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Quilt store marketing tactic - bit of a rant

Quilt store marketing tactic - bit of a rant

Old 01-11-2009, 07:23 AM
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I went to a quilt store yesterday that I haven't been to before, I was told over the phone they had some fabric I was looking for and it would be on sale as they where having an open house this weekend. Happy! Happy! Happy!
I got to the store, it was predictably crowded, and unexpectedly small. I finally found the fabric I was looking for, in the wrong colour, and they're idea of a sale was $15.95/m down from $17.95/m?!?......Seriously?! :shock: Gee, what a deal. :roll:
Very little seemed to be on sale, (notions, patterns and stencils sure as heck wheren't!) and when it was it was the same kind of pricing. They also had tables set up with bins and bins of fat quarters for $4.50?! Some of the fabric there was stuff I had seen at other stores allot cheaper.... I get that all quilt store owners have overhead etc etc etc, but geez!
The main intent of the open house seemed to be to get people in to sign up for their classes and then immediately buy the fabric they'd need.
It was a disappointing shopping trip.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:42 AM
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Zoo, sorry you perceived this as a bad experience..

Reading your post, I am wondering a couple of things..as we all look at things from our own perspective. You said she told you over the phone that she had the fabric you were looking for.. did you specify the color? Or did you both make an asumption..

And the sale would have been a bonus, as you didnt know about the sale when you called.. again, a 10% discount to a shop owner who is strugling in this economy was an opportunity to provide you with the fabric you were seeking and give you a little back for your trouble, and maybe get a new customer.

But, to you, when you heard "sale" you were thinking big discount, closeout type of pricing...

I know everyone wants a great deal on fabric because we are all tightening up our budgets.. but the thing is,, if everyone gets the fabric at deep disounts, the fabric shops are losing money,, only recovering their investment..the result is going to be shops closing their doors.. then, you wont have any choices as you wont have any shops.. next the manufacturers will cut back on quality and quantity of their product...

When you get fabric at 50% off, the shop is actually losing money as they have paid the shipping expenses to get the fabric to their shop..and that doesnt include the cost to keep the lights on...employees to keep up with the customers needs, etc.

Quilt shops are closing at an alarming rate.. the biggest one in Kansas is closing this week.. never thought I would see it.. the reason, financial.. cant sell enough at a profit to keep the doors open.. It is a sad state of affairs...
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:56 AM
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let me start by admitting i used to be stubbornly prejudiced against quilt shops because of the prices they charge. i swore i'd never set foot in one. no way ... no how. [the problem with this attitude should be obvious. having never been to one, how on EARTH could i have made up my mind so definitely? a few facts, based on actual experience would have been helpful, yes? :roll: ]

well ... i finally let a friend drag me to one. lo and behold, ya'll!!! while it was true that the vast majority of the fabrics in stock were grossly overpriced - even taking overhead and the "i can see and touch it in person" factor into account. But (and this is a BIG BUT) this owner offered a mouthwatering selection of fabrics on sale for prices that were very competitive with the online shops. AND i could indulge in the "see it / touch it". true ... they were 1-yard cuts from bolt ends, but there were at least two or three cuts on the shelves for each fabric. and there were fabs of all types and colors.

as expected, there was also a dazzling array of the latest toys and gadgets; several demo models of a famous brand machine there to be tested and drooled over; interesting list of classes for folks who are "into" classes; gorgeous sample quilts draped and hanging all over the place, etc, etc, etc ...

if this shop wasn't an hour away, her sale shelves would be my general starting point from now on. as things are now, though, i will stop in her shop if i happen to be in that area, but i will continue to do most of my shopping online to take advantage of the very significant savings.

however, if i know i absolutely must have a specific color or shade, i will make the trip and start there. AND if i can't find it on the sale shelves, and don't need a bazillion yards, i will even pay her price if she has what i need on a full-price bolt. (because the cost of my time spent fishing around for it online is higher than the difference between the prices. because i like to support small, local businesses when i can afford to. because she is an honest, ethical fellow-quilter who deserves a shot at staying in business.

the situation zoo described would not fall into that category. a measely, miserly 10% is no deal. if a shop advertises a sale, they should either make it clear that only a few things are on sale, or that sale should be on a wide array of things in all categories throughout the shop. and any shopkeeper who does not have the common sense or initiative to do a market survey to ensure her prices are competitive in that area shouldn't cry if she doesn't stay in business very long. like zoo, i would not go back to that shop.

encouraged by my experience with my "local" shop, i indulged myself at a few while in houston for the big show. i could write pages of praise about one, and got suckered by another.

not every LQS is a hotbed of evil and greed. not all are wonderlands of joy and surise bargains. approach each as a unique place, to be shopped with both open mind AND open eyes.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:57 AM
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Hi Jstich,
Thanks for your input but just to clarify, I never said it was a bad experience, I said it was a disapointing shopping trip. Nor was I expecting big discounts or close-out pricing, and I did appreciate the sale as a bonus for somthing I was planning on buying anyways.
My mistake was for assuming that since 2 other quilt stores in Ont carry the same fabric for about $12.00/m that this store would be about the same, I never asked about pricing. My mistake as I know different stores based on location etc have diffrent overhead. But even with that I don't believe offering $2 off this particular fabric ment the store was losing money on a purchase.

What I was disapointed in was that the "sale" didn't actually offer much for sale, I'm talking maybe a dozen bolts for a few dollars off. And the obviouse intent was to have people sign up for classes and immediatly buy thier fabric. There's nothing wrong with a sales push for this, but an "Open House & Sale" was a very clumsy way of going about it.
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:27 AM
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Zoo, that clarifies a lot for me from your original post., I guess the reference to ranting in the title started me along the lines of misunderstanding that I ended up in. I agree that it wasnt much of a sale if only a select group of fabrics were on sale and slightly at that.. we have a LQS that does similar things..

Open house in our area usually means no discounts...just a chance to visit the shop, get to know them , and have a few cookes...lol

My intent in posting wasnt to berate you for your opinion or experiece, sorry if it came across that way..

Sounds like it was a learning experience all the way around.

I broke my own rule in posting as it is so hard to determine what a person is saying or feeling in print.. pardon me, please,

I hope you find the fabric you are looking for and have better shopping trips in the near future
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:36 AM
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I recently went into a quilt store hoping to find an array of gadgets only to br dissapointed. What they did have appeared to be Walmart brand with a HIGH price. They had some beautiful quilts on display and very little fabric which was quite pricy, Their bools were 50% off but I can find all that on line. I think they are fairly new but they really had nothing special to offer. They too offer classes but if I have to buy from them then I will have to pass as the budget is a bit tight and I LOVE to buy fabric!!
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:51 AM
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I agree with Patrice's idea of approaching each as a unique experience, and trusting your own judgment.

On the quilt I just posted pics of, there is quite a bit of background fabric. I decided after purchasing the initial amounts of fabric to do a pattern that would give me 2 quilts, so I needed more background fabric. All the fabrics I am using are from the same Maywood Studio line. I went to a local, high end quilt shop since I thought that was my best bet to find more. Sounds good so far, right? When we pulled the bolt, I thought it looked lighter in color (and felt thinner) than what I had purchased previously from a different shop. The sales girl confirmed it was indeed the only background colorway in that line, so I was good to go. I dismissed it until I got home.

Yep - it is noticeably lighter in color and weight. If it were only the color, I could put it down to a difference in dye lots - but it's thinner too. To add insult to injury, it was more expensive per yard than the first batch I bought :evil:

I could, I suppose, take my quilt up there and point all this out to them - but in my universe, I don't really see a point to that. I suspect that if that bolt was a lower quality bolt, the store owner already knows that. I will simply chalk it up to a lesson learned and shop elsewhere. My gut told me it was different; I should have listened :oops:
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:55 AM
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Roben, it is possible that the shop owner did not know their bolt was different than what you had bought previously.. when they order, they get one option,

They dont get to decide, "Well I want that cheaper version of that"

That usually happens when the big discounters have theirs manufactured.. they can choose a different base fabric for the printing...

but the shop owner just orders her fabric and assumes she is getting the same as everyone else...

To be safe, it would be best to take your own fabrics in to match, no matter where you go to buy it...then you can make the decision at the point of sale whether you can live with the differences or not...
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:20 PM
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Wow.
My favorite quilt shop has high prices but they have everything. A whole section of 1930,s and one of 1800.s etc.
What I call expensive is $8 a yard. But it is first class fabric and they do have sales now and then.
All the shops around Phx. AZ charge between $8 and $9 a yard for most of thier fabrics.
Fat quarters are around $2 each.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:23 PM
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Sure, it's possible they didn't know; just as it's possible that the bolt may not have been lower quality (which is why I said 'if'.)

The point of my post wasn't to detail out every reason I may have had to take my business elsewhere, it was that I should have trusted my instinct in first place and that I don't personally find every situation crying out for me to point my finger at someone else. My apologies if it came across as anything else.

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