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Thread: Fabric price question

  1. #1
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Being a buyer for a fabric store I always follow the threads about prices of fabrics... whether they're going up, how your LQS deals with it, what the chain stores are charging, what prices are in different parts of the world etc.

    And I got to wondering two things:

    1) How much do you think the shops mark the fabric up, per yard?

    2) How much do you think a shop *needs* to mark it up, in order to stay in business?

    These really are questions about YOUR perceptions. And there are no right answers or wrong answers, only your own personal perspective on the price issue. I would like to know, candidly, what it looks like from "the other side of the fence"!

  2. #2
    AbbyQuilts's Avatar
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    when we have been in business most products needed a 30-50% mark up to be healthy stock.

    But some products like dog food we made barely 10-15% as that got customers into the pet store.

    Same with gas at gas station they dont make a lot of profit form it but people need gas and might pick up a soda.

    I am going to assume min 20% high 50% on fabric mark up but I I dont know really

  3. #3
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    it depends on the store (online vs. store front) and the part of the country they are in - operating expenses are higher in large cosmopolitan cities vs. small town locals.

    while all of these options might pay the same wholesale price for a bolt of fabric the retail prices would vary greatly due to just the few variable listed.

  4. #4
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    100% mark-up; I know in the trade they like to call it 50% markup; but when you double what you paid - that's 100%

  5. #5
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    50% is my guess for the quilt shops. JoAnns prices have gone up quite a bit but our 5 local quilt shops haven't increased much. A few new bolts might be $.50 more but hardly the increase we have seen at JoAnns where bolts that say Keepsake are 9.99 yard. JoAnns is passing on the increase to us, but i don't think the quilt shops are. I assume the quilt shops aren't seeing as much profit as they used to.

  6. #6
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    I believe the markup is 100%, because that puts the shop making much less than 40% profit once all costs are figured into price. Trust me there are many more "costs" involved than just shipping and utilities.

    Once you figure in "daily incidentials", you would be amazed at how much money a local quilt shop DOESN'T make. Unless that shop has BUYING customers inside from the time they open to the time they close, that shop ain't makin as much money as you think.

    I AM NOT A SHOP OWNER, but I have been a business owner (not quilt related) in the past.

  7. #7
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashnquilt
    I believe the markup is 100%, because that puts the shop making much less than 40% profit once all costs are figured into price. Trust me there are many more "costs" involved than just shipping and utilities.

    Once you figure in "daily incidentials", you would be amazed at how much money a local quilt shop DOESN'T make. Unless that shop has BUYING customers inside from the time they open to the time they close, that shop ain't makin as much money as you think.
    I AM NOT A SHOP OWNER, but I have been a business owner (not quilt related) in the past.
    Ditto :thumbup: I agree with you.

  8. #8
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    100% markup is what they charge. I buy my fabric wholesale, and it's exactly half the price of retail fabric... which is exactly what I charge when I sell it as well, retail.

  9. #9
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjtinkle
    100% markup is what they charge. I buy my fabric wholesale, and it's exactly half the price of retail fabric... which is exactly what I charge when I sell it as well, retail.
    Ah, but the shop still has to make money when they sell to you wholesale, not much, but some. They probably do not sell it to you at their cost even though you have chosen to do that. I'm betting markup is more like 110-125% (like 2.5 times what they paid for it).

  10. #10
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    I purchase directly from the distributors (Moda, Hoffman, etc.). Moda fabric for example, that is $9 per yard at a quilt shop, wholesales at $4.50 per yard.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider
    Ah, but the shop still has to make money when they sell to you wholesale, not much, but some. They probably do not sell it to you at their cost even though you have chosen to do that. I'm betting markup is more like 110-125% (like 2.5 times what they paid for it).

  11. #11
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I dont know, but I sure would like too!

  12. #12
    patti-cakes's Avatar
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    It probably depends on the size of the store, rent & all other overhead.
    I know that I used to cringe at the prices at the LQS really close to me and off I would head to the larger, lower price store. Know what happened? One day I got an email that they were closing and I feel bad whenever I drive by where it was to think that maybe if I had just shopped alittle more often there it would still be open. They did have fabric that was so much nicer!
    Hindsight is 20/20....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Quiltzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjtinkle
    I purchase directly from the distributors (Moda, Hoffman, etc.). Moda fabric for example, that is $9 per yard at a quilt shop, wholesales at $4.50 per yard.
    cjtinkle has it about right. The cost gets about doubled and that's the highest price the fabric gets sold for. If it fails to sell in a timely manner, the price gets dropped. A while later the price drops again. Before they, the bolts, are ready to celibate a birthday with us, we push them out the door at a loss. Basics are the exception to the rule. They stay at a slightly reduced price regardless of age to make sure the 'color wall' is well stocked.

  14. #14
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    A well known quilt store near me gives their employees a 40% discount and they still make a profit. I wish I lived closer. If I worked there I wound have oodles of "insulation" for the winter months. :wink:

    piney

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I've never owned a business so I don't know anything about it but I do have common sense. One small fabric shop here had very high prices. Nothing was selling because the shop owner was buying from a fabric rep and had to price the fabric high in order to make a living wage. I asked her why didn't she buy fabric online when it was marked down to clearance prices and sell it to make $1 profit per yard for customers who couldn't afford the high price fabric. Why not go to Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanns, Hancock Fabrics when the notions were 50% off and buy the maximium allowed and sell them for 25% profit? Why not order from Marshall's Dry Goods wholesale for sewers who wanted less expensive fabric for projects and utility quilts. Some customers bought the high price fabric but not enough for the shop to stay in business.

  16. #16
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjtinkle
    I purchase directly from the distributors (Moda, Hoffman, etc.). Moda fabric for example, that is $9 per yard at a quilt shop, wholesales at $4.50 per yard.
    I get that, but wholesale is generally 50% of retail even when buying from sellers other than a distributor (the next step up on the food chain, if you will). Those retailers are not selling goods at cost to their wholesale buyers I'd be willing to bet, so their markup has to be greater than 100% to make any money at all off the transaction.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    My LQS has purchased two gammills and make more profit on the computerized LAQ they do, compared to the profit they make on the high priced fabric. This is not a negative comment. It is the way the owner explained it to me in a conversation we had one day.

  18. #18
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patti-cakes
    It probably depends on the size of the store, rent & all other overhead.
    I know that I used to cringe at the prices at the LQS really close to me and off I would head to the larger, lower price store. Know what happened? One day I got an email that they were closing and I feel bad whenever I drive by where it was to think that maybe if I had just shopped alittle more often there it would still be open. They did have fabric that was so much nicer!
    Hindsight is 20/20....
    Maybe we should ALL tape this in a note to our foreheads to remind each other. Support other quilters.
    Jan in VA

  19. #19
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    That's why I try (when I can manage)to support the, LQS. Their product is the best around and the selection is excellent. They are higher than most other places around, but quality, selection and customer service are wonderful. I should add that, from what I have read on another message board regarding pricing, what they charge is still quite reasonable in relation to countrywide and worldwide pricing. I try to buy less but better.

  20. #20
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Have dealt with fabric on a very limited non/QS situation, and MU was more than 100 percent, Imagine dealing with the mills are like other wholesale buisness, if you buy X amount it's this price, if you buy XXXX amount the cost drops.
    Keep in mind price are only a small part of picture, overhead, insurance, interest, wages, all add into makeing anything profitable.
    Too bad LQS can't co-op with others to increase their buys, and get the price down. Say 10 or 15 stores, making less frequent buys, to make the orders bigger thus helping get a better price break.

    Know of some other buisnesses did this and purchased from the manufacturers then did their own distribution helped a lot to increase margin.

    Can figure the longer it sits on the shelf the more expensive it gets if adding on the cost of interest each month.

    Isn't this more than you wanted to know LOL :)

  21. #21
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Honestly I'd pay the full price for fabric at my LQS but they don't carry anything I like. I asked if they might ever get the brighter more modern lines and/or novelty prints like alexander henry, riley blake, etc or even lines like meadowsweet that are cute and bright yet still more traditional and she said no, so I don't even go anymore. I had planned to at least buy thread there but they never have it either.

  22. #22
    Junior Member Joan Rosemary's Avatar
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    In england it is roughly 150% on most products but I am not sure on Fabrics.
    Joan

  23. #23
    Senior Member crashnquilt's Avatar
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    BellaBoo I can appreciate your thoughts but there is a tiny glitch. For a retailer, it is actually illegal to purchase retaii from one store and resell the item retail in another store. Unfortunate but true.

    Regarding Marshall Dry Goods, I love that place, their fabric is factory close out fabric. Albeit, great quality fabrics but being factory close outs the store runs the risk of not being able to get the same fabric if a customer should need more.

    I do agree, if the LQS would bring in some lower price fabrics they do have a much better chance of bringing in more customers.

    It is a really bad catch 22 situation. People that follow the magazines really want the current fabric lines but if the store is mostly selling close outs then they get the reputation of "selling old fabric" and that rumor will kill a shop super fast.

  24. #24
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    I run a small shop, not quilts, and we use 50% markup but believe me that does not produce a living wage today. It did 4-5 years ago but with all of the added taxes, reports and such, it eats away our time and money. Inspector coming thru, I had to widen my paths, which are already wider than a quilt shops. There is always govt. after the small businessman or woman. At least my materials are steady, I don't have women clamboring for the latest fabric they saw in such & such magazine. I admire my LQS staff. It's not easy to keep supplying what women want and then what to do with what doesn't sell.

  25. #25
    AbbyQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobo2000
    I run a small shop, not quilts, and we use 50% markup but believe me that does not produce a living wage today. It did 4-5 years ago but with all of the added taxes, reports and such, it eats away our time and money. Inspector coming thru, I had to widen my paths, which are already wider than a quilt shops. There is always govt. after the small businessman or woman. At least my materials are steady, I don't have women clamboring for the latest fabric they saw in such & such magazine. I admire my LQS staff. It's not easy to keep supplying what women want and then what to do with what doesn't sell.
    Thats what we did was mostly 50% mark up and we worked hard but we had money we were not poor and the business was not suffering.
    I think other then dog food 70% if our items were 50% mark up. 15% of the items 30-40% and the other 15% were more.

    My husband said when I got into this (married into a business)
    that all you need is 30% mark up 10% for overhead, 10% for growth and10% for your pocket.
    I dont know if that is true and like I said most was 50% not 30

    Maybe because we had grooming attached and although it had over head there was more profit from there. Maybe thats why we could not charge 100% mark up and still survive for years.

    Plus as hobo2000 said above me. That was 5 years ago and a lot has change.

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