These are all great suggestions. One LQS I visit though always has out-dated samples: they no longer carry the pattern and do not intend on reordering it. When I asked why they didn't take down the sample they replied they left it up as "inspiration". Seems to me a better inspiration would be a pattern and, hopefully, fabric, that were still available!
In my opinion, one of the main things I would change if I owned an LQS is lowering my mark up percentage. Many shops want to double the cost of their fabric and that makes the price unreachable by many on fixed incomes. Many times I shop at Wal Mart fabric departments because that is what I can afford. If I had to pay $10 to $12 a yard, I could not make quilts. When I had my restaurant, years ago, I lowered my profit margin and did a tremendous volume of customers. That made my total profit as much or more than it would have been if I had charged more for the meals. 100 customers multiplied by $1.00 a meal profit is worth more than 25 customers multiplied by $2.00 a meal profit. It worked for me. Another thing that has always bothered me is when the owner of a vacant building insists on charging a business the full price for rent. What about this? If I have a building that is vacant, how much do I earn each month? If I offer a new business a 2 year lease with a very reasonable rent for the first year to let them get their feet on the ground, then the normal rent after the first year, am I not making more than if the building were vacant? Just my thoughts.
Although the merchandising points mentioned in this thread are important and I agree with them 100%., there are many ways you can be successful. This is what I told my waitresses, "Make your customer the most important part of your job and you will have a happy customer". A happy customer will always return to your place of business.
The LQS owner asked you NOT TO TOUCH THE FABRIC ??? to let HER COME AND GET IT ???
Originally Posted by KalamaQuilts
OMG ... Was THAT woman ever in the WRONG business !!! ... sounds like one of those who felt that it was "all hers" ... and I'd bet MY STASH she is no longer IN BUSINESS today !!! LOL
I travel a distance to a shop that sells Quilter's Dream Quilt batting by the yard in several weights and widths and colours. Also they carry many 108" wide backing fabrics. They have Full Moon Madness sales one day every month, frequently with 15% off the batting.
Meredith, In addition to having beautiful fabric, I liked the fact that your site is easy to follow and that you have the shipping cost and the payment options up front. I only buy using PayPal and I like to know that's an option before I spend all my time shopping. I think you have a very comfortable website.
Originally Posted by merridancer
You've got some great ideas ... and so do many others here !
I worked and taught in 2 LQS 10-15 yrs ago, and learned how a shop operated from the OTHER side of the counter /classroom. One shop was successful and popular for many years, while the other was not, and closed after only 2 years. They just didn't have much to keep customers coming back.
Things have changed a lot in the marketplace since then ... mostly due to the INTERNET, plus there are more sophisticated and demanding quilters today.
What worked for LQS 5-10-15 years ago WON'T work today. The LQS is still viable because it gives us the opportunity to connect with other quilters face to face and get our "warm fuzzies" for the day, week or month. Internet boards like this are great - and so is online shopping - but they are just NOT the same as meeting with friends, a group or class at your LQS.
IMHO, today LQS will HAVE to sell machines to stay afloat ... fabric and classes alone won't do it anymore. Unless you are in a superb location or tourist destination. You must put CUSTOMER SERVICE FIRST, have at least 1-2 days with EXPANDED HOURS (for all of us working quilters) and you must keep up to date with the latest trends, fabrics and patterns. Good shop samples, frequent change of displays are a must.
Little things like "free" pattern handouts, a $5 BOM, free sew-in afternoons for drop-ins and bees are BIG things in the busy minds of customers. Good coffee or iced tea and cookies also make a warm impression. Too many shops don't offer these things, and they are very simple ideas ...
Keep the fabric MOVING, don't let it hang around, stock good fat qtrs and kits, and have NEW notions and patterns IN STOCK ... if you don't, your customers WILL GO elsewhere !
http://www.fonsandporter.com/article...appliqu__quilt. Why not have this quilt done and have a display of fabric and magazines all together for sale. Have a customer make the quilt top for a sample and give the person the product when it has lived it life at the shop.
i visited a quilt store in Olympia that had lots of samples of projects hanging up. That motivated me to buy the fabric for a big wall quilt from them. And they have lots of fabric and thread choices. That was the positive.
The negatives: whomever had made up the sample did a lot of embroidery on the picture to give it that "eye pop' and since it was hanging up high, i didn't catch that and no one shared that they had added to the pattern so i was perplexed when i found mine being a different color etc. when i was using the exact same fabrics. Fortunately, i was still in the area and able to go back to the store and figure it out and i have the Pfaff Quilt 4 so was able to replicate the thread painting which made the piece so exciting. The customer service was minimal and i came back 3 times before i found the terrific "little" quilt store in Yelm. Totally different atmosphere. I wanted to spend money in Yelm.
Some fabulous ideas here. Maybe some collaboration could result in a store of "our dreams". Keep it going.
Several LQS in my area have started selling sewing machine and have cut down on their fabric. I have 2 machine that I like and am not in the market for another but I am always looking for fabric!!! These quilt shops have cut down on the fabric quanity. Also I would like to see a large VARIETY of fabric. Not just a special style. I do not like brights so I will not go back to the new LQS even though they may have classes I would like. Also I think that the stores should have more SALES. Since quilting is getting more expensive we are all loking for deals/sales. One of my LQS has a punch card for fabric you buy and that is nice.