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Thread: How does Connecting Thread sell so inexpensively?

  1. #1
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    How does Connecting Thread sell so inexpensively?

    I have bought from CT for some years now and I receive their magazine and I always wonder how they can sell everything for such a great price. I think they manufacture their own fabric, right? Do they also manufacture their thread? And what about all the books? They are such a great price!!!! Anyone knows about their pricing and how they can stay in business? I love them and use them always and know lots of you do too.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
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  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    when a store is (large enough) they can order in bulk and get better deals---they may order 500 yds of something (where the lqs could only order 30 yds---they get a much better price than the quilt shop will get- same goes for books, notions ect-
    the supply companies have different price ranges based on amount purchased- so if an lqs buys 5 of one book (or one of a book) they will pay almost as much as they sell it to us for- if the store can buy 20+ of the same title they get a much better price- and some pass that savings on to their customers- same reason the big-box stores can sell the same items for less- they buy larger lots of the items...get better prices.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    This is just my personal opinion, but selling online is SO much cheaper than selling in a storefront. My guess it is a good marketing strategy to sell low and sell quantity. The online shops that try to sell at LQS prices undoubtedly sell much less unless it it free shipping. When you add shipping to the product you often pay more than at a local shop.

    I don't know about their manufacturing their own, I think they just have their name put on the fabrics...perhaps they do some design work. It is like buying a generic brand at the grocery store...they don't make their own ketchup, some other company - often a name brand Co. will make it and label it for them.

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    By selling on line they can not only sell to the city they are in but all over the world. Their cost are down so they can pass that on even better than the warehouses do who sell to the public. They offer great customer service from what I hear so it helps keep their sales up. They can just meet supply and demand; buy in bulk and pass on the savings to us lucky customers. To be honest; I really don't care how they do it as long as they keep on doing it and the quality does it. I just wish alot more would jump on the band wagon and do it as well.
    Judy

  5. #5
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    Couple of things to keep in mind. They do have their fabric line and threads manufactured for them, to they do not have to go through a warehouse/distributor to order those - one less markup. They probably also buy their books directly from the publisher - one less mark up. Quilt Shops are ordering Fabrics/Books/Notions, etc. from a Distributor therefore they are paying an additional markup that in itself is a HUGE difference.

    An internet only shop does not have to pay for: Rent, utilities, liability insurance, employees, etc.
    While you may (or may not) get a better price on items from internet only shops - you also do not get any of their expertise: Help with a pattern/fabric choices, nor can you go in an look around when you just need to get out of the house or have some adult company who understands your hobbies and can put you in a much better mood

  6. #6
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    "While you may (or may not) get a better price on items from internet only shops - you also do not get any of their expertise: Help with a pattern/fabric choices, nor can you go in an look around when you just need to get out of the house or have some adult company who understands your hobbies and can put you in a much better mood "

    Very good points. My LQS knows me (at least by sight) and are not offended when I say I just need to look at fabric. They have been so helpful in finding co-ordinating fabric, etc.

    As much as I like buying on line I made a vow to try to use my LQS as much as possible thisyear. I would hate for it to go out of business.

  7. #7
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I don't know all the financials about how they can sell so inexpensively, I am just so glad that they can!!!
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    First off, I love CT and find myself buying more and more from them. They have their own designers and apparently deal directly with the fabric manufacturers to make fabrics to their specifications. The quality is good, but the designs are not as spectacular and color-rich as from some of the top fabric makers. They typically use few colors, often only two or three. I think we may be seeing a change in this soon, since they've signed Jody Houghton with the Sisterhood of Quilters line. (See my earlier post - http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...c-t156878.html.) But the point is, they are paying less for their fabrics, partly because of simpler printing. Then they have cut out most of the chain of people who add to the cost, and they sell only online. I have several LQS to choose from, but they can't match the selection or the price that I can get online, and frankly I get more inspiration and help online (and from the guilds and quilt shows) than I do from the LQS. That's sad, but I guess it's a sign of the times.

  9. #9
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    CT has moved production of fabric out of the US, so that has kept costs down. I'm not particularly thrilled with the quality of fabric or thread, but you get what you pay for in that sense. Any business that doesn't have store fronts will be able to have lower costs than a brick and mortar establishment.

  10. #10
    Super Member clsurz's Avatar
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    Buying in bulk and also having the whole world online to sell to unlike just locally with a few hundred or thousand potential customers. Online you literally have millions of potential customers.
    clsurz

  11. #11
    Senior Member cmw0829's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    "While you may (or may not) get a better price on items from internet only shops - you also do not get any of their expertise: Help with a pattern/fabric choices, nor can you go in an look around when you just need to get out of the house or have some adult company who understands your hobbies and can put you in a much better mood "

    Very good points. My LQS knows me (at least by sight) and are not offended when I say I just need to look at fabric. They have been so helpful in finding co-ordinating fabric, etc.

    As much as I like buying on line I made a vow to try to use my LQS as much as possible thisyear. I would hate for it to go out of business.
    I'm with Mary.

    One afternoon, a worker at my LQS spent over an hour with me helping me audition backgrounds for my (poorly chosen) main fabrics. She didn't tell me to start over because my choices weren't the best but helped me with good nature. Granted it was slow but her attention was really appreciated. When I decided to scrap it and start over, she was there to help me again. This is what I love about using an LQS.

    And I especially like it when they point me to another shop when my main shop doesn't carry, or isn't inclined to order, fabric choices that I need.

    And...the prices aren't always higher than on-line. For example, I wanted to buy a brand of pins that aren't readily available just anywhere on line. When I priced them from the vendors on line and added in shipping, it was cheaper to buy them at the LQS.

    I know not everybody can afford to patronize the LQS but, if you can, please reserve at least a portion of your spending for the local little guy.

    Off my soapbox - I know I didn't answer your question about CT. I've never used them. Sorry.

  12. #12
    Super Member clsurz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    CT has moved production of fabric out of the US, so that has kept costs down. I'm not particularly thrilled with the quality of fabric or thread, but you get what you pay for in that sense. Any business that doesn't have store fronts will be able to have lower costs than a brick and mortar establishment.

    I haven't bought their fabric yet but do their threads as most of us do in this area and it is a great quality thread. It doesn't break or cause messes with your machines unlike others brands out there.

    Since I've never seen their fabric can't really say much about that however many others buy the fabric and love it and IMHO it has to be better than what JoAnn's, Hancocks, Walmart offers at a better price than they do.

    I was in JoAnn's yesterday and was shocked to see the quality of the fabric at 9 a yard and looks very much like what Walmart offers at almost 7 dollars a yard. I can go to my LQS in a neighboring town and get alot better fabric than what these two places offer for about $5.95 a yard and if you watch the sale table get it at $3.98 a yard.
    clsurz

  13. #13
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmw0829 View Post
    I'm with Mary.

    One afternoon, a worker at my LQS spent over an hour with me helping me audition backgrounds for my (poorly chosen) main fabrics. She didn't tell me to start over because my choices weren't the best but helped me with good nature. Granted it was slow but her attention was really appreciated. When I decided to scrap it and start over, she was there to help me again. This is what I love about using an LQS.

    And I especially like it when they point me to another shop when my main shop doesn't carry, or isn't inclined to order, fabric choices that I need.

    And...the prices aren't always higher than on-line. For example, I wanted to buy a brand of pins that aren't readily available just anywhere on line. When I priced them from the vendors on line and added in shipping, it was cheaper to buy them at the LQS.

    I know not everybody can afford to patronize the LQS but, if you can, please reserve at least a portion of your spending for the local little guy.

    Off my soapbox - I know I didn't answer your question about CT. I've never used them. Sorry.
    Thank you for reminding me to use my LQS. I live 45 minutes away from one and 1 1/2 hour from the rest so I've been lazy lately. I hardly shop at CT, but do shop at other online shops. And you are so right about the help you get. Last week I went to my LQS that's 45 min. away and bought two books I would never have seen online and I needed some red for the Christmas stockings. She said she didn't really have any great reds at the moment, but she grabbed her bag and pulled out her own personal stash (of red) and cut me off how much I needed and didn't even charge me. I think I need to think like you. I need advice all the time and online stores don't do that. I only buy quilt kits online, never yardage because I can't tell if the colors go together. I need to keep our LQS in business. Thank you for the very good advice!!!!!
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
    Strong people don't put others down...they build them up."
    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Ever who is making the decisions at CT is brilliant. CT went the Eleanor Burns way to build up the business for the future.
    Got fabric?

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    Question for everyone - the one time I ordered a llittle fabric from CT I was very disappointed in the quality. Has it improved?

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    Knitpicks.com is the same... they have super inexpensive yarn and notions.


    How does the quality of the CT fabric compare to lqs fabric? Say Amy Butler or Michael Miller? How does it compare to Joanns "quilter" fabric?

  17. #17
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I may not be able to buy as much from my LQS as a could from an online store but I'd still rather shop there. I'd hate to see them have to close their doors. Plus, I want to see, touch and compare my fabric before I buy it.
    If no one ever experimented we'd all still be making 4 patches.

  18. #18
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    CT use to sell fabric that I think was not manufactured by them. The fabric is now just as good as other quilt shop fabrics in durability. The finish may not be the same and the colors are more muted but the quality is very good. I read somewhere the colors are not as vivid because only natural dyes are used. I don't know about that. I have no complaints about any fabric I have bought there. I shop where the items I want are the cheapest for the quality I want. I won't buy from a local shop if the prices are double what I can find elsewhere. That's just common sense.
    Got fabric?

  19. #19
    Super Member quilt3311's Avatar
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    For me shopping online is a blessing, my nearest quilt shop is an hour + away and with gas prices what they are, I can pay the shipping and still come out ahead. I do purchase by mail from the quilt shop when I need something, assuming they have it. The LQS is very good about mailing to the people who are farther away. They also have some good sales and they know what I like and will email me when they are having a sale.
    I do get my thread from Connecting Threads as I really like the cotton thread. I've occasionally ordered some fabric from CT and have always been very satisfied with what I received.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Elaine433's Avatar
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    CT is having their fabrics manufactured for them, probably in China. Everything is made for them to their specifications.
    It is not the same as buying a fabric such as Moda or Kaufmann or any of the other large manufacturers. Yes, they also have their fabrics manufactured for them outside the country but they first are hiring well known designers to design the fabrics for them, CT is not. CT will not sell to retailers and that in itself keeps the prices lower. They have eliminated the middle man.
    I have used their fabrics and their threads. I find their threads to be way too linty for me, my opinion only. I have found that their fabrics are getting thinner. I found that some of their older fabrics to have a better weight. I good way to try some of their fabrics is to get a charm pack of the styles you like and you can see, touch and work with the fabrics at a very low cost to see just how they work for you. I will use some of their fabrics depending on just what I am making.

  21. #21
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    Love CT. Wish they could stick to made in America.

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    Just to day would love to give CT a try but they do not shop international other than Canada.

  23. #23
    Super Member sewNso's Avatar
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    i like CT also. and the quality is good. i think i got quite a few CW fabric's from them for my DJ. shopping online is also an advantage when you are under the weather.

  24. #24
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    I'm sure they DO have to pay for these things. Surely, one person does not do it ALL out of their garage.

    "An internet only shop does not have to pay for: Rent, utilities, liability insurance, employees, etc."

  25. #25
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I have ordered some of Connecting Thread's fabrics and I found it to be good quality. I love their threads, never had a problem with any of them. Customer service is wonderful too.

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