks! What I love most about her, is she challenges the "tilted stage" straight up. Who knew I was such a "Swiftie?"
I happened to notice recently that Quilt World has a rather "tilted stage" when it comes to supporting local quilt shops. It appears we now are competing directly with designers selling their own fabrics. While they have been doing this for some time now, it just has me questioning seeew much. Maybe even too much for one blog post. It was already bad enough when designers started selling the patterns that they hoped shops would buy...but to now have to compete against them to sell fabric...really????
Why are designers selling their fabrics and/or other items?
Do they not realize that shops will decide not to purchase their collections and/or patterns when they do this?
It's a bit of a vicious equation: Customer follows designer, buys regular price from designer, but expects shops to have designer's fabric or patterns for when they suddenly decide to visit the shop. If shop has discontinued designer in the seven months since customer has last been in...customer then posts negative review about styles or quantity of fabric, shop now carries.
Because that makes sense, right? Way to support your local businesses!
Furthermore, do the manufacturers not pay them enough to design? Nothing annoys a store more than seeing a designer pre-selling their fabric collections BEFORE a shop even sees the collection.
When I brought this up to one of the leading manufacturers I was told they are committed to supporting local brick and mortar quilt shops.
Perhaps they don't know how they've over-saturated the market through Social Media so much that by the time the collection comes out we hear, "Oh I ordered that from <insert name of designer>" -or- "I've seen that already." We are not the only shop that feels this way. It's an industry wide feeling and I think it's high time shops start demanding an explanation.
If quilters want shops to visit so they can "touch and feel" the fabric, then they better be willing to support them. You can ask the many Californians who travel up this way every Summer and they all tell us that shops in California are vanishing. Granted some shop owners retire but many of them have to make the decision to close their doors because of the costs involved.
When I have talked about this previously someone always chimes in with.."It's cheaper on-line." Oh if I earned a dime for every time I've heard this fired back at me!
My question to them is..."What isn't cheaper on-line?"
You can practically find anything on the web for "cheap." By the time you pay shipping, you might as well have taken the time to shop your local quilt shop. The in-store quilting experience is not supposed to be "cheap." It's not supposed to be the instant gratification experience that the web provides. There is the cost of space, the cost of the employees to help you (including taxes on top of payroll), the cost to run your transaction on a credit card, the cost of samples to be made, the cost of a teacher to teach you, the cost associated with continuing to bring you new product. I could go on and on. Shops do not receive discounts on the product they bring to you. The MSRP is the "Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price." That MSRP ensures that costs are covered to operate and that the price is most of all a fair price for the value you are receiving.
The person sitting behind their Etsy account at home, or any "on-line only" source isn't interested in creating a physical space for you to visit. Some might have a dream to do it one day and good for them (good luck too honey) - but that's not the majority. In fact I was on Instagram the other day and shared a beautiful wool kit that we have made for Autumn. This individual wrote, "It's so cute. I just ordered it." When I didn't see their name appear I said, "I actually don't see an order from you." She wrote, "I ordered it from someone else on Etsy."
Oh I see. I get it.
We are good enough to follow for info, but we are not good enough to order from?
I have heard from some that young people don't want anything to do with quilting. I personally know that is not true but I will say it is always nice to see more. In fact, over the summer it was refreshing to see young people coming in with their grandma's and moms to participate in the Row by Row Junior. It gives me hope!
The truth is, a better future for all of us begins with us. There is a true value to all products and services. When we devalue everything, what's left? I question my own friends who brag about how they ordered food from Amazon. LOL. Are people really that lazy they can't get up and go to the grocery store? I take every opportunity to let them know how they have just worked towards killing off starter jobs for their children, or their nieces and nephews. It's just one example out of many, but many entry level jobs - those jobs where young people spend their summer learning job skills between school - are being snuffed out by the internet and Social Media. Are you comfortable knowing that the automation of thousands of jobs will be the future? Are you comfortable with the "discount culture" that has been created? Worse however....are you comfortable knowing that automation will close all of your favorite quilt shops? This is your wake up call.
Seeew...what do you think? If you're a shop owner, feel free to share your thoughts below! If you're a customer, what say you? Keep in mind if you want to post a comment, please have more to say than just "the fabric is cheaper on-line" because that honestly just isn't news in 2017.
Stay Seeew-cial because dialogue must always happen! ~ Brian