On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about the quilting industry. I recorded this episode at Fall Quilt Market in Houston, Texas on Friday, November 2, and it was a neat experience!
Quilt Market is the trade show for the sewing industry. It takes place twice a year, once in late October or very early November in Houston at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston and then again in mid-May at a different city around the country. In May of 2019, it will be in Kansas City and last May it was in Portland, Oregon. The show is only open to the trade and it’s a time for quilt shop owners, pattern designers, notion makers, and fabric manufacturers to come together and do business with one another.
This was my third time attending Quilt Market and I did a lot of different things at the show this time around. I had a lot of meetings with different manufacturers and business owners. I had several dinners and lunch meetings as well. But one of the things I did was sit down with quilt shop owners to talk with them about how business is going and those conversations are what make up this very special podcast episode.
You might recall that I did a state of the industry episode at Quilt Market last year. That’s episode # 108 if you’d like to tune in and see how things have changed over the course of a year. In that episode, I sat down with three shop owners and we all talked together. This time I did man-on-the-street style interviews with shop owners I’d never met before, walking up to them while they were in line for Sample Spree or sitting down with them at the round tables outside of the Schoolhouse classrooms. Some of them knew me, but most of them didn’t.
Quilt shop owners are on the front lines, serving customers every day. They are out there buying and selling the fabric and patterns and books, selling the classes and booking the teachers. They know a tremendous amount about the industry and I’m really excited to bring their voices and perspective to the show.
Here are the shops I spoke with:
Nancy Blezy, left, of Willow Creek Quilts.
Willow Creek Quilts in Alberta, Canada. Owner Nancy Blezy mentions learning how to kit things better, finding out about the Sasher tool from Pauline Rogers, Row-By-Row being a big success and the challenge of creating new quilters.
Cate Boeth of Cate’s Sew Modern
Cate’s Sew Modern in Guilford, Connecticut and on Etsy. Owner Cate Boeth talks about focusing both on quilting and garment sewing, the popularity of the William Morris collection from Free Spirit, and the challenge of curating the incredibly amount of quilting fabric currently on the market.
Rhonda Stockton of And Sew It Began.
And Sew It Began in LaPorte, Texas. Owner Ronda Stockton explains how running a retreat center sets her apart. She’s excited about large, machine-sewn hexie patterns with no Y-seams. Her plan was to meet with Like Sew to get an ecommerce site setup and she hopes to work on marketing her business more in 2019.
Cindy Denkers and Breisha Whitley of Handmade is Heartmade.
Handmade is Heartmade in Bear River City, Utah. Owners Breisha Whitley and her mom, Cindy Denkers, were first in line at Sample Spree. They’ve recently branched out from an Etsy shop to also owning a brick-and-mortar. They’re especially excited about Moda designers Lella Boutique, Fig Tree Quilts, and Bonnie & Camille. Their biggest challenge is competing with Etsy shops that underprice their fabrics, especially precuts.
The register area at Boxcar Quilts.
Boxcar Quilts in Crossroads, Texas. Owner Laura Turner specializes in Singer Featherweights as well as precuts. Her favorite Schoolhouse was Tula Pink’s Pinkerville. The biggest challenge she sees are competition with online shops that underprice fabric and turning young people on to quilting.
Kelli Marshall of Simply Mackbeth.
Simply Mackbeth in Charleston, South Carolina. Owner Kelli Marshall focuses on selling premade quilt binding which she says is just like a precut. Her shop is only on Etsy. Striped bindings have done well this year. The biggest challenge she sees is the overwhelming amount of fabric on the market which makes it hard to enjoy one collection before a new one is released.
I hope you enjoy hearing from these varied voices as much as I did.
This episode is sponsored by Crosscut Sewing.
Located in Melrose, MA or online at CrosscutSewingCo.com, Crosscut offers fun and modern fabric for all of your sewing projects. Shop their Black Friday sale now for the best selection. Use the code THANKS18 for 25% off fabric, notions patterns and gifts through November 26th. Most orders ship same day and orders over $40 ship for free!
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