I'm devoting quite a few posts a year about the importance of brick-and-mortar quilt shops like ours. At times I feel like people just are not listening. The biggest concern I hear from people whenever I post on this issue is that fabric is too expensive. As I've said over and over again, fabric has only increased $2-$3 since we opened in 2005 when it was $8.99/$9.99 - this is based on manufacturer and of course cotton vs. flannel/batik. That equates to about .23 cents a year. That's hardly outrageous. I even asked this question: "So how much do you want to pay for fabric?" to which no one responded. Completely fascinating.
BTW...I bought a gallon of milk for $3.39 yesterday!
Anyway, I recently stumbled upon this article below and I loved its honesty.
United We Stand
Weeks Ringle, Modern Quilt Studio
The past few years have brought tremendous changes to the world of quilting. Shops have closed by scores. Magazines and book publishers have shuttered or merged with other publishers. American Quilter Society has ceased publishing books all together. City Quilter in New York is closing. Tension has arisen at times between genres of quilters who perceive one genre being intolerant to another.
We began teaching modern quilting in 2001. The ages of our students ranged from twenty-somethings to retirees. Even as early as 2001 we noticed that spending patterns were clearly divided by age. Retirees had large stashes and both the time and money to make lots of quilts. Younger quilters had student debt, insecure jobs and looming college and retirement costs that prevented them from spending as much time or money on quilting. If we had a studio sale with fabric deeply discounted, the 50+ crowd would spend hundreds of dollars and the 30-somethings would buy 4 fat quarters. It was a pattern we saw repeatedly. So we never drank the Kool-Aid about modern quilters or young quilters saving our shrinking industry. They can’t afford to.
Hiring designers based on the number of Instagram followers instead of talent will not save our industry. Deciding which books to publish based on the age of the author will not save our industry. Belittling other genres of quilting will definitely not save our industry. If you REALLY want to save our industry, here are a few things you can do:
1.) Buy fabric and supplies from an owner whose name you know. Buying quilting fabric from Massdrop or Fabric.com might not seem like a big deal but for a mom-and-pop retailer every dollar truly matters. If you buy from Massdrop, the designer makes 15-20 cents per yard at best. If you buy directly from the designer, they make $4-6 per yard. Insert Note from Brian: Why are we promoting buying from a designer over a store??? That's not helping your brick and mortar bring in new fabrics! Girl...don't even get me started. If you buy from a shop even better!
2.) Buy books from authors directly or through local quilt shops. If you buy a book from Amazon to save $4, the author makes $1. If you buy it from the author, the author makes typically half of the cost of the book, usually $10-15. If you buy it from a local quilt shop, the shop owner makes the profit but at least it stays in the industry and they stay in business and buy more books. It’s an enormous difference. Insert Note from Brian: The books have the MSRP directly listed on the book.
3.) Support ALL types of quilting. If you’re a modern quilter, go to an exhibit of applique quilts at a local guild. Do a shop hop of shops you haven’t been to. Take classes that are outside of your comfort zone. All of this money filters down to support guilds, teachers, shops and designers. Insert note from Brian: Exactly! If a quilt shop that is local to you doesn't carry all of the fabrics you want, surely they have patterns, notions and classes! There is more than one way to support your local quilt shop.
4.) Teach someone to sew or quilt. Help a teenager make a quilt for college or for graduation. Show a boy how to make a messenger bag or a pillow for his room. Insert note from Brian: Or take a class at your local quilt shop, step out of your comfort zone and learn something new!
5.) Understand the laws of supply and demand. With fewer shops in business and fewer quilters, the cost of fabric has and will increase. Insert Note from Brian: Revisit what I said at the top of this blog. In 13 years fabric has increased .23 cents a year. Not outrageous. No one is taking advantage of you or ripping you off. It’s just the economics of each yard costing more because fewer yards are being produced. Ditto for the cost of magazines, especially with magazines like ours that has no ads.
6.) Don’t expect everything for free. Unless you want quilting to go the way of tatting, with very few people able to make a living teaching or designing, don’t photocopy patterns for your friends and don’t limit what you can learn to YouTube. I understand that each of us only has so much money and it’s tempting to want to give away your favorite patterns with your guild friends, but if you don’t support shops, publishers, designers and the like, those people will have to find other ways to make a living. The closed shops, the shuttered publishers and those who have left the industry for greener pastures or as a result of closures are proof that it has become harder than it was 20 years ago to make a living in the quilting industry. Insert Note from Brian: "Can I just share the pattern with my friend?" Um...no.
Most importantly, can we just band together to support all quilters? And when I say support, I mean financially as well as sharing with others the work you find inspiring be it at a guild meeting or through social media. Can we decide that each quilt is made by someone who loves quilting as much as you do? If you don’t like the way quilt competitions are structured, suggest a new category. If you want more books on a certain topic, email the publisher. If you want more magazine coverage of a certain trend, let the editors know. If you want a certain fabric your local shop doesn’t carry, ask if they would be willing to order it. We are fortunate right now to have more work than we can manage. However, watching businesses related to quilting close affects all of us.
Please share in the comments section anything you can think of to support the quilting world.
I thought that was an interesting read and it's much appreciated. I REALLY like that they ended it with "please share in the comments anything you can think of to support the quilting world." Support...being the key word.
Obviously the world will not collapse if there are no quilt shops, but I would imagine to many of you it would certainly feel like it. There is a love/hate relationship with the internet. We love the convenience, but we hate that it ends up ruining jobs and the things we love to do in our leisure time. We want our country and quilting community to be productive and prosperous for future generations but if we keep letting big on-line only corporations take over literally everything....just remember we've done it to ourselves.
Stay Seeew-cial... ~ Brian
Happy Worldwide Quilting Day and Happy St. Patrick's Day!
As I always do, I stopped in at our neighbor...Lux Sucre Desserts to frost my lucky charms! Lo and behold I happened upon some green cupcakes and cookies shaped like clovers! P.S. I'm fine with being pinched, but hands-off of the mid-section!
This morning we hosted our monthly "What's For Breakfast?" Club. In my last post I wrote at great length about supporting brick-and-mortar quilt shops. This monthly event is a great way to create community by getting out of the house, interact with eachother while supporting our brick-and-mortar location! If you like quality projects and a good time...come to our What's For Breakfast? Club!
Someone was feeling festive today! Carol and Cheryl are newbies to our What's For Breakfast? Club but I've been noticing these lovely gals more and more at our events which is always a good thing! Thanks for coming ladies!
Every month the "Mothership" features a new project. Everyone who attends receives a complete kit to make whatever it is she's introducing. I wish I had taken video because when she revealed this month's there was a collective "Awwww...." from within.
This month she was inspired by the fabrics (pictured above) and surprised everyone with not just one project...but two projects from Bunny Hill Designs....perfect for springtime!
Jan did make a handful of kits for purchase here on our website of the Bunny towel.
I receive a lot of requests every month from those of you who live outside of Oregon asking to purchase some of these projects. I am pleased to tell you that I have created a new category for these items on our website here. Keep in mind that our "What's For Breakfast?" Club was created to interact with us and others in-person seeew not every project will be listed.
I had been wanting to share with you some of the new fabrics due to arrive this Spring! March and April are loaded for arrivals but I only have room to show you two today! I have a feeling there are those who can't wait to get their hands on some of these! Both of these collections have a vintage touch of traditional. Are these not perfect for our Shoppe?
By the way...do you know whose book would be perfect for some patterns using those two collections? Moda Lissa's! If you haven't heard the news, Lissa Alexander has a new book out and it is fantastic! You can read all about it right here!
Last but not least for today is our upcoming 4th annual S.p.R.u.N.g Workshop with Kathy Cardiff. We love Kathy! Her nature inspired wool designs are awesome! Since she is our only featured designer for this year's event, the project will be bigger than if we have several designers. Seeew...not only do you get a catered, gourmet luncheon and specialty instruction from Kathy, but you also get a complete kit included with your fee!
There is some pre-work to do before the workshop on April 21, seeew we do have a "drop dead" registration deadline of March 31. If you are not local, that is ok as we will mail out the pre-work portion of the kit before the workshop. This is why I say over and over again....to get signed up EARLY. The sooner you register, you're going to love your life! If you can't register until after March 31, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org but don't wait too long as we do have limited seating.
That's all I have time for today! My other duties call (which are kind of important) seeew thank you for reading! ~ Brian
In honor of Worldwide Quilting Day, I came across a lot of articles regarding the importance of quilt shops in our communities.
If you've noted anything I have said in the past...we cannot have our cake and eat it too. I am passionate about the brick-and-mortar experience and will continue to be, seeew nothing I say should surprise you. If you're going to get offended at me suggesting the importance of supporting brick-and-mortars (oh yes, there are those that do), then feel free to not follow this blog. If you want to see your favorite quilt shop thrive, if you want to see more fabric arrive, more classes offered, more hours.....then continue. If when following your favorite store on Social Media you ask, "Can I order that from you?" instead of "What's the name of that fabric?" or "Who is the designer of that pattern?"...then welcome aboard!
Let's first take a look at some of the benefits of supporting your brick-and-mortar quilt shops....
I have always said that if one must shop from an on-line source, make sure that website has a brick and mortar to visit. Your local quilt shops bring much to any community. If you're lucky to get a good one in your area, get behind it! Especially those that like to create experiences! I'm not saying don't shop from websites (as they do serve a purpose), but supporting a website with a storefront that can be visited, says the owner is willing to invest back into the community. There are many reasons most "on-line only" operations go into business:
They don't want the interruptions that come with a brick-and-mortar space.
They don't have to decorate an entire store space with samples.
They don't have to tirelessly clean up messes of fabric thrown around.
They don't have a line in front of them during sales.
They don't have quilters coming in with purchases they made on-line or elsewhere, and expecting help.
The list goes on.
Every quilter that I have a conversation with says, "I have to see and touch the fabric." That opportunity will continue to dwindle if people do not get behind their shops! Fewer options are never a good thing. "Fabric is so expensive" is another comment I read on blogs and social media in the industry. Actually since we opened in 2005, fabric has only gone up $2-$3 (depending on manufacturer and cotton vs. flannel/batik). That equates to about .23 cents a year. Over 13 years. That's hardly outrageous. Keep in mind that when fabric was $8.99yd people said it was too expensive...and that was back in 2005!
So the question is: What price do you want to pay for fabric?
Is there ever a price that will make the masses happy?
Yes you can get fabric on the internet cheaper. This is not news and I've covered this topic before. Every quilt shop has a sale section in their store and some of us even have sale sections on our websites.
Here at the Shoppe we offer every day savings with our shopping bag! We have made it so easy that all you have to do is bring your bag with you! I mean??? How much easier can it get? In addition you earn Quilting Queen points for every dollar spent. When you earn 300 points you will receive a $30 Gift Certificate. This applies in-store and on-line! It's fair for me to say, we are doing our part to make quilting affordable for you!
But back to my discussion....
The MSRP on fabric is set in place to ensure a healthy profit margin for any shop.
Profit is not an evil word but unfortunately the culture in this country today seems to think it is. The under-cutters are doing a disservice to the entire industry which will ultimately devalue the craft. Over time, this will affect you because eventually brick and mortars will say, "enough!" We've already witnessed this year the announcement that Free Spirit/ Westminster will be ceasing fabric production. Designers, warehouse workers, sales reps, will be out of a job. Hopefully only temporary. The money from fabric sales in your local quilt stores pays for the space for you to walk into, it goes to paying an employee or two (and heaven forbid the owner should get to take home pay after working 80 hours a week), it goes to hosting a website, to paying the credit card fees, payroll taxes, making samples, and bringing in new fabrics seeew that people don't start gossiping, "They don't have as much as they used to." Oh yes, we've heard it all in 13 years. Are you aware a full collection of fabric (42 skus) can cost a couple grand? That's just to bring it in. Stores don't get discounts on the product we bring in, we don't get discounts on shipping, and we don't get discounts on paying employee wages. Could you imagine? "Hey could I discount your paycheck this week?" I don't think that's going to work. LOL.
Something to think about as you read this next article referred to as "United We Stand" in the next post.... ~ B
It's Been A Creative Week! Block 1 of Our Merry Merry Snowmen BOM & Lori Holt's Quilty Fun Announcement
Our first in-store meeting for our Merry Merry Snowmen Block of The Month was yesterday here at the Shoppe! As you can see the "Mothership" has selected a cheerful new color palette that fits in perfectly with our Shoppe here in Charbonneau! It was nice to see seeew many signing up for the in-store meetings as that shows me people are still interested in needing their brick-and-mortars. If you are participating through the mail or "on-line" as it is now referred, blocks will be mailed in the coming week.
Pictured above is Block 1.
The "Mothership" and Christine have Month 2 in the works! I don't think folks always realize the time consuming steps of fabric selection. It's one of the biggest reasons why we kit around here.
Convenience. Convenience. Convenience! When we don't kit people act seeew disappointed that it can't be reproduced exactly. When we do provide kits, "do you have just the pattern?" I've said this for years and it literally makes me want to eat a cube of cheese.
This is a nine month program and if you keep up with your blocks each month, we will all be finished by November! Merry Christmas indeed! Right?
If you'd like to join us, we discovered we could make room for a few more people seeew get signed up here! If you can join us in-store that's even better because we will be offering some extra quilty-fun along the way! Either way you join us, it's assumed you already know a method of applique. You will also need to purchase the pattern which is available here.
In other news...the "Mothership" finally was able to finish her Farm Girl Vintage Quilt which was started back in 2015 with our first Farm Girl Vintage B.O.M.
2 years in the making! The Mothership's quilt incorporates blocks from our first Farm Girl Vintage B.O.M ( Fall 2015- Winter 2016) and our second session of Farm Girl Vintage ( August 2017 - Current).
I absolutely love this and I can't wait to proudly display it in the Shoppe just in time for Lori's visit to the Shoppe this May! In fact, she will be teaching a new project during our Bee In My Bonnet Lori Holt Workshop, May 21 and May 22! It's a one day workshop seeew you pick the day you want to attend. We have added just four seats to each day so if you want to attend, you've got to grab those seats as soon as possible !
Since we will probably not do a third session of Farm Girl Vintage, we do offer individual block kits for sale here on our website for your quilty pleasure.
Our next B.O.M. will be Lori Holt's Quilty Fun Row Quilt and that starts March 31. The picture below is Lori's quilt from the book but rest assured the "Mothership" will do a fantastic job with our version. You can learn about and register for Quilty Fun here on our website.
That's all I have for you today! I'm going to call it a day and go home to my two kid-lets...Chance the Lhasa and Miss Grace Adler the Dachshund!
Have a good night everyone and stay seeew-cial! Brian
I finally did it! I took a bold step and I crossed the line into the world of Quilting! But first...we MUST have music because I'm headed to the mat to bring it on! Probably one of the worst musicals in Broadway history, but whatever...I ❤️ this song!
🎼"How do we know who we are unless we cross the line?" 🎼
The "Mothership" and Christine have been my dedicated cheerleaders... teaching me to sew my first quilt! Even when I get frustrated and have to rip my seams out they remind me in their own special way not to be a "Cheer-tator Tor..." ✨
This is how it all went down: we were flipping through Sherri McConnell's "Fresh Family Traditions" last week and I said, "Hey, we need to make Sassy with Hi-De-Ho! It would be seeew happy and cheerful!" I was met with, "Well, there's the sewing machine."
With that single sentence...I lost my quilting virginity.
And I lost it to Maywood Studios!!!
I was sure it would have been Moda.
Regardless, I am hooked which only makes everything about this blog that much better because I can now relate to some of the things I hear every day in the Shoppe!✨My favorite part seeew far is picking the fabrics for each block!
I honestly don't think I will ever be one of those people who just doesn't care about wonky blocks. I will care...every day of my quilted life! I have a seam ripper and I know how to use it! I'm also a fan of pinning! Let's just say I'm willing to have the required notions to ensure I have a positive outcome. That whole "It doesn't have to be perfect" stuff I read out there reminds me of "everyone gets a trophy."😜 Nada. If I'm going to invest the time, I want to learn to do it correctly. That's how I'm wired.
As I mentioned above, I'm using this happy fabric known as Hi-De-Ho. I'll link it here for you as we do sell it here in the Shoppe! I should point out... throughout the month of March we have FREE SHIPPING on all fabric orders (including pre-cuts and kits) of $50 or more (U.S. Orders Only, Regular Priced Items). All you have to do is select Pick-Up In-Store at the check-out process. Yes, even if you don't live in Oregon!
I keep telling the "Mothership" that larger print on blue (top of the bundle) would make a great bag for Summer! I know just the pattern...but the question is, will they ever get time to make it? Even as I finish typing this sentence I can already hear, "Make it yourself, Brian." We know eachother seeew well!
If you haven't been into the Shoppe in awhile we have a series of these pre-cut kits such as the one above.... perfect for any beginner or anyone who wants to get right to sewing! Literally...all of the fabric has been cut for you seeew all you have to do is unwrap and sew.
Read the directions first...of course.✨
It looks like one of our newest customers enjoyed her pre-cut kit seeew much she went home, sewed and was back within a couple of days! Becky has definitely "crossed the line" and is now on her way to getting back into quilting! Great job Becky!
Before I head out, I thought I'd share these two gems...Foster & Emily!
Not only were they well-behaved (props to their parents) but they were eager and attentive. Emily told us she likes to sew clothes for her dolls. When the "Mothership" asked if Emily would like to sew on her machine, the answer was an absolute YES! Seeew, the "Mothership" let both of them choose some fabrics to make a sweet little pillow...or bag. Foster watched closely and when it was his turn he knew exactly what to do!
Remember when we were young and unfraid? These kids were not afraid! They were champs as they let that sewing machine go! Me? I'm like 80 years old with a walker the way I sew!
It was just refreshing because it reminded me how much our children WANT to be engaged with activities! Many people today just hand their kids a digital device. Seeew sad!
When I shared the experience on our Social Media it was met with a comment..."You can't get that on-line."
No....no, you definitely cannot. But if people aren't careful that will be the future. As I have said 1,000 times if you want to shop on-line, shop from on-line sources that have brick and mortars you can visit like ours.
Anyway, it was the essence of being seeew-cial and we look forward to seeing them again!
You of course will see me again sooner than later as I still have tons to show you!
Stay Seeew-cial and "Cross The Line!"✨🎼🎩🎪 - Brian