“Quilting has pretty much taken over,” Grzych told me last week, while on break from her production job at a screen-printing shop.
Standing 6 feet tall with pink hair and visible tattoos, Grzych describes herself as “unusual, not intimidating, but striking” and perhaps not what you’d imagine when you think of a typical quilter.
There have been times when other quilters have made assumptions about her that Grzych found offensive. While walking the aisles at an American Quilter’s Society show a few years ago, Grzych pulled out a Burt’s Bees chapstick to rub on her lips when a woman approached her. “She stopped me and told me not to draw with chapstick on the quilts,” Grzych remembers. “I thought, ‘I’m an adult!’”
Hayley Grzych hand quilting a project.
Photo courtesy of Haylay Grzych
Indeed she is. Grzych is a millennial — someone between the ages 18 and 34 who came of age at the turn of the 21st century. According to the United States Census Bureau there are now 75.4 million millennials in the U.S., making millennials the largest living generation. As such, they are increasingly important for businesses to reach. A recent article in Forbes reported that millennials have $200 billion in annual buying power.
Yet, for many brick-and-mortar craft shops, reaching millennials has proven to be a real challenge. Traditional advertising doesn’t seem to be as effective as it was with older generations, and many people assume that millennials aren’t brand loyal.
Cheryl Adlrich, the manager of Ann’s Fabrics and Sewing Machine Center in Canton, Massachusetts, explains her perception of millennial shoppers: “The younger sewers, they want things quick and fast and they don’t need the tactile experience of coming into the store like many of the older quilters do. If they’re looking for something with arrows on it and they see it online — perfect. They have it in their head, found it, done.”
How can craft shops reach millennial customers, then?
To learn more, I had conversations with four women who ranged in age from 24 to 30 and live in different parts of the U.S. All of them enjoy crafting as a hobby. I asked them where they purchase supplies, how they learn new techniques, and what kind of craft media they’re buying. Although this study isn’t large enough to make data-driven conclusions, the conversations are rich with information about what makes millennial crafters tick.
One defining aspect of the millennial generation is the way they access information. While older generations of crafters relied on magazines for inspiration, none of the women I spoke with subscribe to or regularly purchase craft magazines. In contrast, all four use Instagram — checking in multiple times a day to seek inspiration and information about the crafts they enjoy.
Although Berends has enjoyed using the quilting technique known as English Paper Piecing for more than a year, she’s never been to a local quilt shop.
“The local shops are more traditional and don’t have the designers I prefer. I called around to see if any had Heather Ross fabric in stock, but they didn’t,” Berends says. “Anyway, the closest one is an hour away.”
Instead, Berends buys fabric on Etsy or from other Instagram users by searching the #fabricdestash hashtag.
The millennial crafters I interviewed do value the ability to touch and see craft supplies in real life, however.
Knaster says she enjoys supporting local business and buys groceries and alcohol at independently owned shops, but she’s found it tough to support her local craft stores, despite her best intentions.
“There’s a calligraphy shop one block away from me, but I’ve only ever stood outside,” Knaster says. “They’re open 11 to 7 every day. Well, I work full time and commute on a train and then I have to pick up my 10-year-old at school, so I can never get there when they’re open.”
Knaster says she’s had the same difficulty with a local fabric shop that has window displays she finds “drool-worthy.” Instead, she shops at Paper Source, a national chain store that has hours better suited to someone who works full time.
Samantha Howard, 28, lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, and commutes into New York City for her book-publishing job on weekdays. An avid knitter since she was a teenager, Howard recently added quilting to her suite of crafting skills. A few months ago, she took a hand-quilting class at Kanibal, a community maker space and shop near her home.
“I understand I’m walking into an established craft,” Grzych says. “I’m receptive to people who have been involved longer, and I’m interested in learning from them. I respect the history, but I often don’t get that same sense of respect reflected back at me.”
When we spoke, she was eagerly awaiting a package containing 12 yards of fabric she’d bought from Hawthorne Threads, an online retailer, to make a quilt for a friend’s wedding.
“I appreciate buying from people who honestly and truly know what their customer wants and care about their customer,” Grzych says of shopping online at Hawthorne Threads.
Tip from Millennials for Running a Millennial-Friendly Craft Business
- Keep work-friendly hours: Many millennials work full time. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, set hours that make it possible for a working person to shop and take classes.
- Reach people where they are: Recognize that traditional advertising is not an effective way to reach a millennial audience. Instead, meet them where they are. For crafters, that means Instagram.
- Don’t assume: Many young people are interested in learning about crafting traditions. Instead of being judgmental of their tastes, be open to teaching them what you know.
- Be welcoming: Help millennial crafters feel welcome by hiring young teachers with whom they can more easily relate. Be excited about all of the merchandise you carry, including new products that have a modern aesthetic.
- Embrace the new generation: Crafting is a timeless pursuit that people of all ages enjoy. Engaging younger crafters takes some creative thinking, but the millennials I spoke with are eager to learn and have money to spend. Working to include them in your customer base will ensure that your business stays vital for years to come.
Thank you for writing this article, Abby! It’s fantastic. I’ve been lucky to almost always get a positive reaction out of people when I tell them I’m a quilter (and a professional one at that). My coworkers at my day job and my family and friends are super supportive! I have to admit that when I work during the school year, buying fabric online is always the easiest option, but I’m always willing to support my LQS’s when I can get there (or, I order from them online). And YES to hiring young teachers (like me – just saying!) and engaging on social media.
Ok looks like I need to learn how to use Instagram. I want everyone to know about Stitch Fast for EPP. A product I designed, no basting, whip stitching or pulling paper.
So I started quilting in my early 20s, nearly 20 years ago. The internet may have not been what it is now, but most of these tips could have applied then. Maybe it is more an inherent ageism in the industry than anything?
I left the technology industry because of the rampant ageism, in order to open a modern-oriented LQS with lots of classes for all ages. If it turns out that millennials just can’t learn from older people, I don’t know what to do next. Good teachers are good teachers, and relate to everyone. Furthermore, generalizing any group based on an individual, including a misguided person who thought you were going to write on a quilt with chapstick (!!) is a bad thing, since you were assuming she was generalizing about you as well. Chances are, she was more fundamentally confused and not representative of anyone or anything at all.
I truly enjoyed this article. Excellant job on it!
I am 54 yrs old and love introducing my mellinial sons friends to crafting. Most are excited to learn and it is so important to meet them where they are. Thank you for this thought provoking article.
Great article. I started quilting in my 20’s and have been teaching others to quilt since the late 90’s. I’m in my 40’s now and thought it was interesting that teaching at QuiltCon earlier this year was one of the few times I’ve ever taught people my age or younger. 🙂
Is being open “11:00 to 7:00 every day” not conducive to those working full time?! What about those wonderful weekends those who work a regular job get? We retailers don’t take weekends specifically so we can be here for full time workers. We used to be open late one night a week, as well, but no one came to shop. With the extra payroll, it actually cost more than we made to stay open, so we did away with it.
I agree Flaun. Although we try to be accommodating in our business hours, I feel like customers make time for what’s important to them, and will come when your open.
I have a brick-and-mortar wool felt stitchery shop (Felt On The Fly). The number of days when no one walks through the door outnumber the days when I get to interact face-to-face with customers. Thank goodness I have a thriving online business and those orders keep me busy while in my brick-and-mortar. Even though I’m really busy managing my online biz from my b&m, it’s disheartening when I realize I’ve gone through an entire day by myself. Add more hours? No…… but my phone number is posted on my shop door and I will gladly set up an appointment!
Many Mom and Pop quilt shops are not in big, centrally located retail areas, but neighborhoods. This means that unless you live in the neighborhood it can easily be a 20 minute drive each way. If I’m going to drive 40 minutes roundtrip, I want at least 45 minutes in the shop, browsing + time to get cut. Most local stores close at 5:00 or 5:30. Add kids to that equation, whom I would rather leave at home with Dad, and there’s no way to make it during the week. I try to make it on weekends, but with all the other family obligations during the day once again I am not free to shop until 5pm, and by then it’s too late. The one local store who is open late is always super busy, but it’s a more generic all-around fabric shop and sewing lounge than a strict quilt shop. That’s where I head at 6pm.
No, actually, 11:00 to 7:00 isn’t always conducive to those working full time, and no, not everyone gets weekends off. The world isn’t stuck in 1950, but our retail expectations often are–as are our expectations of who and what are customers are. We focus on a very specific group of customers because it’s easier and far less expensive to service a smaller group, but in so doing, we frequently alienate customers who don’t fit neatly into our expectations. Does that mean that every business has to be everything to everyone? No, of course not. But reacting negatively to the truth that the craft industry as a whole isn’t serving a particularly broad market isn’t going to help us address the issue. And whether we like it or not, it is an issue.
And yet the truth of the matter is that it’s a numbers proposition. Should my shop be open from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.? No. The bulk of our customers shop during the day. (See my note above about late hours with no customers to support it.) I would not have the revenue to keep my doors open. Those that can’t shop during the day in the regular work week come on the weekend or shop with us online. There isn’t much beyond being open seven days a week we can do to accommodate customers, millennial or not.
Also, please know that as a small business owner, for every hour I’m in the shop, I spend AT LEAST one more hour working on all the behind the scenes support. This work is not work that can be accomplished during business hours.
What hours of operation do you suggest, instead?
While millennialist may learn and shop more on the internet than I did at that age (dial-up or just-not-invented-yet) , I remember feeling the same way when I was in my 20s and 30s. I learned fast and studied hard and became a skilled knitter and designer but because I was young I was looked down upon by many older knitters.
Sometimes there is such a pride in our knowledge that we get jealous or catty when someone younger comes along who is good also.
Our goal should be enjoying and spreading the craft not division by age.
Where is the expert source on Millenial buying habits and engagement? This article uses anecdotal information culled from interviewing four people in that age group — hardly what I’d call an in-depth article. A quick Google search yielded plenty of information about Millenial retail shopping habits from far more authoritative sources — with a much bigger sampling than four people. I think there’s value in communicating retail buying habits of a major demographic but a little more research with actual statistical data about buying habits to back up these statements would give it more weight.
You’re absolutely right, Mary. I spoke to four women for about half an hour each. That is all I did. This is by no means a large study and I didn’t collect statistical data. I am interested in that data and if you’d like to add it to this discussion I would welcome it. Thank you.
The idea for this article came from a listing I saw in the classes available at Fall Quilt Market. Here’s what the listing said:
Digital in Diapers- Targeting the Millennials & Generation Z
Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, Kizer & Bender Speaking!
“Join consumer anthropologists Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender and learn strategies to help you understand these new generations, their personalities, the events that shaped them, things that motivate them, and most importantly, what’s required to connect with them in person and online. Learn smart ways to promote your business on social media; what to post to encourage conversation; which social media younger generations prefer, and more.”
When I read this course description I thought it made sense to actually reach out to millennials who enjoy sewing and crafting and ask them about these things. Perhaps Kizer and Bender know better?
Here you go, Abby:
Okay, so I’m wondering what conclusions you’re drawing from these articles about millennial crafters that I didn’t mention here. I see some talk of price comparisons – looking at prices in store and online before making a purchase. Are there other key points that I missed?
I agree with you, Mary, that statistical data would be really valuable and we definitely want to get to the point where we’re able to gather and present reliable data from a large sample base (we’re a 10-month old business.) But in the meantime, I think talking to people about what they think is important and obviously it’s good food for thought to some members of our community. I don’t think Abby was trying to lump all millenials into one homogenous basket, but some really good information came out through her interviews.
While I’ve aged out, I couldn’t agree more with your article, Abby. And I agree with what Cheryl said too, it’s more about thinking outside of the box when it comes to reaching a new audience. I could talk about this for hours…
I work in an environment surrounded by millennials and all they talk about is Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Snapchat. I loooove Instagram, but I’ve noticed that I have a new following on Facebook. I’m now trying to figure out (without reposting what I’ve posted on Instagram), how to give those followers on Facebook something new and different.
City Quilter and Purl Soho close around 7 p.m. during the week. If I can’t make it there, I order something online. Because I work during the week, I find the weekends are when I can sew the most, and I love it!
I’m three blocks from Times Square and thought it would be neat to open a fabric store in my neighborhood and offer “after theatre” hours. Bring in your ticket stub and receive a free fat quarter. Just a little incentive. I have ideas for days. Know anyone who would back me?
I also think your store environment has a lot to do with it too. If your store is floor to ceiling merchandise, it can be overwhelming. Mix up the lighting, change up the carpet, paint the walls, move around the merchandise on your shelves, update the way you hang displays, add new technology (such as order online/pick up in store), etc. Keep things looking new, modern (doesn’t just mean the fabric selection), and fresh. This applies to online too. Beautiful photos help sell product and help sell the lifestyle.
Again, I could talk about this for hours…sorry…
Chris – I worried about sharing different content between FB and IG and then realized its two different audiences. So now I just share my IG posts to FB. The shared posts get a higher engagement than native posts anyway. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that FB owns IG 🙂
One quick note I have on this subject, is that most millennials do not make the kind of money that most middle-age and older people have attained. They work all sorts of odd hours in hopes of making enough for rent and going out… those that are crafty, like my 25 year old daughter, have to save for months to get enough money to purchase things needed to make/create. Their purchases are VERY deliberate, and if they can’t see themselves finishing the project, they will not even bother. I don’t see them hoarding fabric (even if they’d love to) the way older people do – they buy, make, use/sell – repeat. This is just my opinion, but maybe offering a couple very low-cost classes would pull people in. Once they realize they are capable of finishing a project, they may spend the money to go for a project on their own. I also think that if there are more shows (local -or not) where novices can display their work, there would be more incentive as well – everyone likes to show their work. Just some crazy ideas in my head after reading this great article.
While that’s true in some cases, I also know several millenials (myself included) who place crafting as a very high priority. I recently had a baby and still don’t hesitate to spend $12 a yard on quilting cottons or $30 for a skein of yarn. True – a lot of young crafters may not have the spending power of older crafters, but I also see older generations balking at higher prices and heading to the big box stores to purchase discount quilting fabrics.
In terms of hoarding – personally, I hoard fabrics like a crazy person 🙂 I’ve had some in my stash since 2007! Not having a project lined up doesn’t ever stop me from buying. I know several crafters who are the same way, where my mother and aunt are clearing out their stashes or being more deliberate.
I think we’re both generalizing and using anecdotal evidence, which is fine because we aren’t speaking scientifically – but I can see in my own bank account that the buying power is there.
While I may have also aged out of the group studied (by one year, dang) I will say that the biggest thing for me, sadly is the price of the craft. I do not have a ton of money to put into sewing, so I honestly look for the best price on everything – and most of the time that means buying online, reading instagram (free) and reading blogs (also free). The magazines are fantastic, but pricey, in my opinion even though I have done work for several I still cringe when I go to buy one and it costs $15. The same goes for buying a yard of Kona cotton, I can find it online in a shop for under $6 but shops carry it for around $8.99 sometimes. I absolutely love my local quilt shop and will go in and by items I need to see in person for color matching, quality etc, but I feel like the reason that the younger generation in this craft are going online is the cost of the items and also because that’s what we know. I grew up in an age of buying everything on amazon and having it delivered to my apartment in Chicago, also I would buy groceries online and have them delivered. We are so used to the convenience of things any spare time we have we enjoy sewing. I also learned the craft online, so I didn’t have a strong relationship with my local quilt shop when starting. It was Youtube tutorials (free lessons), what ever etsy shop I could find (to buy fabric) and my sewing machine. I feel that if I had gone to a shop to learn, I would have been a bit more loyal in purchasing fabric from them.
I completely agree with you. I’m in the millennial group and with a limited disposable income I would love to buy my fabric from a local shop. But when I go into the store, often after a 20-30 minute drive from my apartment I can’t buy nearly as much when fabric is $13/yd vs $9/yd.
Let’s be honest, sewing and crafting in general is not a cheap hobby. It’s also not food, gas, or rent. So it has to remain affordable if you want people in general to engage with you. I understand there are costs that are associated with a brick and mortar that are not present with an online shop, but my time and my dollar are worth a lot more to me when I can buy something more conveniently (i.e. I don’t have to travel) and cheaper, why would I choose something else.
Plus I will add that the stores I most often enjoy going to in person, are those that have employees closer to my age. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the generations before me, but typically in my experience they aren’t interested in the same types of projects and fabrics as I am. It’s about finding that connection with a store if you can’t provide lower prices and a convenient location.
And my final plea for shop owners to hear– keep your newsletters short. I am not going to sit there and read a super long email. If I open it at all, make sure you have great photos, as another poster said, and hit the bullet points. Your newsletter should be short and sweet not a novel.
Interesting article! I’m just outside the “millenial window”, given I turned 36 last month, but much of this resonates with me anyway. I’m the youngest quilter in the group I go to by at least 15 years (most of the other quilters there are retired). They’ve got used to me and my strange ways and I think we’ve all learned from each other!
Regarding shopping, I much prefer to shop in person and support local shops if possible; I’m lucky that I’m self-employed (not in quilting!) so finding a moment to go is not so much of a challenge for me. Haven’t we all had that, “Wait, that’s not the colour I was expecting!” moment when buying from Ebay or Etsy? Plus I like to determine the quality of my fabric in person if I can. However…! As a youngish quilter living in Darkest Wales, I find the selections in the local shops rather traditional even for my tastes (I would probably label my style as “mod-itional”). Indeed, I once had a shop worker berate me on the subject of quilting being a “dying art” and the fact that young people weren’t coming to buy their stock – stock that varied very little from visit to visit and tended to the “old-fashioned chintzy florals” end of the spectrum, with very little in the way of modern prints or solids – I’m really not sure what she expected me to do about it! It was all very awkward and I fled as hastily as I could. I’ve also sometimes noticed a slightly snarky attitude towards me in a different shop, though I’m not sure if I’m imagining that! Still, it’s a little off-putting, which is a shame because that shop is pretty huge, even if their range can also be rather traditional, and I have spent a lot of money in there – is my money not as good as a retiree’s? I work hard for it! Happily it’s not all gloom, there is a shop in town that I love because although it’s quite tiny, the owner is really friendly and positive and she gets in fresh modern designers like Tula Pink, plus her stock rotation seems to be pretty brisk so there’s often something new to see. But if I really want a specific range of fabric from a specific designer, then I do have to order online (often from the US) because some things are just not available locally or even in this country!
Regarding communication, I confess that I don’t tend to buy magazines often and I certainly am not rushing out for a subscription – I see them mostly as advertising, and while I love new fabric I’ve pretty much reached a good point with my stash at the moment and am more in the headspace of wanting to finish UFO projects and work on back-burner ideas that I already have supplies for. Sometimes the quality of information in some magazines I’ve sampled has not been good either, and in some cases it’s been just plain WRONG! That sort of thing really annoys me (my day job is copy editing); anyone following some of the instructions I’ve seen would just be wasting time and fabric – both of which are precious! For myself, I have my blog and like to dip my toe in the blogs of others to see what’s going on – I do love me some words! There’s a couple of quilting FB groups I really like, too, that feed my nerdy designer side. Lastly, although I’m not on Instagram yet, I expect I will be as soon as I upgrade my woefully elderly mobile phone. Seems like a lot’s going on there now and I’d like to at least bend an ear towards the conversations there. 🙂
I had a long rant to my husband recently about this.
I was looking for a specific fabric, and went to the LQS (which has several shops in the region) to see if it was available. It wasn’t, but others in the line were. I asked if they could check their sister stores, and the woman took out a piece of paper to log my request. My mind was blown.
I asked how long it would take to find out–and her answer was 2-3 weeks! I think they must send the paper to each individual store with the request. Not having a computerized inventory seems like foolish business practice to me.
Of course, I bought the fabric online, and had it in hand within 3 days.
I *try* to give business to the LQS, but they are so antiquated in how they do things it blows my mind. I’m convinced they buy their product for very, very cheap and then sell at full price, because often they’ll mark something as “new” that I know came out a year ago. Often they only carry 1 or 2 bolts of anything “modern.”
I was telling my husband that I want to shake whoever is in charge of their marketing, because they are missing out on an entire audience: people like me! (I’m 31, for the record)
I *want* to give them my business, but it’s often as though *they* don’t want my business.
(sorry if that came off as a little ranty)
I’m just a few years outside of that enormous millennial window and I think most of these conclusions would apply to me and plenty of other people too! I work a regular M-F job and I comparison shop online and frequently order online since most brick and mortar shops are a good hour drive from my house. I also look young and people sometimes assume I don’t know what I’m doing.
When Miss Hayley was still in college, her mom and I met her in Austin for the first MQG convention. Her friends at that time gave her the business because she elected to spend a spring break with her mother and her aunt at a quilt show! Who knew? I am so proud of her!
I am a LQS shop owner of 15 years. All I know is I love my craft and my customers and I want everyone that comes in the door or rings on the phone or buys on line to love the craft as much as I do. I jump for joy when a young person walks in the door and have often thrown in a bit extra to encourage their love of the craft. However, it is hard to please everyone. I have in the past worked in advertising, fashion, retail, marketing and music. The quilting industry is the most difficult industry in which to succeed. Low margin, unstable deliveries, large chains with low prices, lots of competition, high rent, high wages, diversity of interests….all these things add up to 7 day weeks that crush us. And yet, I still love my shop and what it offers.
We must all remember to be thoughtful and mindful in our reaction to our experiences in the craft. No one is out to ruin another one’s experience! I do know that communication is key. When a customer asks us for something we take the request seriously and try to accommodate. It is never possible to carry all lines, be open all hours and be creative at the same time. Shop around, talk to your shop owners and let them know what your interests are in regard to product, classes, demos and more. Know where to go to get what products…different shops have different specialties to stay alive.
I remember in the early days I tried to help a customer select fabric for a skirt in my shop. She was really picky but I didn’t mind and was making a lot of suggestions. She left empty handed, went into the deli next door and said she had had the worst experience with a rude shop keeper….this comment was repeated to me. I was shocked at her interpretation of the event. In that I realized that we don’t always see how people see us. It hurt but if I had let that experience shape me the shop would have a different story. Every situation has two sides in life and quilting.
We all know the future of quilting rests with the young and we care where we are going! Assume you are welcome and enjoy the experience.
This is a fabulous article, and this comes from a…..let’s just say I’m not a millennial. I really enjoy hearing what they say and learning from them about; they’re product preferences, fabric preference and lifestyle. When I was working full-time and at the age they are now, I worked in Manhattan and was bummed out too the shops weren’t open later. My job also required a lot of weekend work, so I would often miss out on that too. And there was not internet to shop on then. (Now I’m really dating myself; lol.
At my local fabric quilting shop there are classes for kids after school, and sewing camps during the summer. Granted they are not millennials, but if all of us who are 20 and older don’t teach them and pass on the enthusiasm, quilting and other crafts could shrink up or disappear, and that would be sad.
I have been at several conferences, and I felt a little dissed by millennials, which made me feel, old, dated and a bit sad. Just because I don’t have tattoos, and my hair is naturally gray, I was curious about seeing their work and hearing about their quilting experiences. I don’t judge. I absorb from those around me, and I don’t care about your age. I almost wished there was a program where an older person was matched up with a millennial for an hour or two of exchanging information.
Thank you Abby for reaching out to these inspiring four women and publishing this article.
Great article! I am 60ish and look like a grandmother (I am). I make things that are funky, and completely “outside the box.” My fabric and yarn preferences are hard to guess by looking at me. Note to shops: Make an effort to listen without assumptions when I ask questions and know your stuff: fiber content, washing options, needle sizes, a quick stitch demonstration. A lot of my life happens on line and it shows in my questions. Don’t be snarky about that fact – it doesn’t help you or me. (Does this make me an honorary 30 year old?)
Great article. I wonder though, 200 billion in spending power, what does that mean? I know a lot of millennials (I’m not one) who are more concerned with paying off college debt, rent, food and groceries. Not being a financier, I’m just wondering what exactly that means. I hear it a lot when talking about marketing to any age group, their “spending power”. I’m also perplexed by any age group that discounts another. Whether it be an older group turning their noses at a younger group, or a younger group not being able to learn from others, more experienced. I love going into a crafting/sewing/quilting group where there is a wide demographic. It’s exciting!
This is a fascinating article and discussion. From a slightly different angle, I’m 31 and run a reasonably successful craft kit company in the UK. My mum (63) helps me out on some designing and at trade shows for wholesale. The number of times buyers have ignored me on my own stand and waited to speak to her even though I’m there with a notebook and catalogue is crazy! They instantly assume I’m the assistant and Mum is the owner and look quite put out when Mum passes them over to me because I know the answer to their question 🙂 It all ties in to the idea that younger crafters aren’t seen as as serious or experienced as older crafters which is obviously silly, but happens nonetheless.
Thanks for this article. I fall outside this demographic by quite a bit, but I have to admit a lot of it applies to me. I’ve always worked full time and I spend a lot of time on instagram (since someone in the demographic hooked me up a year or two ago!). It makes me sad to read about friction between age groups in quilting. I teach a lot of classes and I get quilters of all ages and backgrounds in my classes. I do get excited when I have new quilters (young or old) and I hope they feel I’m relatable. I love teaching, try to keep somewhat current and keep an eye on my own viewpoint to keep any preconceived notions in check. Onward!
What about selling your supplies (fabric, etc.) online with expedited shipping if needed for extra charge ? There are many website builders that allow this weebly, square, wix and shopify. You can get repeat customers that way too.
I live in a college town, which unfortunately no longer has a real yarn shop. It has a small quilting shop attached to a local retail store, so it’s open retail hours (earlier due to COVID, usually open until 8 or 9PM). What shops should do to combat the “not good for working hours” problem is to do what the yarn shop 20 minutes north of me (that unfortunately closed a few years ago) did. It did not follow a set pattern of, say 10:00-6:00 Mon-Sat.
Instead, it had one night per week (the same night) where it was open late. Granted, that was mostly for Knit Night, but if someone came in before 9:00 PM and wanted to buy something but not sit and knit, the owners would happily make the sale.
My current vet does a similar thing, as did a couple other vets I’d once used. I’d had a great vet but their hours were impossible to work around, 9:00-5:30 Mon-Thu, Fridays 9:00-3:00, no weekend hours. It was 20 minutes away, too, and working 8:00-5:00 meant I had to take off an entire day just to get a cat helped. But my current vet’s clinic (during non-COVID times) is open at 7:30AM, and closes at 7:30 PM Mon-Thurs, 6:00 PM Friday, and even has Saturday morning hours.
What shops should do is have a staggered schedule, maybe MonTueWed open 10:00-6:00 or 9:00 – 5:00, then Thu open 11:00-8:00, Fri 10:00-4:00, and Sat/Sun maybe just afternoons or just mornings, or like 10:00-2:00. Or maybe Fridays are the late nights/longer days. The shorter weekend hours offset the long days.
Granted, if the owner has children, this may not be the best solution. But that’s where employees or partners come in. The bigger the shop gets, the more expanded the hours can be. I personally would love to have a shop here in this college town that had a a really late night on Fridays, maybe from 3:00 – 11:00 PM, so that instead of bar-hopping, there is something creative to do until 11:00 PM, and so that daytime workers can stop and pick up supplies for the weekend ahead. Shoppers would just have to note which is the day with hours that best suits their schedule and make it a point to shop then.
PS: with the vet being open at 7:30, I can easily be there when they open in the morning, drop off a cat for a spay or dental (or whatever), get to work on time, and pick up the kitty either during my lunch hour or after work. The hours are amazingly accommodating.
I had to laugh at this article as it could have been written by me when I was 26 trying to make my first modern quilt in 1987. Even after writing a bestselling book on color and modern quilting, I still had clerks at one quilt shop tell me that I shouldn’t the fabrics I had chosen together in a quilt. I said, “Thanks,” paid for my fabric and made the quilts I wanted to make. Some people don’t embrace change. It’s not personal and they don’t speak for everyone in their age group. There are open and creative as well as narrow-minded people in every age group. Make what pleases you and ignore advice that’s not helpful.