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Thread: If you owned a quilt store

  1. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Arlington, TX
    The quilt shop right up the road from me welcomes quilters to come in, bring their machine and work for awhile. There is a round table set up with chairs and when I stop in there almost always there is someone or a few sitting there just laughing up a storm. I always like to see what others are working on. I think the ladies that are home all day alone really appreciate having a place to hang out every once in awhile. The owner says no one ever stays more than about 2-3 hours and no one has ever come more than a couple times per month. The last Friday of the month, she is open until midnight and has a "sew in." You can reserve a spot at one of her many tables in the classroom and get a box dinner for $5!

  2. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Blog Entries
    I travel for work and have had the luxury of visiting quilt stores in a few different states and like some more than others because of something they offer or do differently than others. For example:
    A large room for spouses that includes a large tv, pool table, and large comfy chairs. That same store has dedicated space for children with toys and chairs.
    The pattern, fabric, and supplies used in every displayed example, which would be rotated often. I've seen samples I wanted to make but the shop didn't have the supplies.
    An electronic newsletter auto sent every month.
    Easy, medium, and advanced samples.
    A large table that could be rented to layer a quilt. Many people don't have a comfortable space to do this in their home. By providing the option to rent the table, customers could feel a sense of ease if some or all of the fabric in their project wasn't purchased from the shop.
    Involve customers with selecting the type of fabrics sold.
    Open during the evening at least twice a week.
    A color wheel for use by customers.
    A sign stating fat quarters can be cut.
    A monthly sale or special.
    Classes, talks, how-to's, demos, etc
    A regularly maintained website, believe it or not I know of a store that doesn't have a website.
    A brag page on the website with photos of customers.
    Charm packs
    Fat quarters displayed with the bolt
    A large selection of backing fabric

    Finally, I'd keep "trendy" items to a minimum.

  3. #23
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Bosque County, Texas
    A display showing how the skills learned in a class on a particular block or quilt can be applied to other blocks - particularly good for beginners wanting to know why they should learn how to make a block they don't plan on using.

    A prominent section of fabric that is reduced in price.

    The only way I'll drop 10 pounds is to go shopping in England. - Maxine-

  4. #24
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Great ideas. No I don't want to own a store. I just think that we talk about the stores going out and I know there are people who own or work in stores and if we say what we like and have seen be successful it might help save a shop. I want to help the new lady in town so I do give her ideas and even made a sample for her in trade. I like the sewline trio marker...three in one so you can change from pencil (or pink) to chalk on the fly. Kind of like those pens with all colors you could click when we were kids

  5. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    The ideas mentioned here are all great..but if I owned a store I would have to have a big staff to do all of the things mentioned...I managed a store on a half time salary and 2 part-time associates, but I worked the other half at home placing orders online, bookwork and samples. In order to do shows I had to get family to help, (for free-just dinner). I do remember that the best compliment to our store was the friendly service that we gave.

    like the time a man came in at 3pm and said how much would it cost to hem his pants, he was a basketball coach and needed them for a gave at 5pm. One of the girls sat right down and hemed them, he came back and we said "no charge". He couldn't believe it, gave us $20. went away very happy. We would attach badges to local firemen recuits as a way of giving back to the community.

    ---YLI is a handquilting thread that has a light wax on it that prevents it from tangling and it is very strong. It is a brand that has other sewing thread also.

  6. #26
    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    leland nc
    a friendly and knowledgable staff that can take the time necessary to help a customer... but not to he point of hovering.
    "perfection is the enemy of done."
    "the secret to having it all is knowing you already do."

  7. #27
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Blog Entries
    All great ideas. Another would be......no matter the amount of money spent....a customer would be treated with the same respect, courtesy, and be friendly as one that spent a lot of money. I refuse to go to a local shop 15 minutes away because of the service I have had for a small dollar amount. Another that was going to buy yards of fabric was practically given the red carpet treatment. I'll spend the extra money and gas and go to the shops in the city that are 2 hours away. Customer Service should be a plus.

  8. #28
    Junior Member time2quilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I especially like your idea of "moving" the fabric so you don't see the same thing over and over. As per a website...only have a nice website if it is kept up to date. I visit so many sites that aren't kept updated and I'd almost rather they didn't have a site than have one that is not current. Good list.
    Tough times don't last, tough people do.

  9. #29
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Horse Country, FL
    Blog Entries
    Seamstome, your ideas are all good. It does take a lot of energy and backup help to keep a shop going. One of the biggest profit probably comes from machine sales. You'll also need to find a space to rent that doesn't use up all of your profits. I was at one rural shop last summer where evening classes were offered, plus there was a bring your project night once in awhile and the shop served lemonade and/or wine. Not sure I'd do well with the wine! LOL!
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #30
    Super Member Amythyst02's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Phoenix, AZ.
    Some great ideas. Here are mine.

    I would like to see quilts displayed on the walls, lots of them : )

    I think that anyone selling machines should be able to answer questions about all the machines. Makes me nervous when they say well I don't know. The lady I bought my machine from was like that. Although I really liked her, and she was really great in the CS dept she lacked the knowledge I was looking for on my machine. The sales rep should know the difference between machines as well. I realize all of this would be difficult, but sales reps should not just have knowledge about the machines they cater to, but all that they carry. They seem to favor brands.

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