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Thread: Looking for a fabric store mentor

  1. #1
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    Looking for a fabric store mentor

    Hi,

    I'm working on opening a brick and mortar fabric store in Illinois. That's all I can say about my location, but I want to get that out of the way because I'm sure nobody wants to help a competitor. There actually aren't competitors in my area besides Jo-Ann's, which is why I want to open in the first place. People need fabric!

    I am opening a fabric store with a focus on modern quilts and apparel sewing. I need to get some ballpark projections for my business plan so I can know what to expect in sales to see if I can meet my bottom line. I've been working with the Veterans SBA and the local Small Business Administration office, and they say the only way to get this information is to contact some other owners not in the area and ask for help. After all, they started out once too.

    So... anyone want to help me? It would be appreciated. Please e-mail me.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    I know nothing about how to help you, just wanted to say good luck. Hope it works out for you.

  3. #3
    Super Member Teacup's Avatar
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    Best of luck with this venture. I'm sorry I can't help with this request, but I live in Illinois and would love to visit your shop when you get it open!

  4. #4
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Why don't you pick some fabric shops from, maybe Quilt Sampler or the back of a magazine and call or email them? The worst case scenario is that they tell you no----and then you try some others. I'm sure there is somebody out there who is grateful for her success and would be glad to mentor you, if you just ask.
    Mistakes are just opportunities to invent a new quilting technique!

  5. #5
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    Deb Luttrell of Stitchin Heaven in Quiltman, TX (google Stitchin Heaven) actually has a "boot camp" for shop owners. She owns a wonderful store and may be of great help to you. By all means, give her a call. Her store is five hours from my home. My Bee travels there a couple of times a year as a road trip.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ragqueen03's Avatar
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    Congratulations and good luck with your venture. That is a dream of mine to open a business along that lines but really it is a dream - not going to happen with me. But i do have a location picked out and a name (and my sister and friend offered to work for me for fabric instead of $$$$ - haha) i admire you for going after it. Keep us posted and I am sure you will get visitors from this site when you open it.

  7. #7
    Junior Member cpower's Avatar
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    Call Nancy Zieman!! She loves talking to new ventures! Send her a letter, she is absolutely a wonderful person and loves helping veterans!!
    Chrystina
    Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning.., Satan shudders & says ..."Oh no....she's awake"

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChrystinapCreations

  8. #8
    Super Member caspharm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simpsonfs View Post
    Deb Luttrell of Stitchin Heaven in Quiltman, TX (google Stitchin Heaven) actually has a "boot camp" for shop owners. She owns a wonderful store and may be of great help to you. By all means, give her a call. Her store is five hours from my home. My Bee travels there a couple of times a year as a road trip.
    I was just going to suggest her. I have read the description on her website and it sounds great. Good luck on your venture.

  9. #9
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Subscribe to Fab Shop News and also purchase some back issues that have articles to help you. Quilt Retailer magazine is another trade magazine.
    Sandy
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome Decor 3050 / Janome 1100D serger
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  10. #10
    Super Member ILoveToQuilt's Avatar
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    Good luck! If you were closer to me you'd have me as a customer!
    Anita

    The only place that housework comes before quilting is in the dictionary.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kathyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teacherbailey View Post
    Why don't you pick some fabric shops from, maybe Quilt Sampler or the back of a magazine and call or email them? The worst case scenario is that they tell you no----and then you try some others. I'm sure there is somebody out there who is grateful for her success and would be glad to mentor you, if you just ask.
    "The worst case scenario is that they tell you no" My daughter lives by that. It's how she got an internship in Vermont one summer, how she got someone to sit on her thesis review board for her masters. Since you don't know them and they don't know you, don't take it personally if they say no.
    Good luck with the store and I hope it's near me. I live in IL!

  12. #12
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    Contact Fabric reps from companies you think you will carry, ie Moda, Quilting Treasures, Hoffman, etc. Reps are usually listed on the company's website. They will know what the competition buys in terms of yardage, etc.
    We are here to learn how to live in heaven - I'm still learning.

  13. #13
    Super Member meanmom's Avatar
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    I have no idea what info to give you but good luck. Have a good newsletter to send out to your customers and a website that is easy to navigate. There is a LQS that I love that has an awful website and I know it hurts her business. SHe doesn't sell on line.

  14. #14
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    Samples, samples, samples. Make as many things as you can now so you will be ready when the store opens. People buy from what is on display. Now is the time for you to get some made for opening and beyond. Change them often even if you have to pay someone to make them. Have lots of money, bolts are expensive and going up. If nothing is around you go with Moda first. Have a BOM ready to go. Any pre wok will help. When you start to open you won't have time to tweek things so do as much as you can right now. Have a few craft items for gifts to help fill, like kleenex covers, jewelry bags for trips, lots of charm and Jellies BUT have examples made up. Figure customers will use their 40% off coupons at JoAnns so skimp on those opting for the fabric , patterns and books she does NOT carry. Books they buy there too so be careful. Samples made from books helps you. Good luck

  15. #15
    Super Member Lilrain's Avatar
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    wow, great idea, am wondering if the area in which you live is one of the "hotbeds" for the quilting revival. I live int the Pacific Northwest and quilting has been going strong here for years, but I know that some other areas don't have the same interest that we do.Even here, it is hard for a new shopt to "make it" Wishing you good luck

  16. #16
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    Thanks EVERYONE!

    I appreciate it. Taking all of this into consideration.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lilrain View Post
    wow, great idea, am wondering if the area in which you live is one of the "hotbeds" for the quilting revival. I live int the Pacific Northwest and quilting has been going strong here for years, but I know that some other areas don't have the same interest that we do.Even here, it is hard for a new shopt to "make it" Wishing you good luck

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    Thanks! I will do that!

  18. #18
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    Good Luck, I live in Illinois, I hope you will be close, i hope you will have lots and lots of patterns and fabrics.
    Mary

  19. #19
    Super Member karate lady's Avatar
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    I am up here in the rain too. smile..and yes I am meeting more and more people who quilt. sometimes in strange places. Like at the food bank where I volunteer. I am saving my scraps and selveges for a lady there.

  20. #20
    Super Member starshine's Avatar
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    Good luck.
    I would second some of these suggestions, such as -especially for quilting fabric carry the lines JoAnn doesn't carry-(Moda does seem popular with lots of peeps on the board) and since you are going for more modern lines check out some of the various ones.
    Also speaking from experience DO have Samples of things on your walls. I have bought a book at the LQS that had a quilt that was on their wall. Love the quilt and even though I can't start it yet, when I'm ready I want to have the book so I went ahead and bought it, as one never knows when a book will be out of print. And if they are looking for their next project it will appeal to them seeing it made up. If you will be doing classes have a sample of something from it as when customers see it made up some will sign up for the class as a result of seeing the project.

  21. #21
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    I hope you don't mind me listening in - I am doing research for a quilt shop in Tennessee. We have two in town and and are a fairly large city so I'm trying to research if we can support another one.

  22. #22
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    Good Luck! Whenever possible I will choose a LQS over the others.
    Cheryl Robinson
    http://www.silverneedlestitching.com
    APQS Millenium Longarm with Intelliquilter

  23. #23
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    You can call me, SammyJ, my store is b&m as well as online. Contact information is on my website (just follow the link in my signature).

  24. #24
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    The Fabric Shop Network is a professional retail trade association for independent quilt shops and fabric retailers. I know nothing more about it. http://www.fabshopnet.com/

    You might also think about contacting any of the retailers featured in Quilt Sampler. They are all relatively small shops, obviously successful, and their contact info is right in the magazine. Best of luck to you.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  25. #25
    Senior Member Digitizingqueen's Avatar
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    Make sure you have space to offer classes and seminars always a good money maker for a store/ ESP if you give the students like a 10% discount when they buy stuff for the class they are taking....

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