Friday 24 April 2020

Supporting our local quilt shops

Many of you kindly complement me on the fabrics that I use and tell me that you never see fabrics like the ones that I have - well, thank you!

The secret to my stash is that I love buying fabrics in person at local quilt shops and at quilt shows.  I enjoy poking around in quilt shops and pulling unexpected combinations off the shelves.  All of the photos in this post are of fabrics that I've purchased in local quilt shops over the past year.

from All Things Bernina in Auckland

 from Quilting Shed at Auckland Symposium

The road ahead for many people and businesses is going to be very tough.  Some of our favourite independent cafes, clothing boutiques, garden centres and QUILT SHOPS will struggle to survive during the tough economic times ahead.

I'm writing this post to ask you to please support your local quilt shops if you can. I've added a new page to my blog with links to New Zealand quilting businesses - click here to view it.

from Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington

from Busy Bee Quilt Shop in Wellington

When our Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, announced New Zealand was going into lock down, she stressed "Be Kind".  At the time I thought that was a ridiculous message and that we needed strong leadership, not warm fuzzies.  But, I've been proved wrong, and the "Be Kind" message has helped us all to get through this stressful time.

So I'm asking you to be kind to your local quilt shops if you can.

 from Quilters' Lane in Masterton

from The Ribbon Rose in Auckland

Local quilt shops provide:
1. Inspiration.
I love visiting quilt shops and seeing what's new on the shelves.  I like to see the fabrics in person before I buy.  I get inspiration from the samples on display.  I chat with the owners and staff and learn about new things.

2. Knowledge
I like to ask the staff in my local quilt shop for advice when I'm stuck (or just indecisive).

3. Community
The owners and staff at our local quilt shops are our friends and neighbours.

4.  Selection
Our local quilt shops stock a wide range of products.  You may never have had the time to have a good look around, but I bet there's a lot more things in your local quilt shops than you even knew about.

Purchased at Tote and Gloat in Palmerston North

I love exploring the vendors' stands when I go to quilt shows.  Imagine if we had no local vendors in the future! There would be no shopping at quilt shows.  Wouldn't that be sad?

Purchased from a range of vendors at the Sydney Quilt Show in 2019

Here's how you can support your local quilt shops:

Change your buying pattern
Instead of ordering that whole fat quarter bundle of Tula Pink's latest release from an overseas shop, how about waiting for it to get to your local quilt shop and buying half yards of the prints you really love and will use.  Have you ever used all of those fat quarters you received in that last bundle you bought on line? Is it really a saving if you don't use all the fabric?

Give them feedback
If your local quilt shop doesn't stock the type of fabrics you like, be honest - tell the owner nicely what it is that you're into.  Tell them how much of that product you might buy in a year.  Tell them about local friends who think the same way as you do.  If enough people say the same thing, I'm sure the owner will start listening and might just order in some of what it is that you like.  Business owners will be putting customer satisfaction at the top of their list now.

Show them what you're working on
Take your current quilting project into the shop.  It doesn't matter if you bought the materials from another shop.  You're here now, and this quilt represents who you are.  Show them what you like and help them to understand what you might buy in the future.

Mention them on social media
Give credit where it's due.  Tell people where you bought your supplies so others can enquire or visit that shop too.

Purchased from Material Obsession in Sydney

Please don't tell me how you've tried all these things over the years and your local quilt shop owners  just don't listen.  Give them another chance now.  The world has changed, and everyone deserves a second chance.  As our Prime Minister has said throughout this pandemic - "Be Kind".

Purchased from AQC show in Melbourne in 2018

I hope you don't feel that this post has been a lecture.  I only wrote it because I know a lot of New Zealanders read my blog, and I think it's important that we support our local businesses at this time.  I don't get paid or receive discounts for supporting local businesses - I genuinely feel it's important.

As always, feel free to leave a comment below if you agree or disagree.

So, now it's time for the Peacock Party.  Everyone has been so productive over the past few weeks.  I'm looking forward to seeing all your new posts over the weekend.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Tish said...

Could not agree more, I like supporting NZ shops anyway but like everyone have made overseas purchases for fabrics I couldn't find. They really need our support now.

Jenny said...

Well said Wendy. I love my LQS, walking in the door and being greeted by name! It's not as if I'm a huge buyer, but all customers there get a friendly greeting, advice is freely given, and the owners are always interested in what their customers are getting up to.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I think it is very nice that you have local shops that you can use. Living in the states is different - our county is so large and spread out that many people do not live in the cities and have no local quilt shops to use - you are not greeted by name when you come in to a quilt shop as you might have driven 90 minutes to get there and they haven't a clue who you are. (I have to drive 90 minutes in 3 different directions to get to a quilt shop)
I like to buy fat quarter bundles and use them as i am a scrappy quilter and it builds up my stash of scraps to use - the charm packs and layer cakes also are a good way to get the colors I need.
I am pleased so many of you have local quilt shops to support but we all are not as lucky as you to have that choice.

For the love of geese said...

Love love love the thread and the fabric pictured with it. My only lqs is 20 miles away and I do visit and purchase. Other than that, the next nearest is over 50 miles away and in St Louis,Mo and I refuse to go to StL. You are lucky to have fabric shops with a great selection.

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Beautiful. Yes, I agree. As someone who works at a LQS, we try to greet everyone, whether we know their name or not. If they're visitors we love to hear about where they're from and where they're going. I love all your documented fabric photos. Very pretty. Makes me want to go out quilt shopping! Thank you for hosting the link party!!!

Julie Fukuda said...

I wish there were quilt shops here. There used to be a few in our area but all are gone now. Almost all my fabric was given me by others who needed to cut their stash, and I couldn't afford to buy any, especially expensive imports. I do have a small sewing shop where I can get bias tape and marking tools and thread. I have a good relationship with that shop as I hope it will continue as it has over many years.

The Colorful Fabriholic said...

I totally agree about supporting local quilt shops. Unfortunately we're still under a stay at home order here so the shops are closed because they're deemed not essential. I'm looking forward to being able to shop again someday. Your fabrics are lovely. I love your selections of bright vibrant colors!

Chay said...

You have such a great eye for color and you've found some real gems. Our LQS's leave a lot to be desired in terms of selection, sadly. But if we go a little farther afield we can find more of interest. My friends and I depend a lot on vendors at quilt shows or shopping in bigger cities. On another note, I've read so much about your government's response to COVID-19 and I am very envious of the way it's being handled. Here in the states we are not only in mourning the many deaths, but also how horribly inadequate our president is in providing leadership (of any kind about anything). Sewing is saving my sanity.

Marie said...

Well said, Wendy. I live in a relatively rural area and over the years I've watched as shops slowly close their doors - this pandemic is not going to help those still standing unless we do our bit where we can.

Yvonne said...

I am very fortunate that I live in Surrey BC. Many quilt shops have come and gone. Each and every one I've been in was staffed by very snobby women. They make you feel like you are blessed to be able to walk on the same earth as them/they?. And the prices of their fabrics and supplies was so terribly expensive! No mere human could afford the cost. So, many of these "quilt shops" have closed as a result. FABRIC LAND on the other hand is full of friendly, ordinary women just like me and you. My sister and I have spent hours - and a goodly amount of our paycheques - in FABRIC LAND, and have enjoyed every minute. As a result I have an embarrassing amount of fabric, and I love every square inch. I'm well stocked for the long haul. thanks for listening.

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said...

Thank you for a thoughtful post. For years our LQS's have struggled, opening and closing because they can't carry EVERYTHING out there. And they can't compete with the big box stores for price and quantity. So when I'm shopping I start with my independent stores locally and if I have to branch out I try to put my money with individually owned shops on-line.

Bexter said...

Fellow NZer here. I live in a small town in the South Island but we have both a quilt store and a wool store. I'm not worried about the quilt store because she has an online shop, but I am worried about the wool store. The thing is, it's more than a wool store. She carries wool, of course, but also sewing thread, lace, elastic, DMC, felt, wadding, interfacing, etc. She carries basically every sewing need apart from bolts of quilt fabric. If she folds, it would have a huge impact. She has the most amazing customer service. If you ask for anything crafty, she'll get it in.

As for my LQS, her fabric style is very different to mine so I doubt she'd ever buy in the fabric I like. Instead I use a NZ online store to buy it.

greeneggs said...
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KerryW said...

Thanks for the post Wendy. I totally agree with you and hope that we can all support of local shops during this time. I am very luck to have two shops relatively close to me and I would be very sad to see either of them close. The 'stay at home' mentality is very important at this time but please, if you need fabrics, threads or other quilting supplies, phone your local shop and see if they can help. Perhaps they can post your supplies or arrange satisfactory pickup/delivery. Ask you local quilting shop if it is convenient to video call them so that you can see your choices before they post them. There are many ways to support them. Now is the time to be thinking outside the box!

Village Books and Crafts said...

Hi Wendy, Thank you for your lovely comments. As a quilt shop owner, a quilter and a tutor I appreciate your sentiments. It has been hard for all of us being in Lockdown over the last 4 weeks and now 2 weeks more to be at Level 3. At least we are able to sell online and have contactless deliveries/collections from our premises from next week. Although you will not be able to come in store and check out all those gorgeous fabrics we can certainly try and assist you from afar. I am sure all local quilt shops will be similar to me and welcome your business. We love to see what people are doing, regardless of whether you bought the products from us. Join the quilting party at your local quilt shop. Dianne, Village books & Crafts, Palmerston North

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Wendy, well said. My latest project is done with fabric that I bought at my local quilt shop just before they had to close their physical doors to customers. Since then, I'm happy to say that they have been taking phone orders and offering drop off delivery for in-town customers and they now have a web store. I'm really happy for them! I did have to hunt elsewhere for more fabric but I buy Canadian when I can since there is no duty, exchange rate and very reasonable postage rates. Well said Wendy. All of our favourite local shops need our support.

Sue Rostron said...

Great post. I intend to buy from local stores going forward as I love visiting them and would hate it if I could only buy on line.

Carol in Texas said...

Ah, Wendy. My fabric tastes are not yours, but I love seeing what you have purchased and I enjoy seeing your "Wild and colorful" quilts. I appreciate your message and though I have drawersful of fabric, much of which I never will use, I have made a list of the quilt stores near me....we are rural, so there is no local quilt store. I can peruse their websites now and see if there is not something I could use. It is a good message, applying to all types of shops, not just quilt shops. Thanks. Carol in Texas