We need each other.
Every person, in every role in the quilting industry, whether it’s on the buying side or the selling side, from the CEO to the fledgling sewist, is necessary.
Every role is important, and without each of them, we ALL fall down. Consider each of us to be legs of a table.
Take out any one leg, and the table falls over:
- The Designers: without the designers to generate all the wonderful ideas that inspire us, there would be little to sell, or buy. No new patterns, no new books, no new fabric designs.
- The Shop Owners and Sellers: without the sellers, we have no place to buy the products we want. There would be no carefully curated stores and charming onlline shops to inspire the customers. No place to go to get help and a half yard of the perfect fabric.
- The Companies and Distributors: without the companies to manufacture and distribute our products, there would be no products for the shops, and thus none for the customers. We need the manufacturers to make our fabric and develop our notions. We need the book and magazine publishers to distribute our books and ideas.
- Customers: without the customers, none of what we make will find a home, or get turned into something beautiful.
Seldom a week goes by that I don’t hear a story of how poorly we take care of each other, or experience it first hand. So I’d like to ask each and every one of you, of us, to step up your game:
- Make the best thing you can possibly make.
- Be original (no more deer heads, ok?)
- Don’t sign contracts that abuse you as it teaches the people who offer them that we are OK with being abused.
- Go the extra mile to make sure it’s right, and fix it fast when it isn’t.
- And get back to the people who write to you.
- Shop Owners and Sellers:
- If you are not in business to delight your customers, it’s perhaps time to re-think your gig.
- Treat EVERY person as if they are special, because they are.
- Be proud that you’re on the front line of promoting the love of sewing.
- If you run your store like an impenetrable clique of those girls from high school, you will alienate the next generation of sewists – and we will ALL suffer for it.
- Invest in your staff.
- Help people, and help them get excited about sewing.
- Companies and Distributors:
- Figure out how to make what you make in a way that supports your people, the industry, and the planet.
- Offer contracts that are win-win, in clear language. And then stick to them.
- And for the love of all that is holy, pay on time. A small business such as mine gets very stressed by your loose interpretation of Net 30 being “we’ll process it the week after it’s due but somehow miss getting it in the mail for another week after that.”
- Treat your stores and their staff kindly, doubly so if you are asking them to calculate yardage or help you choose fabric.
- Buy their stuff on non-sale days too.
- Don’t window shop their products only to buy them on Amazon. If you don’t support them, they won’t be there when you need them.
- Stop expecting the store to give it to you for free – quilting is a luxury pastime so you should expect to part with money to do it.
- Don’t copy patterns or books – it’s stealing, and you’re hurting the people that bring you inspiration.
Imagine how great this industry could be if we all stepped up on these points, even just a little. Can you see it in your mind? Good.
Now let’s make it happen.
* Image found here.
Great post. I’ve linked/”reblogged.” Let me know if that’s not okay.
Thanks, Sam! Great article and I hope people will actually read it through to the end!
Damn! You go girl!! Well said.
You’ve converted me! And that was before this well written and clearly stated post. Recently a woman I know who is a longarmer was talking about how little she was charging for her services. As in Very Little. Now, I haven’t seen her work but she’s done this for awhile so it must be at the very least decent. My reaction was: WHY?! Why are you giving away your time and effort and talent? And why are you making it a tougher situation for a person who runs a longarm business? I’ve been using costing sheets because I am just starting to accept orders to make quilts. Sure does make it clear. I agree; WASWI
I hear you on crazy low pricing… I’ve met some people who are highly competitive about charging the least for their long-arm services. And all I can think is that it’s a race to being underwritten by a soup kitchen.
Such a well thought out and developed post! Thank you for sharing your insight into the web of all things quilt related. A few years ago I decided that my first stop for all fabric purchases MUST be my local quilt shop. If I can’t find what I need there then I will look other places, but shopping local is so important to our local economies and communities. I also completely agree with you about not stealing patterns/designs. Quilting is a luxury for most of us and I consider myself blessed to be able to buy the books and patterns that catch my eye. Again, great post!