Today I am talking to the quilt store owners and industry brands out there. Be clear I am speaking straight to you, no holds barred. My pom-poms  and cheery disposition are at the dry-cleaner and I am on my fourth cup of caffeine of the morning so this is going to be me “unplugged”.. be warned.


International Quilt Market is at the end of month and a lot of shops are still on the fence about attending. Be assured that the convention area and local hotels are ready for you. In some crazy twist of fate that area was spared the devastation of greater Houston and Quilt Market ( and Festival)  will going on just as planned.

Currently the sewing and quilting industry is at a crossroads like a petrified squirrel caught  trying to decided what make of itself and which way to move. Let me be clear, the road of the business world is littered with the tiny corpses of squirrels who could not make a choice and were mowed over as they dithered about what to do next.

Let you and your brand not be the next furry dead thing on the side of the road!


If you are a brand who is going to be at Market… get thee to they e-mail machine and send out reasons for stores to come. Quilt Market can be a great time for store owners to score great deals.. free shipping, extra yardage, loyalty pricing…  Make it worth it for them to come to Quilt Market and see you!!!  Sitting on your collective asses waiting for customers to stumble into your booth and be wow’d by your product is no longer an option. If I see one more group of company reps sitting in a booth chatting to each other and not greeting customers the second they enter the booth then you know what… just pack it the fuck up and don’t come to Market. Yes, I know it is hard work, suck it up chuck..this is how this game is played. Get out there woo those quilt shops, provide intensive education for both them and the consumer. Be the best support ever to those quilt shops to keep them alive and kicking!


If you are not online yet or pursuing an aggressive social media presence in the name of your store then just decide that your remaining years in this industry are drastically limited. {mic drop}

Yes, I said it and you can just hop off the pity train or the one where you bitch about Missouri Star or MassDrop and how they are “stealing” your customers. You have just as much access to the World Wide Web as either of these companies. There are ENDLESS resources available to you to get your store online and in front of people who want to be your raving fans and customers.

The race to the bottom HAS to be over… there is no further we can dig and it is a lost cause to try. While sewing and quilting are egalitarian pursuits there is a great deal of room to re-create this hobby into one of affluence, diversity and welcome with stores that wrap their customers in the finest of service, atmosphere and goods while holding their arms open to all who want to be part of the quilting lifestyle. (psssst scroll down to see my class on just this subject!)

Owning a store is hard work… nearly thankless at times and we wonder why we do it but so much of that is based in the low monetary return we see as shop owners and yet things are not hopeless but they do mean taking action ( remember that squirrel?)

Start by coming to market, come learn, come make a plan. Come move past your fear of social media, online selling and creating a brand that has people thinking of you first when they are thinking about buying some fabric.

The fact is that while I will always be a raving fan of the local quilt store we live in the time of the omni-channel consumer and to succeed you are going to need to not only be the Quilt shop on their town corner but the one in their e-mail box and Facebook as well.

Maddie’s Quilt Market Picks for Fall 2017 Houston.

Going to be staying for Festival?… check out the great business classes from Cheryl Sleboda!!

p.s. Share this with a quilt store owner you know… I banged out this post in 20 minutes, typos can be expected!





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