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Thread: Question about groups

  1. #1
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    Question about groups

    I will be working one day a week in a friend's quilt shop soon and was invited to take part in a get together in the shop. The purpose was to bring something to work on and have it be a social 3 hours. The cost was $7 and food was provided. No one used any of the shop resources (sewing machines or supplies) and the general consensus of the group was that no fee should have been charged. There were no lessons being taught. Our thoughts were to have everyone bring a snack to share and the owner could provide drinks and maybe people would be spending some of their money to buy things from the store. This is a brand new venture and I really want it to be successful. Are we right or wrong in our assumptions that the fee was too much for the event?? I'd love feedback as I want to talk to her about it but don't want to be telling her how to run her business. Thanks
    Debra

  2. #2
    Super Member nabobw's Avatar
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    I do not know about the fee but you are using electricity, water and so the owner has to pay for. Maybe a little less then $7.

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    If the group does not want food to be provided, then I would think yes, the fee was too high.......let everyone bring their own whatever.....it's only three hours...most people can live without food/ drink for that short period....so if the owner just opens her shop to the group for gratis, maybe she'll get some sales.........maybe on that day/evening offer something for sale, or discount, or points toward something, or some sort of incentive to "shop" and sew.....just some quick thoughts.....

  4. #4
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    If she is providing the food, I would just consider it "eating out" money, not really a fee. Also remember that if the event is after hours, she is incurring a bit of extra utilities and labor expense that she has to cover.

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    You did use shop resources - electricity for lighting and air conditioning and also someone from the shop had to be there and their time needs to be compensated. The owner is also paying for insurance in case someone is injured and decides to sue. A small business walks a fine line trying to make ends meet. Maybe the "fee" could be discussed and something lower agreed upon if you brought your own snacks.
    Cherylsea

  6. #6
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    You are using a business facility and she is in business to make money so I would think a small fee is not inappropriate especially if you expect the owner to supply drinks.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Cathy77's Avatar
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    Honestly? For food and drink and hanging out for 3 hours, I think $7 is quite reasonable!

    How many people were there?

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    I think $7.00 is cheap. You're there for 3 hours and food was provided. So what if no one used any of the resources. You're taking up space when classes could've been going on. $7.00 per person per hour or just $7.00 period. Doesn't matter if you were going to purchase anything. That was space provided for a measly $7.00. Also as we all know food isn't cheap either.

  9. #9
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    Our QS used to be our gathering place, and I loved it. Anyone could come in on Sat. and sit and sew. There was no charge, but just about all of us would do some shopping, and check out what was new. We did bring our sewing machines if we wanted to, some would bring food, some would go get carry out. Our QS is now an on-line shop only, and we really miss it. I now meet with several other ladies in a different town. The Library lets us meet there, the first Sat. of the month from 9 - 4. There is "no charge" and everyone brings their machines, irons, crockpots, everything.

  10. #10
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Many of the shops around here have an afternoon when you can come in and sew for a flat $5, no food provided, but the shop owner is available to answer questions if you need help with your project. They sometimes also have a free day, often associated making comfort quilts. Some of them also host free monthly meetings similar to guild meetings, with group projects/lessons/pass-it-along projects, etc. I think $7 with food is a bargain, but I probably wouldn't participate since I can sew better in my own space.

    If I were the shop owner, I would probably not provide food and drinks. There will be some in the group who expect more than what is provided, some who have dietary restrictions (that they may expect to be met), and some who would prefer not to have food at all and resent that they are paying for it. It just opens up the door to disappointment when you try to satisfy everyone. And someone is bound to eventually have a spill, possibly on someone else's project. At most I would have some bottled water on hand.

  11. #11
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    The local shops here seem to have a very open policy - I know of two that have classroom space that they allow anybody to use. Basically if the class space isn't currently in use, you're welcome to bring your machine, bring your friends, set yourself up and use the space! One shop will also rent a "classroom" machine to you for a $5/day fee if you need it, but no fees if you bring your own. One of these shops is very near where my guild meets and one of the owners (?? Key employee, anyway) is in our guild, so we tend to use their space quite a bit and they're all very friendly about it.

    It's a smart policy...I don't think I've ever been there on a day where at least one person didn't realize they needed something and went and bought whatever it was.

  12. #12
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    If you think $7 is too much, go have your group meetings somewhere else...your house maybe. No one is forcing you to meet at the shop. The shop owner is well within the bounds of 'acceptable' by any standards of business and, as an employee, you were way out of line to openly criticize her business decisions with customers.

    Customers don't negotiate the prices of merchandise, why should they think they can negotiate the price of services? And space rental is a service, make no mistake about that. The rate here (NH) for using the shop's workroom...no food, no drinks, no supplies, no advice, just the room...is $5 per hour. It is paid with great gratitude in the heat of summer by many of us who don't have A/C and have to get something done on deadline.

    I'm guessing the owner provided food to avoid having large amounts of messier things brought in (e.g., crock pots, etc.). If she ceases supply food, as she really should, don't be surprised if there are limits put on what users can bring in themselves. Quilt shops are not restaurants and food can do major damage to her inventory.
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  13. #13
    Super Member jeanne49's Avatar
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    My local sewing machine dealer has a sew-in where you can bring projects to work on and/or get help from others and they don't charge anything. It's just a social thing to share work and ideas and I am sure they are hoping that people buy something. Afterall it's during store hours on a Friday night so they are already paying for the electric. The people who attend bring their own snacks and everyone shares.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by athomenow View Post
    I will be working one day a week in a friend's quilt shop soon and was invited to take part in a get together in the shop. The purpose was to bring something to work on and have it be a social 3 hours. The cost was $7 and food was provided. No one used any of the shop resources (sewing machines or supplies) and the general consensus of the group was that no fee should have been charged. There were no lessons being taught. Our thoughts were to have everyone bring a snack to share and the owner could provide drinks and maybe people would be spending some of their money to buy things from the store. This is a brand new venture and I really want it to be successful. Are we right or wrong in our assumptions that the fee was too much for the event?? I'd love feedback as I want to talk to her about it but don't want to be telling her how to run her business. Thanks
    I'm wondering what sort of food was provided at the $7 gathering? In that situation, I'd probably prefer a gathering with no food provided, as I can't imagine eating while working with fabric. If drinks are to be provided, maybe it could be payment on the basis of whether one partakes of the drinks?

    I'm not totally clear on the nature of the get together. Was it a private, by invitation gathering (you said you'd been invited), or does 'invited' simply mean, a general announcement is made to customers that a social event is scheduled.
    Last edited by joe'smom; 08-25-2014 at 06:59 AM.

  15. #15
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I think $7 isn't too bad either. Sounds like a lot of quilty fun for the price.
    Lori

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  16. #16
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    If you think $7 is too much, go have your group meetings somewhere else...your house maybe. No one is forcing you to meet at the shop. The shop owner is well within the bounds of 'acceptable' by any standards of business and, as an employee, you were way out of line to openly criticize her business decisions with customers.

    Customers don't negotiate the prices of merchandise, why should they think they can negotiate the price of services? And space rental is a service, make no mistake about that. The rate here (NH) for using the shop's workroom...no food, no drinks, no supplies, no advice, just the room...is $5 per hour. It is paid with great gratitude in the heat of summer by many of us who don't have A/C and have to get something done on deadline.

    I'm guessing the owner provided food to avoid having large amounts of messier things brought in (e.g., crock pots, etc.). If she ceases supply food, as she really should, don't be surprised if there are limits put on what users can bring in themselves. Quilt shops are not restaurants and food can do major damage to her inventory.
    Let me clear up a couple of things, this was to get feedback from other quilters. I didn't pay anything since I'm an employee of the business. The event was the owner's idea, as was the food provided. Pizza, a sub and a couple of small salads from the local place. There were 4 people other than the owner attending. My only thought was that if you are trying to get a small business going in a not very affluent small town it might be wise to entice people into your shop with a social gathering at little to no cost. As I said no one used any of the machines and other than the electricity it wasn't something that was particularly expensive for the owner. I only attended the event because she asked me to for moral support. I paid the $7 for a friend of mine to attend because I want her business to grow and I didn't think the friend would want to pay $7 to hang out for an evening even if there was food. This is a boutique shop with some fabric, rulers, and other items such as soaps, candles, crocheted items and so on. She does consignment of those items. Maybe people would be more apt to shop was my only thought. I guess I can see I'm in a real minority as to my thoughts. Thanks for the feedback.

    As to the snacks that would be brought it, maybe just pretzels or something not messy. I don't need to eat while sewing but there was a social hour of people just talking so food was put away before the projects came out.
    Last edited by athomenow; 08-25-2014 at 07:33 AM.
    Debra

  17. #17
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    I might pay $5.00 for an afternoon or evening of sewing and companionship without much hesitation. Especially if the location was relatively close to where I lived.

    I think I would prefer to have NO FOOD and WATER ONLY mixed in with the sewing and/crafting activities.

    Because I know I am a klutz at times - and I would feel terrible about getting stains on someone else's project - and I would not be very happy about someone else getting stain's on my project, either.

    If there was going to be food or liquids other than plain water, I would want them to be far far away from anywhere/anything that might get damaged by a spill.

    For reasons I have not figured out - I would rather pay $5.00 for three hours with no food than $7.00 with food.
    Last edited by bearisgray; 08-25-2014 at 07:54 AM.

  18. #18
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Our little quilt shop has an (open sew- anyone welcome) get together every Tuesday morning, it is free people stop by and work on anything they want, ask each other for help, advice, ideas. The shop has bottles of water available for $1 a bottle and free coffee. It is a couple hours before the shop opens 8-10am. Sometimes there are quite a few people there, sometimes only one or two.
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  19. #19
    Super Member calla's Avatar
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    Well, $7.00 is steep for me, because I can go to JA work on Project Linus and be social. And would it be during open hours of the shop?

  20. #20
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    I belong to such a group that meets every other Wednesday at a local Bernina Dealer/quilt shop. We each bring our own lunch. We each pay $5 to the shop for the use of the room from 10:am till 2:00 pm. We use their cutting tables, fancy irons and electricity. They even provide us with a closet to store our stuff. As I am a survivor of a rare auto immune disease that effects my strength and stamina levels I was only taking handwork the first couple of times I attended. Last week I bundled up my smaller, lighter sewing machine and took it. It was a little much for me. I asked the shop owner if I could rent a machine from him for the day. I can do that for an additional $10. It dawned on me that perhaps I could store my sewing machine in the closet allotted to the group instead of renting one each time. I will ask about that on my next visit. In the past I belonged to two different Quilt Guilds. Both of them have at least 100 members. I am enjoying the much smaller group and we actually get something done rather than just conversation and show and tell. It is also great that they have fabric, thread and all kinds of sewing useful gadgets etc. available if we forgot ours or run out.

  21. #21
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by calla View Post
    Well, $7.00 is steep for me, because I can go to JA work on Project Linus and be social. And would it be during open hours of the shop?
    Yes the shop is open. You have to understand living in a really small town to appreciate the concept here. This shop hasn't been open a month and all I'm trying to do is help her build a business. If you turn people off with too high a fee I'm afraid they won't be willing to even come in and shop. I was curious to see what others think so I could go back to her with suggestions. I would rather sew at home and might take crocheting there to work on. But I won't pay the $7 to do a social 3 hours with my own project and supplies.
    Debra

  22. #22
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    My LQS is open to anyone every Wednesday afternoon for free.she supplies coffee and tap water for us. We bring our own sewing machines but she has an iron and cutting board plus two sewing machines.

    We we tend to buy fabric and supplies from her shop, so she usually ends up with a wad of cash at the end of the day.
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  23. #23
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    A few of our local AQS shops have "sew in's" like you describe. One charges $7.00 and the other $10.00. I've never attended either so I don't know if the shop is "open" for business. I know both have several ironing boards for group use as well as large work tables to spread out on (in addition to the tables they are working at).

    I think a bonus to a sew-in would be that the shop be open for business ... at least to those joining the sew in. Someone may need thread, a ruler, a fat quarter ... whatever. Why not open the cash register and make a sale too?
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by athomenow View Post
    My only thought was that if you are trying to get a small business going in a not very affluent small town it might be wise to entice people into your shop with a social gathering at little to no cost.
    I think this clarifies things quite alot. If her aim is to get people into the shop to get acquainted, I would definitely not charge them to come. I'm trying to imagine my reaction if I received an invitation that said, 'Welcome, come in and get acquainted, only $7!'

    On the other hand, if she were an established shop and were offering her space to established customers as a service, then charging them a nominal fee to cover the cost makes more sense.

  25. #25
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I go to the senior center every Wednesday for a quilter's group meeting. Dues are $3 a year. No food served but just a really nice socializing with other quilters. I would start it out as free with no food. Most people will want something for the $7. Don't forget, there are still a lot of unemployed people in this country. Times are still tough for some.
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