On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about running an online and brick-and-mortar fabric shop with my guest, Kelly Stevens of Superbuzzy.
After finishing graduate school and some years working in higher education administration, Kelly rediscovered an early love of textiles and design in the late 1990’s. Upon discovering Japanese craft books and modern Japanese fabrics, an obsession was born that later turned into the concept for Superbuzzy. The shop opened online in 2006, and then moved to a flagship storefront located in Ventura, California in 2011. Today, Superbuzzy is a full-service fabric shop serving the modern quilting community both online and in-person.
In this conversation, we talk about Kelly’s transition from academia to retail and how she first discovered Japanese fabrics and craft books through her blog in the early 2000’s. To get inventory for their shop Kelly and her business partner at the time asked a friend who was going to Japan to buy them fabric and bring it home in a suitcase. Setting up an online shop at that time was more challenging than it is today, and selling fabric online was more rarified.
Kelly explains how she continued to do business in Japan working with the president of Seven Islands on buying trips to the Japanese mills. She also talks about the decision to open a brick-and-mortar store and expand her offerings to include fabrics from US companies. We talk about Quilt Market and how the show might cater to online retailers and we discuss QuiltCon and the kinds of offerings Superbuzzy brings to that show.
Ventura quilter Andres Rosales frequents Superbuzzy. He shot this short video during their anniversary sale earlier this year.
Kelly has played a role, along with the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild, in helping local residents who lost their homes and belongings in the Thomas Fire. Kelly explains those efforts and the effect they’ve had.
And, of course, I ask Kelly to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Kelly recommends:
+++++Today’s episode is sponsored by WEFTY. WEFTY started in a garage on a 3D printer and has grown to include patterns, products, and workshops. WEFTY’s first product, the WEFTY Needle, is the only needle made by a weaver designed specifically for use with fabric strips and bias strips. Create beautiful woven projects with quilting cottons. Curious? Check out WeftyNeedle on Instagram to see what it’s all about.
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