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Thread: What's happening with quilt shows?

  1. #1
    Senior Member dogsgod's Avatar
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    What's happening with quilt shows?

    I drove 3 hours to the Lancaster Quilt show yesterday only to be VERY disappointed! Last years show in Williamsburg left me wanting more also! Yes there were beautiful quilts displayed but the vendor area was dismal! A friend and I have always dreamed of going to Paducah, but if this is what the shows are like these days, we're not sure if we want to make the trip. What has anyone else seen around the country?

  2. #2
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    ​Brick and mortar stores are closing and I think the work involved in setting up a booth at a show, just isn't worth it. A lot of us are trying to use up our stashes so we are not buying like we used to.

  3. #3
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    ditto what Tartan said. There just aren't as many vendors anymore. I quit buying fabric in 2001, so it might be my fault And the bigger vendors who only do mail order...well how many times can you do a show and see their stock over and over?

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    I'm hoping to go to the Chicago- area Quilt Festival next Saturday. I hope it's not disappointing - I've never been to a big quilt show before. I'll be happy to report!

  5. #5
    Senior Member dluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    A vendor once told me for her "It's five thousand out the door"

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    Super Member IrishgalfromNJ's Avatar
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    I went to the April show in Paducah in 2016 with my dear daughter. It was wonderful, so much to see and buy. Plenty of vendors, quilts and quilters. It took us two days to see everything at the Convention Center, then we went to the Rotary building to see the Antique quilts. I even got a chance to shop at Hancocks for fabric. It was a great trip for me and I would go again.

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    I go to see the quilts, so I am never disappointed.
    Ageing is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been............David Bowie

  8. #8
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    The Houston Quilt Festival is somewhat smaller than it has been in previous years. There are a lot of online vendors that show there are well as brick and mortar. As far as "seeing their stock over and over" I go to the Houston Show every year and have favorite vendors. I never feel like I see the same stock over and over. After all, there is new fabric coming out every year so there's always something new. And I love the quilts. They are just awesome every year. I always think I don't know how they can top last years, but they always do.
    Patrice S

  9. #9
    Super Member grma33's Avatar
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    I talked to vendor in grandrapids qshow and she said she wasn`t coming back
    with the high price and paying help to man the store plus hotel expenses just not worth it
    my husband noticed the sparse vendors after we went the sec time
    Gale

  10. #10
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    I haven't been to Lancaster in a number of years. I have not been to the NJ Quilt Fest in a few years either but did notice the last time I was there the reduced number of vendors.

    While the quilts at any show are always spectacular, I think many of attend shows to also see new products; methods; etc.

    I imagine the cost for vendors to participate has increased significantly in the last several years. As others have said, with many brick & mortar stores closing and only doing online, this changes the landscape, I'm sure, for show organizers as well. The fewer vendors available, the greater the individual participant cost thus driving down the number of participants. It's a downward spiral waiting to happen, unfortunately.

    My observation at the last NJ Quilt Fest I attended...many, many longarm vendors and demonstrators. Very few vendors selling fabric; tools; etc. I'm not in the market for a long arm machine but I can almost always be sucked into a few tools from other vendors.

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    2 weeks ago I went to a quit show (with my 5 yr old DGD who borrowed my phone and took a photo of every single quilt because she couldn't decide which she liked best), Very few vendors, but we bought fabric, a tool, a pattern, and a stain glass angel ornament to hang in her window. We bought raffle tickets and had a great time (she is still dreaming she may win that quilt)

  12. #12
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    same here, vendors were selling purses, jewelry and other "stuff""
    Patski
    always learning

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    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I registered for a few classes at MQX next week in Manchester, NH. (Machine Quilters Expo) There are a lot of vendors listed in the MQX program so I hope they have a good turnout. I know it's a lot of work to pack up and schlep all of your tools and fabrics plus the time that goes into setting up the booth.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  14. #14
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    I work part time at an LQS. The owner has vendored at a few area shows, but quit doing it. Too much work for too little profit. Personally, I go to quilt shows only for the quilts, not the vendors. I prefer the small shows that don't have vendors at all.

  15. #15
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    A shop owner told me just the space at shows cost $2,500. That's a lot of money for the space. Then factor in the other costs: transportation, food, lodging, insurance, etc. So this shop owner has found a creative way to get people into her shop which is very smart way to deal with the changing situation.
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  16. #16
    Senior Member LindaJ's Avatar
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    So glad I didn't go. The one in Pittsburgh wasn't that good last year. Like to look at quilts but used to be fun picking

    up a new project and some extra fabric. And there was not a lot to choose from. That is a shame it costs them so

    much. I really enjoyed the shows years ago.
    Linda J.

  17. #17
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    i am here to tell you if you go to Paducha the show has always been good and then there is handcocks,and all the other stuff around town worth the trip

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    Why does the cost of the space (ex. $2500.00) have to be so high for vendors? I would imagine the vendors have their own liability insurance.......seems the one making $$$$ is the facility........

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    While I haven't been to the Chicago show in a few years, I remember the vendor mall being spectacular! Have fun and let us know


    Quote Originally Posted by rl2b-Roseanne View Post
    I'm hoping to go to the Chicago- area Quilt Festival next Saturday. I hope it's not disappointing - I've never been to a big quilt show before. I'll be happy to report!

  20. #20
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geri B View Post
    Why does the cost of the space (ex. $2500.00) have to be so high for vendors? I would imagine the vendors have their own liability insurance.......seems the one making $$$$ is the facility........
    Or the organizer...
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  21. #21
    Senior Member KathyJ's Avatar
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    I have been to Paducah the last 10 yrs & am going again this year. Have 3 others that all go together for a fun road trip. We stay in Metropolis, IL. Our first stop is Hancock's of Paducah, then the Rotary Show, the Finkle Building, the warehouse place for lunch & smaller vendors, the quilt museum, Eleanor Burns & several other shops in the downtown area. We have special places for lunch & dinner. Sure, the convention center is crowded but I have an opportunity to look at all the new machines from all the vendors, & their treasures they bring. The second floor also has many vendors. There is so much to see & do & we are worn out by the time we get back to our hotel around 8:30 p.m. Needless to say, the quilts are stunningly & beautiful & it is a great time to meet & talk w/some of the makers. We arrive on Monday afternoon about 3 p.m. leave Friday a.m. after a final stop at Hancock's. We love it & cannot say enough about the City of Paducah, their hospitality, & the people who put on the quilt show & provide this opportunity for everyone. Make it a bucket list item if you haven't already. You will not regret it. Happy quilting & stitching!! Kathy

  22. #22
    Super Member llong0233's Avatar
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    I have only been to local and regional shows and they are not usually packed with vendors. What I have observed over the 10 years or so I've paid any attention, is that there is a saturation point. Speaking for myself, I have everything I need to make a hundred quilts; notions, specialty feet, thread, etc. I especially see so much fabric at yard and estate sales that I'm a little saddened. Boxes of quilting and sewing supplies, much of it new or slightly used, still in the box. Sewing and sergers everywhere. A vendor spending $5,000 for a show needs a minimum of 200, $25 sales to break even. To make the usual expected retail profit, that vendor needs 400 sales at $25. Depending on what they are selling, that could be a big nut to crack. Add in all the other reasons given already by other members, on-line sales where no investment is needed, etc. I can see why there may be fewer vendors.
    Quilting Makes Me Happy...

  23. #23
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    The organizations that run shows of all kinds are in it to make a profit. They charge enormous fees for space and vendors just can't afford it anymore.

    I live near a small town that used to be filled with the greatest little shops and eateries. Artists, jewelers, home decor shops and such all left because the building owners kept raising the rents. Most of the shops are empty now. I can't understand why a renter would rather have an empty building costing money rather than have a building filled and paying for itself.
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  24. #24
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    Madison Quilt Expo (Nancy Zieman's show) is full of vendors. I think the space for vendors is larger than the space for their spectacular quilts. And the vendors are spectacular, too. MSQC was there for the first time last year. And they have lots and lots of classes, sit 'n' sews, seminars, special speakers and such. So much fun. We're going to try to make our trip there this year an over-nighter. By the time our bus gets there in the morning, it's too late to get in on the morning classes.

    There are three small quilt shows near here. One has no vendors or sometimes one; at the most two. One has maybe 10 (I'm not quite sure how many.) and the other has 19. They are all very nice shows. The 19 vendors gave rave reviews to our show this year. They loved being there and loved how they were treated. They come back year after year.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by llong0233 View Post
    I have only been to local and regional shows and they are not usually packed with vendors. What I have observed over the 10 years or so I've paid any attention, is that there is a saturation point. Speaking for myself, I have everything I need to make a hundred quilts; notions, specialty feet, thread, etc. I especially see so much fabric at yard and estate sales that I'm a little saddened. Boxes of quilting and sewing supplies, much of it new or slightly used, still in the box. Sewing and sergers everywhere. A vendor spending $5,000 for a show needs a minimum of 200, $25 sales to break even. To make the usual expected retail profit, that vendor needs 400 sales at $25. Depending on what they are selling, that could be a big nut to crack. Add in all the other reasons given already by other members, on-line sales where no investment is needed, etc. I can see why there may be fewer vendors.
    I have seen very little fAbric at yard sales the past few years. Once in a rare while there is a bonanza, but not very often.

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